Monday, December 17, 2012

Rocked to the Core

These kinds of things make me shudder and then weep. They make me yearn for innocence and hope even when there doesn't seem to be any.  My kids are looking to me for guidance and assurance and to tell the truth I am having to reach deep down to find it. But the choice isn't mine. I am their mom so it is my job.

They need to know how many heroic people that were there that day.Teachers. Police and fireman. Clergy. The compassion and love shown. The good. Placing the emphasis on that makes it less easy to be sucked into the evil.  Less scary to feel secure. Allowing them to bypass the adult issues being thrown at them and help them remain the children that they still are.

Good propagates good. Lead by example. Love others. Give time to less fortunate. Simply make someone else happy. Spend time together making each other laugh. Don't let evil overshadow the good in this world.  Help to create adults with less cynicism and more optimism. 

Live with intention. Love with your whole heart. Not because of such horrific tragedies but despite them. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

We are All Just a Bunch of Misfits

This time of year brings about certain imperfections. Especially those that we see within our selves. Its like a scene from a  Christmas movie when a character is standing out in the snowy cold peaking in the window at a picturesque scene. Everyone sitting by the fire drinking cocoa and singing carols and linking arms. No cares in the world. White picket fence happiness. While you are standing there all the while shivering, teeth chattering. Sad and misfit. Nothing close to perfection. 

When they draw the curtains inside that magical heart warming scene the real life starts. The kids squabble and someone knocks over the cocoa. Smoke overflows from the fire and the alarm screeches. Regular everyday problems.  But you don't see them. 

The family of Barbies you see at the school choir concert or shopping together at the mall is really just the same as you. The struggling misfit toy. The one trying so hard to be the square peg that fits into the round hole. No matter the consequence.  

Everyone has flaws. Some are on the outside for everyone to see. Others are inside hiding from the world. Whatever they are they make us real people. Human beings who need to shout and cry and be mad and sad sometimes. We aren't plastic, produced in bulk without emotion or flaws. The grass is never really greener on the other side of the fence. It is actually equally as brown.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Choose Joy

Everyone falls. The trick is being able to get up, brush yourself off and keep going forward. Its not easy to push aside those things that make you stumble. It is even harder to be able to smile while pushing them aside.  Its easy to get caught up in the bad stuff. That stuff that weighs you down and makes you into a miserable human. Someone who can't find it in themselves to see the happiness. The hard part is choosing to see the joy.

Watching a mom today at the store I saw it. Her little girl was carrying a box of cookies and trailing behind her. She was rushing ahead looking at her watch and mumbling about being late. The little girl lost her tight grasp on the box and it bounced to the floor. The mom looked back and for just a moment her face tightened but almost immediately melted into a smile and she began to giggle.  She scooped her daughter up and told her they would have cookie pieces in milk and it would be perfect and fun. She saw joy.

Things unravel every day. Sometimes it is on a small scale like the cookies falling and sometimes it is on a huge world record spool of yarn scale. Life is absurdly hard but letting it bring you down is a choice. Being happy is just a temporary emotion but finding actual joy is different. Joy is a state of being that comes from inner contentment. It is long lasting and can affect everything you do and say...really everything you are. 

Choosing the path that leads to the most joy might not lead to money or recognition. But finding joy brings a sigh of relief to your spirit. It lets you find the laughter within the tears and move a step beyond happiness. Joy isn't a fake smile plastered on your face but it is living real and awake and enjoying small moments in life with gratitude and love. Choose joy today and tomorrow and the day after that. Your happiness depends on it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Lets face it, no one likes much of what they see when they look in a mirror. I am looking now and can tell you I need some frizz ease and under eye concealer and my shirt is holey and stretched and may or may not have been 
worn to sleep in last night.

I don't like it, not even a little. But when I keep looking. Really hard. Looking deeper...past those cosmetic things ...I see some things I do like.

I care. I feel empathy and love for others. I am loyal.  I believe in truth and justice for all people.  Not just some but all. I feel pride that I am modeling these qualities for 3 beings that I brought into this world. 

If I fell into a deep infinite coma or was kidnapped by goblins I know people would remember the important things. No one would remember the state of my hair or the extra roll on my thigh. They also wouldn't care what kind of car I drove or if my house was dusty or whether my kids socks matched every single day.

They would  remember what kind of person I was on the inside. They would remember how I made them feel. They would

remember the deeper me.

When you stand and look in that mirror past all those superficial things do you like what you see?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Long Long Way

26.2 miles is a long way. This is a little peek into what we might talk about at each mile along the way.

