8 Reasons I Pray for My Children

A few weeks ago a friend gave me this nifty page with suggestions of how to pray for my children daily.

 

Oh heavens, do I need to pray for them on a daily basis. Mostly that I won’t string them up by their toenails.

 

While I actually love the page itself and would highly recommend it to anyone so inclined, I thought it would be fun to take a few of the virtues and mention, with trademark sarcasm, why it’s important I pray for this quality in the hoodlums.

 

1. Self-control. Remember the time Dos slid her fingers through the arm hair of a practical stranger? Yes? Well, if anyone needs self-control it’s this girl. I was foolish enough to venture into the mall with my brood today in search of a gray shirt. I turned my back, next thing I know, Dos is in the store front window, running her hands up and down the mannequin’s legs. Self-control? Needed.

 

2. Justice. There is nothing so well-developed as a sense of justice in a six-year-old. Uno collapsed into tears a few days ago because Dos got a larger piece of gum. It was a Chiclet – I’m confident it’s impossible for those to be irregularly sized because they’re all coming out of a factory that uses scraps of gingham to size their product. My opinion doesn’t matter, however. Justice must be maintained.

 

3. Mercy. Just this evening Tres took her father’s slipper from his foot and slammed it down on Uno’s head. Why, we don’t know. But until Uno learns to holler, “Uncle!” I’m guessing I’ll be praying for mercy for the two-year-old.

 

4. Courage. My children watched me butcher a chicken. They touch friendly snakes without fear. All have been known to practice their gymnastics on the steel handrail affixed three feet above our cement sidewalk. I pray their courage is tempered so they don’t end up dead one day from foolhardiness!

 

5. Purity. Some families might see the word “purity” and equate it with chastity and such. Not us. I’m considering purity from the germ standpoint. On any given day our children run around barefoot, feet sporting the dirt-encrusted line of a flip flop sandal. Dear Lord, please keep them from foot and mouth disease, stepping on earthworms, and stealthily-hidden shards of glass.

 

6. Humility. I suppose I should be grateful my children are secure in their affections, but it’s disconcerting to have the following conversation with your kid: “Sweetie, you know I love you, right? No matter what.” “Yeah. I know.” It’s never crossed their minds they might need to practice a smidgen of humility.

 

7. Perseverance. Nothing says you’ve got a child with stick-to-it-ness than a horse-obsessed six-year-old with a piece of rope. That child can turn anything into a horsey item. The walker doubles as a horse and a horse-mounting step stool. Every spare bit of time becomes the stage for a quick horse race. The kid is horse crazy and willing to do anything to work horses into everyday life.

 

8. Peace-Loving. Dos can screech like a hoot owl. How would I know this? She was NOT demonstrating her peace-loving nature. Instead she was sitting in the Barbie Jeep with her sister, screaming, because Tres wouldn’t remove her foot from the pedal. Did I mention the Jeep was moving with nary a hand on the steering wheel? Peace. It’s another quality we find lacking on a daily basis.

 

There are certainly other qualities we need in our house, these are a few that stand out.

 

As you check out this graphic, what qualities do you think your children need the most?

 

This post was originally published September 26, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

How To Get Married In Six Months Or Less

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StealingFaith has grown so much over the last year many of you have probably never read some of the earlier posts. And tonight I had to giggle when thinking back to the early days of our move…

 

So, for your reading pleasure, please enjoy the story of how getting married in six months or less became part of our family culture. May your smile be sweet and your dating relationships short.

 

How To Get Married In Six Months Or Less

 

Today is my parent’s 43rd wedding anniversary.

 

Lizard and I will have our 7th wedding anniversary in a month.

 

After an exhausting search of Wikipedia and Google I’ve learned if I add our respective years of marriage together that means this little snippet holds the wisdom of 50 years of wedded bliss and that, mon amie, makes this post golden, I tell you, golden.

