Friday, January 22, 2010

What Not to Wear

The other night I found myself channel surfing (not NEARLY enough time for me to do that these days...). I landed on TLC's program "What Not to Wear" and was instantly hooked.

Yes, I admit it. I love this show. Those two crack me up. I think it's entertaining and great fun to watch people transformed into hip, up-to-date versions of themselves. While the hosts can be sometimes crass, rude, and brutally honest (well, at least in their opinion), it seems as though Stacy and Clinton truly have the client's best interest at heart. And the best part is their emphasis that beauty, confidence, and style doesn't depend on the size of your waistline or the color of your hair. What I get from the show is that there is beauty in everyone.

Lately I've been doing a lot of soul-searching. It all began with my 2010 pick for "word of the year." Simplicity has been a running theme in my head since January began, but I must be truthful and tell you that life hasn't been simple. But I've realized that "simplicity" is really a state of mind...kind of like inner peace. Life circumstances may not be simple or peaceful (I mean, c'mon! Three kids, a dog, and a puppy? And that puppy who insists on confiscating our shoes every single morning so that we're late heading out the door? No. Not simple here. And definitely not peaceful!).

I've also been examining how I live my life as a role model to my children. Priya has been experiencing a situation at school where a little girl who was a supposed friend is now treating her in a not-so-nice manner. Priya doesn't understand it. I don't either. Especially since our daughter is so eager to be friends with everyone.

I told Priya that sometimes people change and that means the relationship might need to change, too. I told her that it hurts a lot when someone isn't caring and loving towards you anymore---for no apparent reason---but that we should still be caring and loving towards them because that's what God wants us to do.

Easier said than done, right?

But, what I unearthed in my self-discovery is that I often "wear" the ugly clothes of hurt, bitterness, and anger very visibly for all to see--especially when I feel as though someone has hurt me deeply. I don't always realize it, but my children see my reaction. They see everything and are so intuitive that if I'm not careful, my reactions will become their future reactions. So I decided to make a conscious effort to look upward towards the heavens when I'm hurting rather than downward in despair. It sure is harder to do, but it makes life so much more simple when I'm not harboring those negative feelings. I desire for my daughter to follow that example and not be so beaten down by others that her soul becomes hard and cold.

For me, simplicity begins and ends inside my heart and soul. I realized that the last few days I've been "wearing" a lot of bitterness, resentment, insecurity, hurt, and self-pity. Some of you may not know it from seeing me at school picking up kids because boy, can I paste on a great smile. But those who have been so (un)lucky to have been my confidants, well, you know the truth. The ugly truth.

It's comforting to know that we all struggle with these unbecoming garments...that we all "wear" them to some extent at one time or another in our lives.

But, boy, how unattractive it was to discover myself wearing them all at the same time. HELP! Stacy! Clinton! I need an intervention!

Just being funny here, because the real intervention needs to come from God working in me and through me....helping me to realize just how precious I am. Just how precious we ALL are. However, I need to desperately and intentionally seek Him in order to attain that affirmation. Because all the pats on the back and "atta-girls" from even my closest friends don't come close to how highly God esteems us.

Sure, it's important for us to be in relationships that are affirming, positive, authentic, and not superficial. But let's face it. We've all experienced a relationship at some point in our lives where the other person just stopped thinking that we are "all that and a bag of chips." And, boy, does it hurt like the dickens. Of course it's important for us to be in relationships that are affirming, positive, authentic, and not superficial. It's a huge reason we were put on this earth. For relationships! Priya's elementary school life-lesson is a perfect example. And Lord knows it can only get more painful the older we get.

Thankfully, God never lets us down like that. Not ever. I'm finally accepting that concept. I mean, really getting it. I've always known it. But letting it sink deep into my heart and take root is to feel a freedom to be the real me. It's a love that no one can take away from me. Not even those who drop me at the drop of a hat or say unkind things about me or to me.

After a great few days of bible study and the love of several amazing of whom sent me this song playing in the play list...I'm feeling liberated and ready for a makeover of sorts. (I hope you'll take the time to really listen to the lyrics...this song rocks!). Bitterness, resentment, insecurity, hurt, and self-pity are definitely things making the "what not to wear" list for me in order to achieve that simplicity and peace in my life I'm striving to attain by the grace of God. It's all there for the taking. All we have to do is ask Him.

It's not Spring yet, but today I've decided to begin the slow and deliberate process of cleaning out my mental and spiritual closets. I'm "letting go" of those garments that are unattractive and unbecoming. I'm "letting go" of them because God asks us to do so. I'm "letting go" in order to go shopping for more beautiful qualities that allow me to live my life to the fullest.