1: How life changing and exciting it is to be running a marathon.

2: Teenagers. Myth vs. reality. Good vs. evil.

3: Fat cats are way cooler than thin cats.

4: How fantastic 80's movies are.

5: Plastic surgery. Yes? No? Maybe so?

6: Cute shoes.

7: How to hide annoying people on Face Book.

8: The validity of underwear.

9: MEN

10: Washed up pop stars, over the hill actors and Lindsay Lohan.

11: Donuts, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bars, tacos, wine, Whine, and more wine.

12: Ladies of a certain age should NOT "Love Pink".

13: Water.

14: The absurdity of running a marathon for fun.

15: Sweat.

16: Starbucks.

17: First kisses.

18: How proud we are to be running 26.2 miles.

19: Sore feet.

20: Drinking games.

21: Blisters.

22: Did that guys really just pee under that bridge?

23: What kind of dumb ass puts a hill at mile 23 of a marathon?

24: Who the hell talked me into running this thing anyway?

25: Ouch.

26: Left,right,left,right.

.2: I think I am seeing that the finish line? PLEASE let it be the finish line!     

Friday, August 10, 2012

Listening to My Inner Self

It always comes back to faith. So many people struggle with trying to place religious faith in the middle of battles of good and evil. Politics and love and marriage with religion sandwiched  somewhere in between.  To me being faithful isn't about being in a church or reading the book. It lives inside. In our hearts and souls. It isn't driven by trying to change others but about learning to trust in ourselves. It certainly isn't about wanting to sling hate or place sanctions on who people choose to love. How can someone have faith in hate?

Much of life seems disconnected and unexplainable. We search for why things happen in our lives...both good and bad. To be honest there are usually no clear cut answers. No proof. As much as we want them and need them and let's be totally honest sometimes we demand them. Moving forward involves having faith that it will all add up in the end. Faith that being a good person matters. Faith that the path to happy is winding and sometimes stone covered. The hard part is leaving those stones on the ground where they belong. Of course it would be easier to scoop them up and throw them as hard as possible. But faith isn't always easy and our houses are all made of glass.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Restraining Order

 The hardest thing about being a mom is maintaining restraint. You want your kids to be safe and happy and the best at everything. Moving heaven and earth to make these things happen is the first option. But it is a hard knock life out there. Each and every lesson builds character and creates an independent self confident person. We have to restrain ourselves from making things too easy. Kids need to make mistakes and take risks. As much as we want to buy stock in bubble wrap and cushion every fall we just can't. Those tumbles feel bad when they happen and we want to take the pain away. We want them to get an A and have the cute boy ask them out. We want them to win the game and pass their drivers test. We want everyone to know how beautiful they are inside and out and how fast and how smart and how wonderful they are. Moms want to shout those things from the rooftops or to the teachers at school or to the coaches on the field or to the other moms also on the roof. Yet we have to hold ourselves back from telling the story. Our kids will do that in their own time. They don't need mom written subtitles. They will shine at what they love and excel at what they enjoy. It is one hundred times better when the teacher or the coach or the other mom comes up to you and tells you what you already know about your kid...they are extraordinary. Moms are strong that is for sure but not strong enough to move mountains. Our kids have to learn to tunnel through and that takes time and patience.

Stepping back is hard. Watching quietly is excruciating. Raising a child who won't look back someday from the therapist's chair and curse you is priceless.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Static Cling

Twenty-four years is a long time. It is hard to remember back that far. But I do because it is important. Pivotal even. It was that day the threads of my life began to wind together. Only weeks after meeting we made a juvenile commitment that can only be created in the minds of two 15 year olds. As young as we were and simple as that first love was it was the basis for where we are today. Through the years we haven't wavered on what we are to one another. Some days seem hard and some days seem easy but the most important thing is that we believe. Even when it is isn't easy. We have faith in the promises we made to be together. Whether it is a promise we made in front of a church beneath a veil or a promise whispered between just us. We know now that those blanket statements "for richer and poorer" and "in sickness and health" do not describe hypothetical situations but future reality.

We advocate for each other as if it is second nature. Protecting and defending you is who I am. Unspoken support is what we have. I can't imagine a better dad for our three girls. They see in you what I hope they strive to be. Your constant devotion to me has spilled over to them. Somewhere between laughter
and tears we find a happy medium built on compromise and flexibility.

Twenty four years really is a long time. But it isn't forever. Forever is where I hope I am heading with you.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rumor has it....

Sushi is actually edible if you slather enough soy sauce and wasabi on it.

