Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Sob Monster

Oh my goodness, I have turned into a Sob Monster. I remember thinking it was so weird, when I was younger, when adults would cry at programs, concerts, etc. I thought, Alright homies, all I did was sing a song and read a Bible verse. What's with the tears? Pull yourself together!  However, I have recently been seen crying while a bunch of four year olds sang about Jonah and the Whale....the same song I had seen performed last year. 


Friday night, I innocently went to a special church service and sat with two young ladies who are very important to me, Ash and Sades.  I knew during this special service that they would be singing with a group so I was like, This is cool.  I've known these girls since they were toddlers.

  So, it was time for them to go to the front of the church to perform and I stood up to let them out of the pew.  Suddenly, a memory flashed in front of me.  I saw a 14 year old me stepping out of the pew to lead a bunch of toddlers to the front of the church for their portion of the bible school program.  Ash and Sades were two of those toddlers.  Time flies.....  I sat back down and listened to the song, watched as they signed the lyrics, too, and then I turned into a Sob Monster.  It started with teary eyes and led to streaming tears and maybe a little of the weird sputtery breathing when you are trying to control a semi-out of control cry in public (and keep your eye make up from running).  For the whole rest of the song I was watching these two beautiful and well rounded young ladies, who are now 17, sacrificing their time to sing in church, joyfully.

I loved them as toddlers, I became their friend when they were 14, the year I was reunited with them as their church camp counselor, and now I realize how quickly they have arrived on the brink of adulthood.  I am proud of them!  I am a little mad at them for turning me into a Sob Monster, especially in public, but I will get back at them later.
What I didn't understand as a kid, that I absolutely understand now, is that the tears are an expression of love, of joy, and the realization that life changes so quickly.  For me,  I watched Sades and Ash sing to God.  I saw what the words meant to them.  I see and experience, on a regular basis, how amazing they are in how they treat people, how deeply they love, how laid back they are, and how much they love Jesus.  I'm proud to be a part of their lives and watch them grow, even if it does turn me into one of those weird Sob Monster adults.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How To Properly Accessorize with a Wrist Splint

Have you ever wondered how to make your ugly, off-white splint wrap an accessory instead of an eyesore?  I heard at least one "yes" so I will continue on with this incredibly important post. 

The answer is:  You purchase a super cute belt from Francesca's! 
If I were talented I would have attempted a full body picture, but taking a picture with an iPhone, one handed, is not easy.  Just take my word for it; the outfit is cute:  This brightly colored tunic and off-white and black belt are paired with a black skirt and heels.  I feel like the splint just ties the whole outfit together. . .hahaha!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You Gotta be a Moron to Wanna be a Fighter

Any Rocky fans out there?  Well, keep reading anyway.  This quote from Rocky (1976) came to my mind today, five days after fracturing my hand while boxing.  "You gotta be a moron... you gotta be a moron to wanna be a fighter."


It's true, I guess.  I look at it like this:  If you love something, nothing will keep you from it.  Case in point, I almost passed out on my trainer Thursday, the dreaded day of the fracture, because a pain so quick and intense traveled from my hand up through my arm and straight into my eyeball after I threw three, hard left hooks with an already injured hand.  The final hit is what did me in.  I remember swaaaayyyyyying, blinking, and everything going blurry. . .  I knew something terrible had just happened that I wouldn't be able to push through.  In fact, pushing through the pain up until that point is what landed me with a fractured hand anyway.  For a while, I will be a one handed typer, it takes me twice as long to get ready in the morning, it is impossible to put my hair in a pony tail by myself, and I hate the fact that I'm so restricted BUT I am counting down the days until I canuse my left arm again, to box.  So, I guess you could say I'm a moron.

The first thing I thought afterward?  If I go to the doctor, they won't let me box for a while.  I was not thinking, "I should let my hand heal.  I need to be in a splint."  Moron. 

My trainer, the voice of reason, threatened me, "If you don't get that checked out,  I will not train you."  So, I went to the doctor the following morning and sure enough it was fractured.  Boooo.

