Monday, March 21, 2011

Life is back

Although I had to have a brief meltdown yesterday when it was decided we would NOT be traveling to a warm and sunny location for Spring Break, today I am thrilled because it is NOT WINTER ANYMORE! There are signs the sun may return to my life.
1. I didn't have to scrape ice off my windshield this morning.
2. The gardening department has returned to Fred Meyer.
3. The 1,000,000,000 bulbs I planted last fall are peeking out.
4. My Spanish calendar was switched from "invierno" to "primavera" today.
5. My kids won't go to bed on time, because it is lighter later.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. I can see it. I can't wait to feel it.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We are good, and didn't win - Lessons we've learned from losing.

(Disclaimer - This is going to read a little like a journal entry. However, the topic I believe is universal.)

Tonight was the Foothills School Variety Show.
Rewind a month.

Upon hearing about this show we decided it was time to make a family band. Brooklyn and Emily are finally getting good enough on the guitar to keep a song going and with Pappy as our "rock" we can really rock and roll. Aaron is steady on the conga drum and Ian holds the tambourine beat. Lucas joins in on the chorus and we all sing for a full scale sound. Brooklyn's voice has bloomed into a solo performer and the boys are always on key. We played "Everybody" by Ingrid Michaelson.

We loved it! Practicing together was one of the best things our family has ever spent time doing. The anticipation to the performance was exciting. We were the first act and we nailed it. We started the show with a bang.

30 acts later, it was over. The crowd enjoyed intermission while the judges decided the fate of the winners. Everyone was happy, feeling good and congratulating each other on great talents.

Then the winners were announced. There were a LOT of winners. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in many categories. Over half the participants walked away with prizes. Individual prizes for "best this" and "best that". Finally the grand prize winner...and nope, not us.

This is not the first time I've been passed up for a prize. In fact, now that I think about it, I've never won anything to my recollection. Even my childhood soccer team lost every game. I've managed through life and think I haven't suffered much for not winning. But somehow tonight is different. For the first time, I now have my kids at my side as the prizes are passed out to others. I have to somehow show them how great they were tonight, despite being overlooked by the judges. I have to capture that feeling of confidence, and self assurance they felt as they walked off the stage, before the winners were announced.

There was another little girl that did an AMAZING gymnastics performance and didn't get recognized. For a moment I was glad we didn't win either. Because, I was able to go to her, pull her tear stained hands from her face and say,
"Did you like my family band?"
She whimpered, "Yes, it was my favorite."
"Guess what. I didn't win anything!" I said to her. "I thought we did really well, and we didn't win either." So I asked her to give me a hug, and her little hug, sharing the pain of defeat, was one of the sweetest things I've ever felt. I wouldn't have had that hug if the Family Band had won.

So, losing isn't as fun as winning. In fact, it's hard to work through. I've mastered losing individually by becoming fairly non-competitive. However, tonight I would have liked to see my kids win. I would have liked to have them receive that external verification that they are exceptional. It's one thing to tell yourself, but it's another to have it confirmed by an audience. They worked hard to develop this talent they put out there tonight, and those prizes blew the wind out of their sails.

So tonight, we are learning to find contentment with ourselves, without the praise of trophies. I know we were good. We worked hard, we did the best we could and we left it on the stage. Brooklyn's strum was strong and steady, her voice was beautiful. The fullness I felt to have my dad, husband, and three kids with me singing is something I can't top. It's doing my favorite thing, with some of my favorite people.

Now give me some ideas on how to pass that joy to my kids who are feeling like they are not winners...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Being Content

"What does that mean anyway?" Aaron asked me yesterday.

So over the next few posts I will define my journey to Lenten contentment - what it means and does not mean.

Today I am content that although I was late for work due to a fit over a winter coat, no fits were thrown by me.

Also, I am finding contentment with

for lunch. With some crab and cottage cheese. Yum.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Is lent always supposed to feel like torture? Jesus fasted for 40 days and was then tempted by the devil. So following that model, I'd say yes.

However, this year I've decided to quit torturing myself for lent, and see how that feels.

I've decided to be content for lent.

This may be the most challenging thing I've ever done to honor the season. Will it bring me more joy? Will my family be happier? Will I be able to pull it off?