Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Big Bad Advocate Momma Self

It's been that kind of week. Best not to cross me especially when it comes to my son. We are three weeks into the school year and I had to turn on my big bad advocate momma self. No one likes me when I'm in BBAMS mode. Especially those on the other side.

But frankly that's what mommas are for...advocating for our kids. No child, teenager or kindergartner, wants to feel like no one has their back. Well, it's been a while, but BBAMS has been out in full force this week. Unfortunately, as a result, I'm wound tighter than a drum.

You know what I want? I want a BBAM right now. Or a BBAP - big bad advocate person. What a joy it is when you know there is someone in your corner. Some days and weeks it gets so exhausting to be the big bad anything.

So today, I hope you have been strong and affirming and available to someone in your life who is in need of a BBAM. What a gift, even if for a moment.

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Cooking Frenzy

Anyone who knows me well knows I'm not one for cooking. It's not that I don't know how, or that I don't enjoy it, because I do. It's just that for years I have not felt I had time. Really I think it was that I simply didn't prioritize it. It provided me so little pleasure and seemed like just another "wife" to do. That is until the past couple weeks.

In recent blog post, I quoted from  that I am reading and working through the study book of The 7 Experiment: Staging Your Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. I'm pretty much not engaging in the level of denial or fasting that Jen engaged in. I think it's safe to say that I'm allowing her words to challenge me; to cause me to really think deeply about the areas of food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress.

As a result I've got an unusual reading list going: In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifest and Food Rules: An Eater's Manifesto both by Michael Pollan. Then I checked out Food Inc. from the library. I read a great article in the newspaper this weekend on savoring what you eat and a link to another book I may be reading: Mindful Eating

And I started cooking again. With the ingredients I had in my kitchen. To avoid waste and in gratitude for the amazing array of food we in America are so blessed with. My refrigerator and freezer are jammed full. I haven't a clue what's in there actually. 

So I started to bake. I had blueberries and peaches. So first about two weeks ago I made these amazing blueberry maple muffins that Todd and I have been feasting on for breakfast. 

And then I saw our flat of white peaches from Costco sitting invitingly on the counter. While we were devouring them, we wouldn't get through them all before they went bad. So peach cobbler was on the menu, and it was also amazing. In fact I made this recipe on the day we got some very disappointing news. So peach cobbler became dinner. 

Then today I spied the final three peaches in the flat. They were just past good. So, Sweet Peach Muffins with Brown Sugar-Walnut Streusel Topping were baked. But I still had 1 1/2 peaches left. So, next up was Peach Jam (refrigerator style). Oh so easy, and tastes great.

While I was digging in the refrigerator for sour cream and eggs for the muffins, I noticed two brown bananas. And since I already had all the baking ingredients out - yep, the bananas were pulled for some bread. Not just normal banana bread but rather Rum Banana Bread with the leftover Brown Sugar-Walnut Streusel Topping.

Todd is cleaning up the kitchen. I love him (every wife needs a husband who clears up the kitchen when she's done making a disaster of things). This morning I watched four episodes of The Pioneer Woman while writing a corporate blog post on the difference between focus groups and instant research communities. Apparently I am getting in touch with my domestic side. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Welcome Fall (Goodbye Summer)

I know there are four seasons each year, but for some reason I tend to break the year into thirds. It's probably because it can keep snowing into May in Colorado. But my four-month groupings are January through April - winter; May through August - summer; September through December - fall/Christmas.

I know. I left out spring. In Colorado, spring is hit or miss. This year it was a miss. We went right from winter to summer. I have no idea why I think of the year in thirds, but I do. These are the transition points in my life. The times I can package and review and then plan for the days ahead.

I'm in that packaging up place. Looking at summer and reflecting. Frankly it was a tough summer. Todd transitioned out of inner city ministry and waited. We waited on "next." I was sick most of the summer and in my tough-to-diagnosis illness I was miserable and lonely.

This summer was all about transition. Leaving behind and living hopeful. Always hopeful.

So now we are in September and I can feel the pull into autumn and the holiday season (well, not that just yet). I'm hopeful for cooler days. I'm hopeful that life will become cooler as well.

I don't know what you do in transition - whether it's simply the seasonal kind or the tough as nails kind that has you keeling like you're adrift at sea - but I clean, and ponder, and clean some more, and ponder some more.

The cleaning is all about control. I know this from experience. I've been doing it since I was a child. When life seems out-of-my-control I reach for something to regain my grip. Cleaning. Simple as that. Yet there was more to it this time...I was drowning in stuff collected. Cleaning has become more like purging. A possessions cleanse. It's just as unpleasant as fasting. Denial. Letting go.

And then there is the pondering. Here's what I'm thinking about:

  • How can I apprehend more and more of grace? I am realizing more and more that grace is everything. I have a tendency to strive for perfection. Truth be told its my cheap attempt at protecting myself from being hurt. I can tell you it doesn't work but that hasn't stopped me from trying. And I feel inordinately frustrated that at 53 I am not better. Seriously. When does a person stop struggling with the same issues? I might as well be 15 some days. But as I have pondered grace I am realizing it is everything. My personal improvement projects are a drop in the bucket; by grace alone I will cross that finish line. 
  • What does a real friend look like? Oh so much pondering on friendship this summer. What I am looking for, and in, friends in my life? What am I offering others in friendship? I have spent so much of my adult life working ridiculous hours and top that off with introvert tendencies, well it makes for a mess when it comes to friends. I don't want a tone of friends (well actually I do), but I want rich real friends; friends I can be myself with; friends where they initiate as often as I do; friends who check in when you withdraw. For many reason, I am deep into pondering this potent topic.
  • What is going on inside of me that I have so much "stuff" and that apparently I keep buying more? Ah, this is a tough one. There are patterns I am seeing in my life that are not acceptable to me when it comes to stuff. Time to reduce and plan for than next stage of life that will have us downsizing just about everything. And while I'm in a state of purge, I'm also considering what heart-issues have propelled me to "need" so much stuff. And I know the stuff is about something that has less to do with their intended purpose, and more to do with a gaping hole in my heart. Ouch. So much more pondering to do on this one.
  • What does it mean to live a life of generosity? I want to be defined by generosity. Not just money and stuff, but generosity of spirit and heart. A person who generously forgives and gives second (and third and fourth) chances; who generously gives time; who generously shares talent and capability. It is the opposite of grudges and bitterness and hurt feelings - those tend to be things that withhold and hold tight. Generosity is expansive. I have been given much and I want a life defined by generosity.
So now I enter September. Still pondering, still cleaning, still pruning and purging. It is all purposeful. It is all hopeful. 

Welcome fall...I want gratitude to define this season. I hope it does in your as well.