So, for a while my left arm will be immobilized, but I will not stop boxing.  Lately I've been shadow boxing with my left and keeping my focus on technique, not impact, as well as focusing on footwork. 

Someone asked me if this incident is making rethink this hobby of mine.  Nope.  I can't wait to get back into it, full force!  What if you get another break?  What if you end up needing surgery?  I will probably wear splints and have surgery if/when needed.  I love boxing and all of its benefits too much to let a little injury stop me.

You can call me Moron :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday, Great-Grandfather!

My Great Grandfather Sprague would have been 100 years old today.  Unfortunately,  he passed away in 2006, so today is bittersweet.  While I think of the crazy awesome party we could have gathered for this year to celebrate with him, I know that he would much rather be in heaven than here.  And that makes me happy.

I woke up this morning humming the hymn "I Know Whom I Have Believed" and immediately recalled the very last conversation I had with him.  I documented the conversation, in detail, in a notebook the night after it took place, but alas, I can't find the notebook! Here's an excerpt of what I remember and what I refer to often in my life:

I went with my aunt to visit him in a nursing home.  The family was told that he was in his final days or weeks.  I have a hard time visiting people in nursing homes.  I don't like the smell, I don't like seeing lonely people, I don't like yelling to be heard.  I am a soft spoken person and feel self-conscious when I have to speak loudly in order for someone to hear me.  I know, it's ridiculous.  Anyway, my aunt convinced me to go by saying, "He will just appreciate that you are there."

Grandfather looked tiny and frail in his bed.  I remembered, fondly and sadly, when I was little and I would run through a room with my 40,000 cousins and he would reach out and grab two or three of us at a time, mid-sprint, and bear hug us.  Then, he'd "inspect" our ears and tell us we were so full of beans he could see them coming out our ears.  Once, I asked him, "What kind of beans?"  He said, "Oh....you're full of green beans!"  I smiled, because green beans were my favorite!!  To this day I can't eat green beans without thinking of him.

The visit at the nursing home was difficult for me.  Grandfather was in and out of sleep and wasn't always coherent and because of that, I was dealing with a lot of emotions...namely guilt.  I should have come sooner; I wonder if he knows who I am.  I sat on one side of his bed, and held his hand.   My aunt sat on the other side and spoke with him.  Probably forty-five minutes into the visit, Grandfather said that his head hurt and he wanted some pain reliever.  My aunt went to find a nurse.  I saw an instant spark in Grandfather's eyes.  He squeezed my hand and turned toward me a little, suddenly very alert.

"How are you, honey?"  His tone was calm, but somehow urgent.

I leaned in, smiled, and said loudly, "I'm good."

He shook his head.  "Don't let your past own you.  You can be better than whatever you've been through."

What does he know about my past?  I had never shared any of it with him or anyone else for that matter.

"And sometimes, things that we think are right, don't work out.  That's okay; it doesn't mean you aren't good enough." I knew this statement was directly linked to my recently failed engagement.  I sat silently, my face inches away from my Grandfather's with tears streaming down my face.  There was a lot more to the conversation but that's all I want to share with the blogosphere right now. 

Probably the most wonderful part about the visit, besides his incredible insight and advice, was that prior to that conversation he couldn't stay awake and could only hear what we said when we yelled.  During my alone time with him, he was alert, lucid, and sort of. . .glowing.  I was able to speak at a normal voume and he had no trouble hearing me.  He recalled the day of my birth (he was my very first visitor), the first time he heard me sing, the moments that he was proud of me.  At one point, he said, "You know, you would have really liked her.  You would have really liked your Grandmother Jayne.  And she would have loved you."  That meant a lot to me.  I grew up with a wonderful great Grandmother, but always wondered about my biological great-Grandmother.  Was I anything like her?  Would she be proud of me?

He became very tired again, and I realized my aunt had been gone for quite a while.  "Grandfather, how is your head?  Do you want me to see where the nurse is?"

