Forget love letters in the sand…I live in Canada and it’s winter. We write love letters in the snow!
“I’m so glad I’m not going that direction”, I muttered, as I passed an incredibly long line of cars creeping toward the main highway. Impatient drivers were tapping their steering wheels, while I flew by singing to the Classic 80’s station in my big, black rental car.
Famous. Last. Words.
It wasn’t until I got to work and reached into the back seat for my purse, that I noticed Little Guy’s lunch bag and books. I left a note on the door and headed back the way I had just come.
Ford owners be like…
…before my friends find out it broke again!
Did anyone notice, I mentioned a big, black rental car? Big Guy’s suffering with a car full of pain, not to mention his wallet.
When we returned from Christmas holidays, his car wouldn’t start. We got it boosted, but 5 minutes after he left to head home, he called to say it wouldn’t go over 20 km/hr. He ended up borrowing my car for the remainder of the week. I hitched a ride with one day with the pastor, and the second day I drove his little blue demon.
Three weeks later, he discovered not only had they failed to put fluids in the car, but they had botched the whole job. He had to bring it back down to the same dealership to fix it, which incidentally is the same one where I had to eat Humble Pie. He has my car; I have the rental. No one has heard from the dealership.
Neither of us is terribly optimistic.
FORD – Fix or Repair Daily
FORD – Found On Road Dead
Author Laura Kemp was featured in The Telegraph today for her piece on having a Mummy Midlife Crisis. As it turns out, as of today, I’ve been a Mom for 28 years (assuming we aren’t also counting the 9 months of heartburn, weight gain and sleepless nights while someone partied). I’m sure if I thought about it, I could come up with way more than her 7 signs of a Mummy Midlife Crisis, but since it’s Friday and it’s been another incredible week of mayhem (plus I have a chocolate birthday cake to assemble), I’m just going to “go with the flow” and see if I fit in.
1. Savage haircut (after multiple discussions and agonizing with the question: is long hair ageing.) Hmm…
2. Intense exercise. I’m assuming this is to lose the “baby weight” (which you know is no longer linked to a baby but to baby-sized bags of potato chips). Hmm…
3. Go potty for crafts. Hmm… became a Stampin’ Up! representative. Currently looking up on Pinterest and sewing “geeky” Christmas decorations.
4. New friends through social media. Laura calls it “banter, chit-chat, thought-provoking threads and funny pictures of cats, which frankly, is better than what your real life friend moaned about over coffee this morning”. Hmm…
5. An unprecedented interest in world affairs. Nope!! Not world affairs, but if I can watch someone renovate their home, renovate their hot rod, or renovate their wardrobe, I’m in!
6. Getting a dog. Close enough?
7. Caring about winter boots. Or “fashion has re-entered our lives”. Hmm…
Laura writes, “The mummy midlife crisis is about working out where you go next. And not giving two hoots if you look foolish doing it.” Do I like the way she thinks?
I recently left the morning worship service during the offering prayer, because I didn’t have the music for the offertory. You should have seen the looks on the A/V crews’ faces! I found the only copy in existence buried in the pastor’s office and made it back just in time…all the while hoofing it in heels! This past Sunday, our rehearsal was rough – our technical crew all showed up late and some of my worship team members were AWOL. It all gives new meaning to the expression “Grace Under Pressure”, and it’s certainly not the first time things have gone askew.
In a recent Facebook Post in a group for Worship Leaders, someone posed this question:
“What is your greatest, consistent (often irrational) fear when it comes to leading worship?”
Here are some of the predictable and unpredictable responses, not all born from irrational fear but from frightening realities:
One of my own personal fears happened two years ago, when a team member started the intro to a song…but not the right song. He ignored the lyrics on the screen in front of him, and the loud whispering of the pastor in the front seat, in front of him (as well as assorted hissing from the congregation). He finally stopped and apologized, saying he had the wrong song open on his stand. He then proceeded to start playing again…the same wrong song. Thanks to a quick thinking A/V crew, another pastor, and the other members of our team, we went with it. During the offertory, I took off like a shot to the back to tell the crew we would be doing the original song at the beginning of the next set. Yes, in heels! A few people chuckled when I announced the original song, and we went on from there. That team member had no clue what had happened until the end of the service. And now…every time we play together…I panic a little!
Ernest Hemingway wrote “Courage is grace under pressure”. It takes grace to round up a group of volunteers and stand together as a team, in front of people who are often all too happy to point out mistakes. Not always graciously I might add. It takes dedication to practice, to roll out of bed early to set up, and to stay late to clean up. It takes sensitivity to choose songs that will flow together musically and in their message. And it takes courage to face the fear and insecurity of speaking/singing in public, and yes, to laugh at the mistakesbtoo. Worship leaders do it, week after week, not because we’re gluttons for punishment or because we’re awesome. We love the Lord and He has asked us to share our gifts this way. God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9 NIV).