Kids can and do form their own political views despite what you say to them.

Wearing high heels on the same day as running 14 miles is hobbling.

Chocolate really can make your day climb out of the toilet.

The sun still rises even on the darkest day.

Being a bargain shopper is great except when it comes to hair products and shoes.

It is ok to admit to reading a book labeled erotica if it is also called mommy porn and passed around in MOPS.

No matter how much you speculate or plan or consult the experts for how a child will react to something it always ends up going another way.

Love and marriage do NOT always go together like a horse and carriage.

When you need a hair tie or a bobby pin you can't find one to same your life but if are sweeping the floor you will find 5. The vacuum will find 10.

When you ask me what is for dinner and I say NO idea that probably means mac and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. It doesn't mean Chipotle or Wendy's.

Attending church doesn't make you a better person than someone that doesn't but if you go to church and embrace the message you already know that.

Fat cats are funny any way you look at it especially from behind.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pass the Mouthwash

I have a bad taste in my mouth. It doesn't have to do with the garlic I ate last night. It's not about me forgetting to brush my teeth. Somewhere between anger and fear I lost sight of how beneficial it is for me to be able to forgive. Initially you think you are doing that for the other person but really it's freeing to be able to forgive. Grudges suck the life out of you. They weigh you down and cloud your vision. They leave you spiritless and with lots of sharp edges. With a very sour taste in your mouth.

Finding it in yourself to let things go is the only true way to move on. Forgiveness is free and found in aisle 3 of your heart. Sandwiched between grace and kindness. These days not much is free and readily available. Not many things can remove the bitterness and replace it with peace.

People are not always who we wish they were. As much as we want to be able to change them it just doesn't work that way. Playing that kind of waiting game may last a lifetime.

Focus on my actions. That's what I have decided. I can control me and my ability to forgive. I can be kind and show compassion. By forgiving others it makes it easier to forgive ourselves. Self forgiveness is the ultimate in becoming your most authentic self. The real you. Authentic, compassionate and forgiving are three words I hope my kids use to describe me someday.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Sugar Added.

I hate labels. They tell me how many calories I am shoving in my mouth. They inform me of how much sugar and fat I am consuming. They tell me I have to dry clean my favorite shirt. They itch my neck every time I put on that one special sweater. Labels annoy me.

They also predispose kids to be thought of in certain ways. I remember when I was 8 or 9 and I was labeled the shy one. Sure I cried a lot and turned red at the drop of a hat but instead of words of encouragement I got dismissed as being quiet and boring. That label shaped who I am now. It made it hard to step forward. It made me believe it myself. The label turned into a box. One that surrounds you can't or shouldn't or .... that's who you ARE. It backs you into a corner that is hard to escape from..those labels. You are a nerd or you are fat or you are dumb or you are gay. Kids are mean. Things spoken in a moment of anger or sometimes jealousy that can cause a lifetime of hurt. All words that set up roadblocks that are sometimes insurmountable
for children. As parents we can love our kids and tell them how great they are out the wazoo but the label is still there squarely on their forehead when they look in the mirror. We try to make our kids strong and self confident. To teach them to be rubber and let mean bullying bounce off. It's just words the other parents and the teachers like to believe.
It isn't like they punched them in the face or pushed them down. But they did. And many times they can't get back up.

Teach your children empathy. They could be on the other side at any moment and how would they want others to treat them? Discourage cliques. Not every person has to be your friend but you have to be friendly to everyone. That is my mantra . As hard as it is to remember when you are the target the ones shooting the darts have weaknesses too. Most of the time the only way they know how to make themselves feel stronger is to knock others
down. The long run of life doesn't look kindly on people who climb the ladder that way. By knocking other people out of the way. Eventually it all catches up to them and they are the ones who are left alone.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

If You Can't Hear Me Feel Free to Turn it UP.

Occasionally my kids take Lunchables to school and sometimes I even ((gasp)) let them have McDonalds. I let them order what they want from there. It is a treat. I do not make them get apples and milk. Who goes to Mcdonalds for apples and milk???

Some days we wear mismatched socks and jeans out of the dirty clothes hamper at our house...WE meaning the kids AND me.

There are crumbs and half melted crayons in my van. If you want a ride home you will embrace them or at least ignore them.

I love all three of my kids every day but some days I like one of my kids more than the others. Some days I like one a lot less then the other two. Some days I like the cats more than all three kids.

I enjoy watching HGTV all weekend long but I hate doing home improvement projects. I find it mesmerizing to watch others do them but I don't paint or sand or shellac.