He winked at me.  "Oh honey, my head didn't hurt.  I just wanted to talk to you."  He squeezed my hand, then he fell asleep.

That's the last moment I had with my Grandfather. I truly feel that the day with him was divinely orchestrated. 

Today, I'm celebrating the life of a man who is more than just a memory to me.  His words and example are a part of my everyday life. He was devout, he was serious, he was funny, he was stubborn and he was gentle. And he loved me.  The greatest example to me was that he openly and adamantly loved and served God and stood by his beliefs, no matter the adversity.

I wish he could see that I'm not broken anymore, that I don't let my past own me, that I know that I am more than good enough. 

Before we left Grandfather that day, I leaned over and kissed his forehead.  His eyes fluttered and he mouthed "Love you."  Happy Birthday, Grandfather.  I love you too!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Road to TITLE

This is how I used to feel about working out. 

Run run run run run run run run run run 
This is....boring.....annnnnd miserable
Run run run run run run run run
I'm out of breath.  I'm really out of breath.  Gah.  Just 30 more minutes!
Run run run run run run run run 
29 more minutes.  I can do it. 
Run run run run run run run 
Oh look, something shiny! 
Run run run run run run 
Why am I running?  I hate running.  I'm going to pass out. 
Slow. the speed. turn. down the. resistance.  de.crease. the. incline.
Gasp for air! 
Jog    jog    jog    jog    jog    jog. 


I fumble with the buttons on the evil treadmill until I realize that I can't figure out how to shut it off! 
Jog   jog   jog   jog  stumble jog   jog   jog 
I end up grabbing the side of the panel and and leaning on my left arm while I continue to clumsily jog, gasp for air and press buttons with my right hand.  Then, panic sets in because I can't make it stop and I can't breathe so I attempt to gracefully slide off of the machine which results in a backwards, awkward,           fffflll i i i i i i i i i i n n n n g g g g! 

I'm sure no one noticed.  Oh wait, except for all those beautiful people over there.  Muahahaha!  We can run on a treadmill for 3 hours straight, while lifting 800 pounds and smiling the whole time!  Look at our muscles!

This is how I used to feel about working out:  sad.  I love being active and staying shape so over the years I have tried to find ways to do just that but alas, each gym membership left me wanting to stab myself in the eyeball and ultimately led to the Gym Drive-by. 

The Gym Drive-by is when you arrive at or near the gym you excitedly joined a few months prior, and before turning the steering wheel of your car to enter the parking lot you think, Ehhh....it would be a lot of effort to park and walk in.....I think I'll go home and eat ice cream.  So you drive on by. Even though you will have unholy amounts of money auto-debited from your checking account for the next year, you justify it as less painful than the experience of working out.

When it came time to cancel or renew a gym membership, one of the gym rat staff members tried convincing me to renew it.  I don't ever come here, I said, visibly annoyed.  I think I need something interactive and competitive, not weights and treadmills. "You can take classes....like Zumba" (it's dance aerobics or something).  Yeah, sorry I'm not sure if you noticed, but I can't even exit a treadmill gracefully.  Dancing is not for me, friends....unless of course it's car dancing!
Do you have a car dancing class?  No?  Okay, bye. 

So, I resorted to eating super healthy, taking stairs instead of elevators, running once a quarter and, of course, car dancing, to stay in shape.  In case you are wondering, it's not all that effective.  Then, one day I discovered a place that gives me everything I want in a workout.  It's interactive and competitive, no hassle, no hype, and actually produces immediate results!  That place is TITLE Boxing Club!

Look at me now!

A combination of hardcore group classes, called POWER HOUR, led by amateur and pro or ex-pro fighters (Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts), and some even more hardcore personal training (my trainer is pictured above), I have not only lost weight and inches; I'm actually toned!  My body, confidence and focus have improved 100% since I joined TITLE almost one year ago.  In the last two months I have gone from a comfortable, Spanx clad size 6 to a Spanx free, toned size 2.    The best part about TITLE is that you don't plateau.   Every workout is different and intense; the trainers are tough but encouraging and are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. 