It'll be the best shopping spree ever since it won't cost me a dime out of our checking account.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chaos, Continuity, and Crossroads


Have you ever had one of those mornings? A morning filled with chaos? Please...tell me I'm not the only one. Today I was one of those days when the very first hour had me cleaning up dog vomit, sending a preschooler to time-out, trying like heck to persuade a first-grader he needed to go to school, and dragging a second-grader out of bed for what seemed like 30 minutes. Three cups of coffee later I was exhausted. At it was only 7am. Regardless, I was still semi-motivated to get going on the extensive to-do list that was calling my name. I was celebrating because ahead of me awaited a kid-free day with oodles of time to get things accomplished.

Or so I thought.

After many bribes and lots of persuasion...I ended up at home with my first-grader. He wasn't sick. He felt fine. Daddy told him in his authoritative tone that he needed to go to school. But the intuitive "mommy voice" in me said otherwise. I sensed that something else was going on. Later today I discovered what that was.

Oh, you might be wondering what my 2010 word of the year-- "simplicity"--and our brand new Yorkie puppy might have in common.

Absolutely nothing.

The first week I actually felt as though I had a newborn in the house again (egads!). Buddy woke us each morning at 3am with what was at first an adorable little yap. It quickly morphed into an annoying, loud yap. But, that yap was his way of communicating he had some business to tend to, so for that yap we are very grateful. And now we are all (for the most part) sleeping through the night. very grateful.

Nothing simple about potty-training a puppy.

But enjoyable nonetheless. This little furball has become my companion...following me everywhere around the house and providing endless entertainment for our family (well, Spridle would beg to differ...). He has no fear of his older, larger beagle brother--or the rest of us for that matter. Steals Spridle's food. Bullies his way into Spridle's bed...while Spridle is laying in it! Runs away from us when he's caught with yet another Power Ranger toy clamped between his teeth.

But we absolutely adore him. Enter Chaos exhibit A.


Back to the Deven issue. After letting Animesh know that it was ok with me for Deven to skip school today, Deven and I chatted over breakfast. His answers to my questions were benign. Nothing was wrong. No one had been mean to him. No one had made fun of him. He liked the long-term sub he had (his teacher is out on maternity leave...left on December 4th and won't return til mid-March).


His teacher emailed him (via me) today...telling him that she missed him and that she got his letter that had been delivered to her before Christmas. In that letter he had asked why his class needed to have 2 different subs. He also asked how her new baby was doing. But most importantly he asked when she would be returning. Upon further discovery I found out from Deven that he's missing his teacher desperately and not adapting to the changes as well as I thought he was. Continuity is so important for all of us. In nursing the theme was all about "continuity of care"...meaning that all patients were treated equally and in the same manner...and by the same health care professional for as long as possible. Deven is craving the same thing. I spoke with his former Kinder teacher (whom I adore) and she agreed that this was most definitely a common issue. I was so glad I kept him that he knew I acknowledged his concerns and his feelings.

I was especially glad when I captured this moment on film after I went searching for Deven and Buddy after a prolonged amount of silence in the house this morning.


After a relaxing day of nothing-ness at home, Deven is ready to return to school.

After all, don't we all need a "mental health" day once in awhile?


I have found myself at a crossroads many, many times in my life. In my work. In my academic career. And in relationships.

After nearly 40 years on this earth, I'm still wondering why it hurts so much when encountering a crossroads in a relationship can lead to such pain and a sense of loss. Not too long ago I found myself at a crossroads...and I made the decision I didn't think I would ever make.

I made the decision to leave that relationship behind.

When I've invested so much in getting to know someone, caring for someone, and then learning that the other person didn't feel the same way about hurts like a son-of-a-gun.

But, I know my "almost-40-year-old-self" to know that this experience won't prevent me from putting myself out there. Call it a blessing or call it a curse... but I'm a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve and advertises herself as an open book.

Some are offended. Some are turned off. But those who have been attracted to me and my being real have stuck around and impacted my life in a big way.

And that's great with me.

I am who I am. Love me or leave me.

Or, as my favorite quote says:

"Be who you are and say what you feel
because those who mind don't matter

and those who matter don't mind."

Well said, Dr. Seuss. Well said.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Simplicity. My word of the year. I've kept it in my head and on my heart since I chose it. The word has spoken to me every single day...and I think simplicity is infiltrating its way into my life in a way I never expected it to. The way I think. The words I speak. How I spend my time. My reaction to certain things.

Yeah, sure. It's only January 7th. It's only been a few days since simplicity became my word of the year.

But, it's a start.

So far I've not missed Facebook. So far I've unsubscribed from every "junk" email that will allow me to. Still, there are other actions need to be taken as I focus on inviting more simplicity in my life.