I know scrubbing the toilet is “gross”, (believe me, I know), but no more gross than the “gift” you left me in your rush to get back to your video game. Just be thankful that I had cleaned the toilet on the weekend (especially after your brother threw up), and that we haven’t had “chili night” in a long time.
I could have been worse. When your brother developed a habit of “picking and flicking” (I think he was bored) and I got sick of cleaning up after him, I made him clean the whole bathroom. Armed with a toilet brush, a sponge, and a toothbrush. I’m talking the tub, sink and toilet. The taps. The floor. The walls. Even the light fixture. There was no merciful pre-cleaning done for his benefit. We may have even had chili that week (Dad did all the cooking at the time). I don’t remember. I just know it cured the habit.
What you choose to do (or need to do) in the bathroom is your business (unless it involves drugs or a girl).
Life is messy and full of distractions. But heed this warning: if I am assaulted by any more ” O Henry bars”, you will be scrubbing much more than the porcelain, and I will feed your father chili first.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger. – Friedrich Nietzsche
2018 is right around the corner and I’m still asking —
At the close of the 2016 Year In Review , I prayed:
May 2017 be a year with more laughter than tears. May I have the ability to rise above the challenges of supreme annoyance. And may I retain the ability to dress myself at the end of each day! Amen!
This past year has certainly not been a year of laughter, Humiliation yes! But not a lot of laughter. There were plenty of annoyances, and consequently the odd rant. But only one confession. But I can still dress myself!
I have aged by a year, which has led to a tumultuous relationship with my bed, the raging inferno of my dying youth, and a Faulty Filter. I decided to be daring and I wore my first bikini. The beacon was lit that day, but on other days, I became positively invisible.
There were moments when I failed as a mother, and other times I had to exercise faith. Little Guy participated in a fundraiser for those who need a hand up and wrote a guest post for me this summer about Tom Thomson. We had more serious “grown up” talks. I hope he never grows old.
In October, I experienced the sublime with my mother-in-law’s sudden passing. She was a lovely woman and we shared may giggles over cups of tea. That same weekend, I experienced the ridiculous with some sudden and naughty text messages and phone calls from strangers. “Hey Baby”, maybe I should have considered changing careers?
In April I participated in the A to Z Challenge. In September, I started a regular Monday tea feature called “What’s in My Cup?”. I took my summer vacation in December (it’s a long story) but at least I escaped the annual Winter Concert. Wednesdays nights remained Halo night. I also took time to lament being short, and compiled my own list of requirements for a wife. And a bunch of other silliness…
Bing Crosby may have crooned his dreams for a White Christmas, but he could afford someone else to white-knuckle drive in white-out conditions, and he certainly didn’t brave freezing temperatures that rival the north pole. It was -20C today and it’s numbed my brain. Whether it’s the lack of sleep and trays of sweets, or the fact that 2017 wasn’t a particularly grand year, but I seriously lack any enthusiasm to begin yet another year. But just like Christmas, it’s coming.So to all those who have popped by from the blogsphere –
Gift wrapping isn’t a chore – it’s a challenge.
As kids, my brother and I would try to mess with each other. Sometimes we would wrap a little box, and put it inside a bigger box, then wrap it and so on! To distract the receiver from guessing the contents, (or to make a gift sound broken), we’d toss in a penny or two (back in the good old days when we had pennies). Or we would meticulously tape odd-shaped bits of cardboard to our gift before wrapping to change the appearance. We recycled boxes and gift wrap before recycling became a normal part of life. We often fought over who got the funny pages because getting The Far Side cartoon first was the best part of besting the other. Old maps were cool too! So much for holiday spirit!
Our grandparents always used half a roll of tape on every seam and Hubby has carried on that tradition. Big Guy has found other creative ways – like a tea towel held together with elastic bands…or duct tape!
At least he isn’t recycling fast food wrappers just yet.
Last year, my brother introduced Little Guy to a new technique…
And that, my friends, is a wrap!
We didn’t go to the school’s “Winter Wonderland” concert this year.
Some of you are thinking…
But honestly…we avoided death. Or at least jail time. I’ve only spawned two children, but with such a large gap, no concerts ever overlapped. There was no doubling up or Sophie’s choice (i.e., missing one kid’s concert in favour of another), and I never earned a”mother of the year” award for having endured the endless hours of practice leading up to that one enchanted night of hell. Before you start egging my house, let’s review…
Every year the performances progress from the lower grades upward. That means, the older your child is, the longer you have to nurse a migraine in the dark. Everyone loves the little cherubs…little chubby hands waving enthusiastically at anyone who will wave back, the one kid melting in a sweater vest with his finger up his nose. Why can’t they mix it up a little?