Long story short, this girl has gone from doing Gym Drive-by's to attending training sessions at two different TITLE locations, everyday! It's been a long frustrating road, but I LOVE that it led me to TITLE Boxing Club.



Check 'em out at http://www.titleboxingclub.com/ or on

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/TITLEBoxingClub

My favorite TITLE location  just opened up in Lenexa, KS http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Title-Boxing-Club-in-Lenexa/166650306736028

I get to train with LC Davis on the weekends!  Not familiar with LC Davis?  Check him out too!  http://lcdavis.tv/wordpress/?page_id=70

My personal trainer has won the Kansas City Golden Gloves 3 years in a row and is on his way to going pro!






Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom: Look, Give, Laud, Outlove

Wednesday Wisdom didn't seem very promising today.  It's been a rough couple of weeks for me and for a lot of my close friends.  We all seem to be carefully going through our days to deal with difficult circumstances, help those dealing with worse circumstances than our own, and remaining seemingly normal at work.  My heart is full of....a lot. 

Then, I read a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers and she quoted a few paragraphs from singer/songwriter and author, Andrew Peterson. 
One of the lines in the excerpt she used was, . . . to look for the light in people (and things!), to give them the benefit of the doubt, to laud their beauty, to outlove unloveliness.

Just typing that and re-reading it brings me a little morsel of peace.   Each little phrase could be it's own blog post!  Andrew Peterson stated those words in reference to something else entirely and my blogger friend included it in a post for her own reasons, but when I read it I felt like everything around me became illuminated.  It touches perfectly on what I have been thinking and feeling and discovering lately. It's like a mission statement.  Can you imagine going through life with those goals?

To look for the light in people.  That means ALL people. 

To give the the benefit of the doubt.  Gah!  That's difficult, but when I receive the benefit of the doubt from others, it's magnificent! 

To laud their beauty.  I looked up the word laud.  It is not just another word for praise but the definition also says to sing praise.  To laud someone's beauty is to really appreciate it and make it known to them on a deeper level....to tell them they are worthy.  My Grandpa L-F does this.  Everytime I see him, he walks toward me, undistracted and takes my face into his hands.  He looks, really looks at my face, into my eyes and tells me that I'm beautiful or sweet or he just smiles and says, "I love you."  And I believe it.  There's no distraction in this exchange, no agenda, just a grandfather telling his granddaughter that she's beautiful and worthy from the inside out.  What if we treated more people like this?

To outlove unloveliness.  This is the part of the statement that struck me the most.  What a lovely thing to outlove unloveliness, there sure is a lot of unloveliness in this world. 

Look.  Give.  Laud.  Outlove

Thank you Ping and Pal for the inspiration!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Life is Messy

I planned on writing a funny post today and have been excitedly preparing it (it involves some Post-it Art :) ) but some recent events coupled with realizing that time keeps flying faster and faster has me in a retrospective mood. 

I can see you all nodding when you read the statement Life is Messy.  Even if your life is good and you skip through meadows and slide down rainbows, sometimes the rainbows explode and the debris rarely includes Skittles. 

On a Facebook discussion about forgiveness and trust I stated my opinion and at one point, to counter another's opinion, stated, "Nothing is black and white.  People make mistakes and have to live with the consequences."  It's not an extremely deep statement, but the thought behind it was meaningful to me.  Right after posting that, situations were launched into my life that would normally have caused me to get out my opinion stamp and start lableing......He did this so he is BAD.  She did this, so she is SELFISH.  They did this, so they are STUPID.  We can't classify good and bad people, really.  We can be both at any given time.  I learned that this week and I really learned that today.  Sometimes our actions are really, really terrible, but not because we are bad people.We made a ginormous mistake, an unfortuante judgment call, or were so deep in a lie or depressed or addicted......that we didn't think about the consequences and yet, here they are.  Consequences.  Here are the consequences that will change our lives forever.  I wish I could really express in more detail what I'm talking about....but it's too much to get out. 

