Saturday, September 17, 2011


Yesterday I had a flash.

Sort of like a firework behind my eyes, only I couldn't see it. I just knew that one moment my mind was dark and the next, truth seemed to be exploding and shining light into the dim places.

It was one of those afternoons when the dread of "out of control" was washing over me.

I was hunting for a piece of paper.

To make a list.

Or four lists.

Or maybe just to make a note of "be better at everything" lest I forget that I'm not living up to my unrealistic and unholy expectations of myself.

One particular relationship in our house has been draining me for weeks. I was tired and worn out by the frustration and consumed by a "fix." The kind of consumed where your mind can't rest. You start by thinking about the problem. And thinking and thinking about it. Then you urge yourself to find a solution so you aren't just one of those perpetual whiners. But your search for a solution takes you on a bumpy road, filled with potholes and signs that bear all of your insecurities and paint in bright colors the fears that YOU, in fact, are the source of the frustration to begin with. So if you want to fix it, you have to start by knocking yourself all to pieces and then rebuild yourself as a new, in control woman.


When I get flustered, I want control.

I want a list to tell me how to get that control.

To make order.

To own and manipulate.

As I simultaneously lamented my failures and clung to the abilities that I believed could put me back into a sense of controlled, or controlling, well-being, I had the flash.

I realized that when I am overcome by a weight of "out of control" it means that I have tried to take something that is not mine.

When I can't settle into my life and relax in the ebb and flow of my days, it means that I have abandoned what has been very specially planned and saved for me while I'm on this earth and traded it for a heavy, impossible load.

When I take something that belongs in God's hands, and try to trap it into my own, I upset the balance of my relationship with the Creator.

It should come as no surprise that I feel out of control.

I never had control.

And in actuality, it sure sounds a lot better to know that someone who is everywhere and knows everything and can do anything is the one who is leading this pony.

Why on earth would I actively choose to spend my days in a frenzy, making lists to tell me what to do, how to change, what to stop and what to start? Why not, instead, when I feel that so-very-strong temptation to take something that is not mine, could I not realize what I've done and open my hands immediately.

My temptation, when feeling unsettled, is to curl up into a tight ball and hold what I think is mine close to my chest with my body ridged and weary around it. Who would have imagined that the solution would be instead to expand and stretch and open my arms to allow all that is not mine, all that I should have not tried to control in the first place, to go. To be in someone else's hands. To be in the hands of one much more capable than I.

Can I tell you, when I realized this, I was in my bathroom. I was trying to catch my breath and find my bearings and trying to shake off the soul-crushing weight of being a failure at making my life fit into my skewed understanding of "good."

I saw the pop of light and watched the little trickles of glitter fall over my weary mind and my heart that was bruised by the heavy load I had been trying to hold.

I made a decision to open my hands and drop my list and believe that God loves me.

When I left the bathroom, the difficulties were still there.

But so was peace.

I haven't fixed anything. The things that were hard before I went into the bathroom are still hard. The difference is, I feel more agile and sure footed when walking this trail.

The difference is, when I look at the trouble, I don't need to fix it.

My breath comes easily, in and out, trusting that as I take the time to breathe, God is caring, and participating, and holding all that is his, handing me beautiful pieces to look after as he sees fit.

My habit of holding too much has taken its toll, and I am sure that I have some recovering and restoring to do, but I see another way of approaching life. With my feet shod with the readiness of God's peace, I plan to walk in it.

Care to join me?

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I've got a serious dilemma.

We're talking big.

As in the decision I make regarding this problem could potentially change the outcome of my whole life.

Oh what I wouldn't give for a sarcasm font.

In the grand scheme of things, what I'm facing is miniscule, but isn't it so strange how the very smallest of things somehow grow into monsters in our lives?

Maybe that is just me.

Anyway. My problem.

My problem is that I am this close to swearing off Target.

I know. I KNOW!

Not Target entirely, just their clothing section.

I have been avoiding the final shutting of my heart-doors toward the colorful and affordable mama-meca, but this morning just might have thrown the last straw on this camel's back.

Most of my wardrobe comes from Target. EVERYTHING that I have purchased since starting my new life as a foster mom has come from Target.


Well, the major factor is that if I want to shop at a real clothing store it requires weeks of planning and arranging to find a time to go (no sarcasm font needed here). It is much more convenient for me to take a scan of the selection on the first trip to Target in a week, notice what I like, and then quickly grab what I'm interested in on the second trip of the week and try it on.

It breaks the shopping process into two parts, making it manageable with kids in tow, which they almost always are.

The second reason is that with $17 for a cardigan (I confess a deep and librarian-like love of cardigans) I get instant gratification. I don't have to save up for what I want. $20 here or there doesn't seem like a big deal, whereas if I journey to the Loft (see... I should have been a librarian) or Macy's or some darling boutique, I have to go prepared with the reality that a single twenty isn't going to get me ANYTHING and that my stack of twenties is going to get me very little.

But here is the problem. Over the last few months I have purchased a few items from my standby, Target: two dresses, one pair of shorts, a workout top and a few clearance tank tops.

Within the first wash both dresses AND the workout top were destroyed. Gentle cycle, hang dry... the dresses both looked like they disintegrated in water and the sports top lost the entire seam along the bottom.

I exchanged the dresses and brought home new ones that have fared a little better.

But today I was ironing my shorts and realized that again something that I had recently purchased, and taken extra care with, had fallen apart.


I'm mad.

The reality is, if I have to replace items every month, I'm not saving time OR money.

Target is the only place I know of that sells the perfect shade of green (bright but not too limey) so I may have to deal with a change in my expectation of color-selections... but friends, I think I'm over the concentric red circles for my clothing.

Am I being too dramatic?

Too harsh?

Expecting too much?

Please talk me off this ledge if I'm out of line because if you don't, this long-time relationship is over!