Every group has the same type of performers: The Frozen Ghost – pasty white and scared stiff; The Over-Dresser – ruffled and bejewelled like Beyonce; The Super Lung – also Beyonce but usually off key; The choreographer – knows all the moves, strangely reminiscent of Beyonce; or the Unenthusiastic Lip Syncher – who is visibly dying on the inside.
Every year we hear the typical non-religious songs: Here comes Santa Claus, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (like that one isn’t just a bit scandalous), or Frosty the Snowman…or I think that’s what they are… Concerts are like a Christmas game show – Name That Tune – but there are NO winners!
Every band sounds the same. The woodwinds sound less like dainty tinkling notes, and more like cats being murdered, and the drummers are always half a beat behind. And unless it is your child playing a recorder, it’s not entertainment. It’s torture. (Admit it – you’re nodding your head right now. I’m not wrong).
I will admit – parents can be entertaining to watch, especially the ones whose children just stand there gawking alongside their classmates on stage, doing absolutely nothing, while their parents over exaggerate the hand movements while enunciating all the words. These parents have obviously spent hours preparing for this big life changing moment in their kids’ lives and they are going to support them whether or not the sun is coming out tomorrow.
Then there are the other “stage” parents. When Little Guy was in Grade 1, I attended the afternoon concert, arriving early to sit in the front row. By the second song, the parents armed with tablets and video cameras had mobbed the stage. Children were wild-eyed, with fear. I think I saw the kid with his finger up his nose, flicking furiously as he backed away from the crowd. A teacher finally threatened to cancel the concert if parents didn’t sit down. By then I had 6 rows of parents in front of me, and it was only a 4’ gap to that first sobbing child. Most parents backed off, but I still didn’t see the concert, as the die-hards stood for the remainder of the concert with their devices over their heads. It was disgusting!
So no, we didn’t attend the Winter Concert for the reasons above. And also because he wasn’t in it. He isn’t in the band and once they hit a certain grade, they’re not “cute” anymore. But…
…I’ve heard rumours that there’s a Spring Concert in the works. Little Guy isn’t in the band but his class is learning “Tomorrow” from Annie, for some
demonic purpose. Little Guy plays the flute. He’s been practicing a lot. My favourite part is the “seven bars of heaven” in which Little Guy doesn’t play at all. He just counts…it’s an epic silence, before he breaks into the final refrain of “tomorrow, tomorrow”…
…and before I know it, the concert could be tomorrow. There will be crying and gnashing of teeth, and they won’t all be mine. Unless Hubby can fake death, he’s coming too. We can discover some new ways to entertain ourselves to make it
less brutal more bearable (we did last time). Here’s hoping that 2018 will be my year to win a “mother of the year” award.
It seems lately that the older I get, the filter between my brain and my mouth gets stretched thinner, like the waistband of my underwear. (I really should have bought some for me when I bought some for everyone else). Basically –
Like last week. As I rushed from the grocery store, a middle-aged couple in a shiny new white BMW pulled into an empty handicapped parking space by the front door. There was no handicap sticker on their vehicle, as required by law, and both appeared to be perfectly physically fit. There were plenty of empty spaces available in the lot, and only a few extra feet away.
I said –
“Oh, I’m sorry for staring but I don’t often get to see people who are so above the law that they can park wherever they please…”Really? What’s my problem? You’re my problem. You don’t have a handicap sticker in your vehicle, and there are plenty of other spaces to choose. You’re taking a space from someone who needs it. I don’t know if you can manage to pay the very expensive fine if you leave your car there, but you certainly look like you can manage those extra steps from that space, right there, to the store.”
– to myself as I climbed in my car, after I rolled my eyes walking past. I ranted all the way home, all the things I wish I had said.
What gives? Sometimes I bite my tongue and I don’t open my mouth, at great risk of personal harm. But other times I’m sneering sarcastically under my breath, or flat out ranting like a lunatic. Whatever the cause, it’s not always a good thing when my brain filter fails and my mouth just assumes it’s ok to say it! It’s awkward, not to mention completely against my upbringing.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
…the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:5-6)
I’m already on fire, thanks to the raging inferno of my dying youth. So while I’m developing a thicker skin (and a muffin top), my “filter” is getting thinner. It’s isn’t fair!
One would think that as one matures, one would develop greater self-control. My self-confidence has grown exponentially; I’m increasingly less concerned with what people think of me (humour me!) but this overconfident, run-off-at-the-mouth-like-a-soup-sandwich-style sarcasm is going to land me in serious trouble one day.
I want to be a nice person. I used to be more like Laura Ingalls Wilder – sweet and wholesome – but lately all I want to do is use my braids to choke the next person who annoys me. Which is everyone. Apparently.
Please consider this a forewarning of what may prove to be a growing, embarrassing problem (right up there with pantyhose hanging out my pant leg and forgetting what I went upstairs to get).
So, to the people who tolerate me on a regular basis, I’m sorry…you are the real heroes! I hope you have a good weekend!
To everyone else…I’m just going to bite my tongue.
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