This week, two acquaintances of mine made detrimental decisions that not only negatively affected the rest of their lives (or ended their life) but the lives of the people closest to them.  Then, it rippled out to the friends and acquaintances of those people....and here I am, pondering it all.  I am sitting back watching people hurt and mourn and I am now defending someone who could easily be labeled BAD.  It's not that easy.

I guess I will end the post with this:  I would really like to be able to take a situation, the facts and inferences associated with it and make a clear cut judgment about it and the people involved and wash my hands of it.  This person was bad, this person was good, this person made roast beef and this person stayed home.....however, THIS person realized, once again, that life is messy and there's no perfect situation, no perfect ending; but hopefully there's some compassion. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'll take Awkward Moments for $500, Alex

One beautiful summer day I decided to leave the office for an hour to run some errands, drive with the windows down, and grab an iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks.  I walked briskly to my car, anticipating the hour of freedom. A much needed break on a perfect day. As I approached my car I noticed this:

What you can't see in this picture is how deep each of these marks are.  The closer I got, the more my blood boiled.  I knelt down and traced the gashes with my finger, speculating how this might have happened and trying to give the guilty party the benefit of the doubt.  Before completely freaking out I checked the windshield for a note.  If someone did this by accident, but left a note, I will not care....as much, I thought.  Alas, no note on the windshield.  I paced around the car, thinking how incredibly RUDE it was that someone did this to my car and didn't even leave a note. How could someone NOT know that they did this to my car?  I checked the front and back bumpers of all the cars surrounding mine to see if they had matching gashes.  I sprinted to and from each vehicle like a crack addicted squirrel, thinking all the while, I will punch someone in. the. FACE!

I noticed a woman walking toward me, in a hurry.  I figured she saw me checking out the surrounding cars and one of them was hers.  I tried to calm myself before she reached me but also braced myself in case she admitted to being the bumper bandit so that I wouldn't actually punch her in the face.  As she got closer, she looked apprehensive; I probably looked murderous and she was smart to keep her distance.

"Ma'am? Is everything okay?"

"Well,"  I said trying to sound calm and collected, but really sounding crazed and mean, "Someone obviously damaged my car and didn't even have the decency to leave a note!"

I did  the thing that you see women do in movies where they run their hand back through their perfectly arranged and backcombed, side-swooped bangs, resulting in a floppy mess, because they are stressed and the only other option is to yank their own hair out.  You've seen that in movies, right?  It's usually an uptight business woman (aka....ME).   In the audience you (I) think, "What are you doing?  Your bangs looked fantastic!  Wring your hands or something instead!"  And the actress, if she could talk back, is like, "Look, I'm just an actress but for real, this is how people react....just wait until someone scratches your car."   So in addition to ruining my hair, I nervously  rubbed the side of my neck and stepped forward a little and then back, repeatedly, with one hand on my hip.  Let me tell you how attractive that is.  It's not! 

The lady let me pace a bit more, watched me kneel on the ground and  inspect the car  again (in a skirt and heels) before carefully saying, "Sweeetie....that's   myyyyy   car."  I know she was thinking, "Psycho, that's my car.  Step back!"

Bu---whaaaa? 

It's awkward to go from furious and kneeling, in professional attire, to confused and stupid and kneeling, in professional attire. 

"I saw you from my office window and wondered what was going on and realized you must be the owner of the other Saturn that parks here.....my car has had this damage for a while."

It was like a film was lifted from my eyeballs.  I looked back at the car and realized even though it was the same make and model, it definitely wasn't my car.  Ohhhh....hmmmm That's definitely not my car.  Idiot!  I had spent a good 10 minutes furiously fuming about someone else's car....and thinking about punching randmom people in the face.  Gah!