I cannot wait for this to arrive. It will have the word "simplicity" on it...and I plan on wearing it all year round as a gentle reminder...not like I need a reminder now...but I might in the future.

And the bible study topic we started discussing today even relates to simplicity. Trying not to let our culture indoctrinate us...whether it's materialism, our looks, or something else that takes our focus away from God.

It's gonna be a good one.

And just for fun.....

I'm published! Photographer Maile Wilson took this shot of me 2 years ago, and she submitted it for publication in this really cool book. It was chosen---along with the awesome blog entry that went along with it!!!

Seriously, even if I weren't in the book, you should get a copy of this inspirational piece of work.

But, if you do happen to purchase one...I'll autograph it for you. :-)

Saturday, January 2, 2010


This holiday season has seen us enjoying many relaxing jammie days that has afforded us all the down time we so desperately needed after the busy fall season. I've found myself to be quite contemplative and reflective during those days...thinking about the year we left behind...the year ahead...and how I can be more intentional in making positive changes in my life during 2010.

Yesterday I was reading one of my favorite blogs authored by this wonderfully creative gal. She shared on her blog her "word of the year." I had never heard of this before....but I was intrigued by Carissa's word and the reasons behind her choosing it. Then I read on another favorite blog by this awesome chick about HER "word of the year." Turns out both of these ladies were inspired by Ali choose a word of the year...a word that would ultimately set the tone for 2010...a word that would inspire each of them to be intentional in growing spiritually, emotionally, and purposefully this year.

I fell in love with the idea.

So, I set out on my own journey to find my personal "word of the year." When I settled upon the word (and it didn't take long), I felt as if a wave of peace had washed over me. It was awesome.

My word, you ask?


When I shared this word with my hubby...well...he laughed. He didn't do it to spite me, mind you, but he knows my life and how I've operated the last few years...and he thinks it's nearly impossible for me to simplify any aspect of my life given our family circumstances, his work schedule, and my inability to say the word no.

Which is exactly why SIMPLICITY is my word for 2010. Because all of that is about to change.

I know Animesh is only thinking of SIMPLICITY in terms of my daily schedule. Oddly enough, that's not at all what I had in mind when I chose the word. I don't have my head THAT far up in the clouds to think that my daily life will all of a sudden become simple just because of my chosen word of the year. Who am I kidding with 3 little Indians who are becoming increasingly active in extracurricular activities, a husband who is extremely busy saving limbs (most of the time), and a home that is located in the semi-boonies. It takes awhile to get ANYwhere from here.

I am thinking about simplifying my life in more important areas. Where my relationships are concerned. Where my thoughts are concerned. How my time is spent. Where I place my priorities. On Whom I depend on to guide me through this life-journey.

So. Here begins my journey. So that I'm held accountable...I'm sharing this with the world. OK. Not really the world. But with those of you who are kind enough to read this blog once in awhile.

And for those who have left comments in the past telling me that the blog should always focus on the 3 little Indians...well...this blog is still about them. Indirectly. Even if I take the time to write about my own thoughts and feelings.

Because I am the woman I am today because of those 3 little Indians. Got it?

My first step in SIMPLIFYING my life came to be easily and clearly. It was to "unplug" a bit. Don't get me wrong. I adore the iPhone and all its fun features. But. Let's. Face. It. Facebook was a little too accessible with that iPhone app glaring at me each time I turned my phone on. I decided that while it was somewhat entertaining to see what people were up to, it became a real time-waster for me. And I am craving real, in-person relationships. Even if that's via email. An email meant just for me. And not the rest of the world. And I'm desiring to give each of my family and friends the same consideration. So, if you visit this blog and I don't have your email address...leave it for me. I'm so happy to have it so that I can contact you. And you only.

Step 1: cancel Facebook account.

As far as relationships....I've realized just in the last few days that there are those out there who think nothing about taking you for granted. It's hurtful. Downright painful. But it's a reality. I think I understand why some friends of mine keep others at an arms-length. Because so-called friends or people who have claimed to care about me have not even thought twice about taking me for granted. While I wish these people no harm whatsoever...I do not feel the need to keep them around as a negative influence in my life. Let's just say I'm "simplifying" my life, shall we?

Step 2: recognize those who are a negative influence
in my life and limit the time spent with those individuals.

My next goal is to simplify our household. Have you ever looked around your home and wondered where in the world you accumulated so much STUFF? I have, and a lot of it has got to go!

Step 3: de-clutter our physical environment
so that it is more of a sanctuary for all of us.

This next step will likely be a year-long (if not a LIFE-long) process, but I'm up for the challenge.

And, speaking of about this one? What will be YOUR word of the year? Visit this awesome download for some inspiration.


Welcome 2010...BRING IT ON!

Next up: simplifying my thoughts. Is that even possible?????