I find people who enjoy discussing politics, religion and "alternative" eating refreshingly interesting and extremely knowledgeable. I find people who shove their views on these things down my throat ignorant and closed minded. Gray and neutral are my favorite colors.

I don't find it polite or endearing when people call me hon or dear or mam. It is like nails on a chalkboard. In fact I sometimes have to physically hold my tongue so I don't say something rude back.

I eat dessert every night. It is part of my meal. I let my kids eat dessert. They don't have to eat all their dinner to get it either.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Help Wanted

When kids are tiny and new everyone can outwardly see the work taking care of them involves. They need everything. To be fed and bathed and wiped and loved. It is never ending really. And they watch everything you do remembering and memorizing the way you do it. From the moment they arrive you are their teacher in so many ways. As they grow and change the outward appearance of their need for you changes. They have learned to do all those monotonous things every day life calls for themselves. The thing that is hard to see or understand is that their need inside is still there. They don't need you to pick out their clothes or cut up their meat but they do need you to listen to them cry over not being invited or praise their outstanding game. They want to be told what time to come home and what language class to sign up for. The work of parenting isn't done. I would argue that it is probably never done. Learning to find the balance of respect and independence is a scary dance for them. All we can do is provide the music but we can't get out there and dance for them.

When I steal a sideways glace at my girls these days I see flashes of them as babies but also glimpses of me and of what they will be as women. I listen to their
vocabularies and the individual sense of humor I hear from each one and I know that so far I have done my job the best that I know how. They don't need me to tie their shoes anymore but they do need me to be present and participating. When you are rocking in that chair feeding the baby at midnight and thinking about how hard it is to make it through the day without sleep or a shower remember that those days are tough but may not be the toughest. When they are learning to ride a two wheeler and fall and skin their knee it is painful but probably not as bad as their first breakup or failing their driving exam. Parenting is a lifelong job with the highest level of commitment of any job out there. The good thing is that it also has a life time of huge payouts and bonus's. Love and creating a genuinely good person are two I can think of off the top of my head.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

*BLEEP* People Say in Powell, OH

Everything I have written or tried to write in the past few months is just too influenced by gray clouds and heavily laden by my extreme SAD disorder. Sooo in true Beth fashion I have decided to divert attention from the serious and important and write something with a little comic relief in it...
**Thanks to my running girls and my sister for contributing ideas for this post. Luckily they can all find humor in themselves since they (and me ) are all guilty of one or two of these things. Hopefully all of my Powell friends reading can too.**

Bleep people say in Powell, Ohio......

1) "Zoombezi Bay?? OH we don't go there even though it is right in Powell...the people from Columbus like to vacation there. They pack a big styrofoam cooler and bring their unruly children from sun up to sun down....Besides my Nanny doesn't like to get too much sun."

2) "Backround checks for school volunteers?? BRAVO! No more perverted parents on field trips! I am glad they aren't giving breathalyzers or checking Coach purses for prescription drugs..."

3) "Hold on honey! I am busy arranging the kids sports stickers on the back of my car in alphabetic order with my 13.1 sticker smack dab in the middle...we may need a bigger SUV."

4)" I started using the SCRIP program the day my kid entered kindergarten to save for the 8th grade trip! We have exactly $47.55...8 years later."

5) "No, Little girl I don't want any of those girl scout cookies unless they are gluten free, peanut free and made in completely peanut free factories. I will however purchase a dozen boxes to donate to a food pantry. Those people won't care about the nutritional worth."

6) "Have you heard the Middle School kids are having"kissing" parties in the woods?? I wonder where those parents are while this is going on??? HOW do these kids even know what "kissing" is??"

7) "Did someone just say they saw Jack Hanna?? Who cares!"

8) "Out of all the ice cream shops in Powell I could only live with one choice. The organic choice. At Jenni's I can get a hearty portion of my favorite goat cheese-chocolate-banana-caramel- marshmallow- mint-clove-barley in a vegan cone for only 10$ What a bargain!"

9) "I ran 10 miles in 2 hours at a 10 minute a mile pace this morning then I hit the gym after work and now I am going to go pick up a pizza, beer and ice cream..I deserve it!"

10)" Our small town is so quaint that I can walk to restaurants and bars but I still have to be careful not to drink too much..the police are known for stopping people for drunk walking!"

11) "The new neighbors are turning our subdivison into a ghetto. Their swingset has a light green striped awning and a YELLOW slide instead of the one specified by our association. We may need to have an intervention."