We had a weird, embarrassing, and relief filled laugh about the whole thing and I scampered away to my actual car.   I love you, car.  I may or may not have lovingly pet the steering wheel.  Judge me if you must. My car has a perfect back bumper. It also has extremely identifiable traits that I should have noticed, immediately, were missing from the other car....you know like the Razorback license plate and the disco ball hanging from my rear-view mirror.  How did I miss that?  Anyway, I went about my hour break, now cut down to 45 minutes, and decided to skip the errands and just drive with the windows down, radio loud, drinking Starbucks!

"I learned that there's a certain character that can be built from embarrassing yourself endlessly. If you can sit happy with embarrassment, there's not much else that can really get to ya." Christian Bale

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Missing

The Casey Anthony trial, from start to finish, has produced a lot of emotion across this country.  This week, after the verdict came in and this morning after listening to the sentencing I started playing "Devil's Advocate" in my head.  Since only people who live under very large rocks are unaware of the details of trial I will spare you a recap.  Instead I want to summarize some thoughts I had this week about it all.

For those who immediately condemned the jurors to "hell fire", I understand your emotion, but I also hope you are never put in the position to judge such a horrible case.  Can you imagine?  No one wins, no matter the verdict.  We, the public, were inundated with "evidence" via television, magazine and internet reports that the jury was not exposed to.  Jurors took what was presented to them by the prosecution and defense and had to follow the rules.  Based on what was presented to them they did not have enough evidence to convict Casey Anthony. 

I will be completely honest.  I believe that Casey Anthony is guilty as sin so this post is not to discount that this young woman is deeply troubled and responsible for the death of her daughter, in my opinion.  But,while I was playing Devil's Advocate, mainly in regards to the jurors, I thought for a moment. . . so what if, against all odds, evidence and common sense, Casey wasn't responsible for Caylee's death?  What if?  Just the simlple fact that she let 31 days pass before reporting Caylee missing baffles me.  So even if she truly wasn't the cause of death, she couldn't possibly have loved Caylee.  She did nothing to protect her daughter or preserve her life, so even if she wasn't the cause, she let it happen and ultimately is guilty either way.  Yes, I am being judgmental, but here's why:

My mind wandered back to a day in October 2010 when I took my nephew to Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park, KS.  He loves riding the ponies and feeding the goats and running down the paths, just far enough in front of me to feel free, but close enough for me to only have to pick up a little speed to catch up with him before he jumps into a pond.  My instinct is to keep him by my side at all times, to control his every move, to make him hold my hand and to "stalk" him when he plays on the playground equipment.  I know, though, that he has to learn to listen and that I have to let go just a little so as not to overwhelm him. He has to learn about dangers, he has to fall to learn how to get back up, and he should have the freedom to go down a slide, jump off and run back to the ladder to go down again without me following him. 

The slide my nephew loves to play on the comes out of the side of a small barn and the chute itself is enclosed.  This set up is difficult for me.  Children enter the barn through one of two entrances (on either side of the barn), and have the option of viewing sheep or goats in little pens before climbing up a staircase (also enclosed), crossing a little wooden bridge and then choosing one of two (enclosed) chutes to slide down.  Just typing this makes me anxious! 

While other parents were sitting on benches talking or tending to their other children, I was standing, positioned to be able to see my nephew exit the slide, run to the barn entrance and time his next descent through the chute.  He was having fun, squealing with delight as he made his rounds, always choosing the same side of the barn to re-enter the slide.  Then, I saw him come down the slide, hop off, take his normal route back to the barn but then dart the other direction, to the opposite entrance.  I followed him.  I entered the barn to make sure he made it to the staircase and thought to myself that I was being ridiculous. Once I entered the barn I didn't see him.  That's okay, I told myself.  He's quick.  He's probably already up the stairs.  I quickly observed the other children in the barn, climbing the stairs and went back out to greet him at the end of the slide.  A few kids came down, no nephew.  The children I saw climbing the stairs, presumably after Nephew had climbed them came down the slide.  And that, my friends, is when I panicked.  He was missing.

In less than half a second I had memorized the position and identifying characteristics of every adult in the area and they all became suspects.  I scanned the perimeter and then made my way into the barn.  I checked the pens.  Animals.  No nephew.  I gently pushed my way past children and climbed the tiny staircase, crawled across the wooden bridge, yelling all the while "NEPHEW!"  I didn't care who heard or that I sounded completely panicked.  I looked down each slide, no nephew.  I raced back down the stairs and circled the barn, checking bushes, trees, strollers, running over to every blonde haired toddler in the area, especially those closest to a man, screaming my nephew's name.  I really believed he was right in front of my face and I would see him  and feel stupid for freaking out. One minute passed. 

I clearly remember standing in the middle of the play area, surrounded by other adults who didn't even ask if they could help me thinking of what to do next.  Police.  Then, I panicked because I didn't want to leave the area even to notify security.  He was somewhere near, I knew it, and if I left the area he might come out and see that I wasn't there and run off.  I couldn't win. 

It's amazing how much happens in seconds or even under 5 minutes.  Describing the events creates a long blog post, but it happened very quickly.  I finally resolved to do one more scan and yell.  In my head, I prayed, Give him back to me.  Wherever he is, just place him back here, anywhere.  Please give him back to me.  That's all I could think to say.  That's all I could mutter without throwing up because the other thought going through my head was, "If I have to leave this place without him.  If he is gone.  Gone.  I will not be able to live with myself.  I will drive my car off of a bridge--there's no forgiveness for this."

And that is how I know Casey Anthony did not love her child.  I, who am not even a mother, was so immediately devastated that I could not find my nephew that I sacrificed my pride to locate him.  I was ready to sacrifice my life for him.  I felt like searching for 2 minutes wasted too much time, and Casey let 31 days pass before admitting that Caylee had been missing.  I just can't imagine.  It's difficult for me not to judge.  More than just feeling correct and judgmental, I just ache for Caylee.  My nieces and nephews, my own future hypothetical children, will always know that my life comes second to their well-being. That's something that little girl didn't have.

Guess where I found my nephew?  I passed by the barn one last time, on my way to notify security, and felt very strongly to go back in.  I did.  I cried, "AXTON!"  and then turned, defeated, turned to involve others in the search.  Suddenly, I heard a muffled, "Aunt Jessica?"  I think I physcially flew over to and up the stairs.  I remember pushing a grown man to the side.  My nephew was on the little wooden bridge, playing.  I cried, "Get over HERE!" a little meaner than I had intended and he started to cry a little. "Am I in trouble?"  I met him halfway, sitting on the tiny bridge, obstructing other children from getting to the slide and hugged him so hard and for so long that I probably cut off some of his oxygen.

I have no idea where that kid was, even now.  I checked everywhere.  My nephew is not quiet; when he plays he screams and giggles, and I never heard him once during the search.  When his name is called, he always comes or responds, but not that day.  I asked him later, in the car, "Did you hear Aunt Jessica call you?"  "Ummm....nope.  I was just playing."  "Did you play in the barn the whole time?"  "Yep.  I played in the barn...and went down the sliiiiiiide and saw the goats, and ....."  Impossible.

I'm so thankful for my nephew, for maternal instincts, for prayer and for what I consider a miracle.  I believe God picked that kid up from wherever he wandered off to and placed him on that bridge.  I know God guided my thoughts and actions and kept me aware.

I hope that Casey Anthony seeks forgiveness.  Only God can change a heart and right now, I think only God is capable of forgiving her.  I'm sure having a hard time even thinking about it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to Shoplift a Salad

I do not condone shoplifting salad, nor will I teach you how to do it, I just couldn't think of a better title for this post.  However, I was accused of trying to shoplift a salad today.

On my lunch break, my bff Love It All and I went to Hen House (yes, it's an oddly named, yet very nice supermarket) salad bar.  It was a busy time of day so the salad bar and cafe area were a little chaotic.  Once we finally reached the cash register to pay for our leafy lunches I swiped my card, entered my PIN, hit "No Cash Back", approved the transaction and then walked away after exchanging parting words with the cashier, "Have a good day!".  I walked over to my bff, who was filling up our drinks, and we headed out to find a table. 

Suddenly I heard, "Ma'am.  Ma'am!  MA'AM!" so I turned around to find the cashier rushing toward me.

"Ma'am you STILL have to PAY for that!"   Everyone turned to look.  A little afraid that she was going to try to wrestle me to the ground I followed her back to the register and calmly explained that I had already paid.  Her response was, "Well you have to pay for it.  You can't just take it."

. . . I'm aware of that!  I mean, for real! If I really wanted to steal a salad I wouldn't have bothered standing in a long line for 5 minutes only to get to the cash register and then walk away. Crazy. Lady.  I would have taken advantage of the chaotic situation, made my salad and snuck through the aisles of the grocery store

until I reached the exit.  More importantly, I wouldn't ever try to steal a salad, or anything else for that matter!


So, in an effort to clear my name, I swiped my card again, went through all the steps and she was finally happy.  Snarky, but happy.  "See?  You had to go through all those screens for it to be final."

"I did.  The first time."

She ignored me.  "Now it went through." 

"Yep.  Again.  Because it went through the first time."

Tomorrow I will be taking a screen shot of my bank statement, with the duplicate debiting of funds, to Hen House.  And then I will teach a small child how to properly shoplift a salad and then I will kick a puppy.  Cuz that's how I roll....apparently.

Wednesday Wisdom: Hang Up the Phone

After concluding a mind-numbing, unnecessary, non-essential call you should always make sure you have actually disconnected the call before letting out a LOUD, loooooooong, irritated SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Decisions

Decision making consists of pro/con lists, research, gut instinct and leaping; for me, anyway.  Sometimes these steps are easy to work through, and some can even be skipped. Other times each step is painstakingly difficult.  I like to think of myself as a good decision maker.  I weigh the options, analyze the possible effects, but in the end I realize I have to decide on an option or route regardless of the fear-factor OR regardless of whether that decision is popular or not.

Let's see.....how can I make this post vague and cryptic while still getting my point across and hopefully making it universal to all situations where decisions need to be made?  Here we go:

I want to specify  this post to quick decisions.  I'm not talking about job changes or making large purchases.  The decisions I want to highlight are those that have to be made in a split second.  Most of the time these types of decisions are actually judgment calls, on our part, and reflect our experience, morals and values, or lack thereof.  They are also dangerous because a split second decision, one that requires more thought in less time, often end up affecting our lives long-term.

Recently, I was put in a position to make a decision over something seemingly simple and my decision was not what was expected.  Knowing it wouldn't be expected or accepted, I considered for a milisecond to choose the easy option....easy in the moment, but not long-term.  I took a deep breath, stood before those awating my decision and said, "You're going to think I'm an idiot but I can't do it.  At this point in my life I really value myself and my choices more than I value your opinion or perception of me."

Now, the relationships are awkward but I realized today, as I am living the after effects of my decision how blessed I am to have confidence, not only in myself, but in what I believe.  So much confidence, in fact, that I was able to make a sound and positive decision for myself despite adversity.  I was able to easily draw from what I know to be correct.  I'm not going to lie, I still feel anxious and a little nauseous from the stress and pressure of the situation, but confident nonetheless.

Vague enough for you?  I hope in some way you can relate.  I also hope that if you struggle with making decisions because of fear of what others will think, that you will be inspired to become confident enough to stand up for yourself and strong enough to deal with any repercussions. 

I love this quote from Dr. Seuss.  It came to me today when I was starting to doubt the decision I made:

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." 

I hope that those who are currently not happy about my decision will eventually be in the "those who matter category".  I am giving them time to realize that they don't mind who I am and what I feel.