 

Much to my dismay I also discovered that on our own, Lizard and I are traditionally only worth wool and copper this anniversary (my folks are in the Ruby region).

 

Back to the story.

 

Both my parents and yours truly met and married our spouses within six months.  (To make things even a little more mind blowing, Lizard’s parents and grandparents as well as my sister and brother-in-law met and married within six months as well.  We all know how to move quickly when we find the one who makes our hearts go pitter-pat.)

 

In honor of my parents and because I just feel like it, I’ve created a list of the five things you shouldn’t do on a first date unless you want to get married in six months.

 

(It’s a list as inexplicable as voodoo and as charming as the Easter Bunny.)

 

Here goes:

 

1. Catapult dish candies across the living room. When my dad arrived to pick my mom up for their blind date she asked him to wait while she finished getting ready.  In the short moments available to him while he waited the candy dish on the living room table called his name.  He reached for some and in a tragic fumble launched the candy dish across the room where it hit the wall and scattered M&M’s throughout the realm.  My mom arrived in the living room to find my dad on his hands and knees with fistfuls of colorful chocolate.  Great first impression.

 

2.  Respond to a question about where you went to college with a detailed account of each person you remember with fondness. On our first date that wasn’t a date (we didn’t actually date until we were engaged.  Long story for another time.) I innocently asked Lizard about his college experience.  He responded with extensive details about the lives of each of his friends.  I didn’t have to do anything but say, “Uh-huh.  Really?” for one and a half hours.

 

3.  Violate the bubble of personal space of your date. After my dad returned the candy dish to the table he and my mom drove to dinner in a Volkswagon Bug.  Just a few weeks before my dad had totalled another bug in a rollover accident.  He walked away unharmed because he was wearing his seatbelt.  My mom didn’t buckle her seat belt when she got in the car (it was 1968, strapping yourself to moving metal as a safety mechanism wasn’t a wide-spread philosophy!) and my dad unthinkingly decided to buckle her in.  With no explanation whatsoever my mom’s date lunged across the car at her and began pawing at her rumpus area.  She found it rather disconcerting while my dad viewed his actions as protective.  This is why Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.

 

4.  Launch into a man-hating feminist diatribe. Lizard and I watched the movie Mona Lisa Smile on our first date that was not a date.  During the hour and a half drive home I railed against the sexist mentality of higher education and the men who refused to allow women to excel using their God-given talents both inside – and outside – of the home.  Lizard was mostly silent. I was full of outrage.  For one and a half hours.  It was awkward.

 

5. Tell your date you’re sure they’d have more fun without you and you want to go home. My mom doesn’t drink alcohol.  When she and my dad met the man who set them up on the blind date they discovered him liquored up in the bar because he’d gotten in a fight with his wife and arrived early.  He suggested they all get a drink before dinner.  And during dinner.  And after dinner.  And then that they go to a new dance club that was all the rage.  My mom looked at my dad and said, “It’s obvious you want a girl who drinks and parties and I’m not the kind of girl.  So please take me home now and you can go out and find a date who suits your interests for the rest of your evening.”  He took her home.  And proposed four weeks later.

 

(Funny story, my dad recently confessed to my sister that he thinks my mom was on her best behavior during their courtship.  Just imagine their wedded bliss.)

 

There are my five recommendations for actions to take if you’re trying to get married within six months.  Do you have any stories of dates gone horribly awry that lead to lasting love?

 

This post was originally published February 20, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

5 Tips for the New Blogger

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A friend started a new blog and asked for some insight into how StealingFaith works for me.

 

I have written about the process of blogging before, but I have more to say! (Me, have more to say? Unbelievable!)

 

Her questions: “Can you give me some of your favorite blogs you like to read? How do you know what to write about or come up with some of your great posts?”

 

(“Great” was her real word. Yes, I swelled with pride.)

 

(Notice she asked two questions and I responded with 600 words. Sigh. She’ll never ask me another question again.)

 

My answer:

 

1. Who to Follow. I find the blogs by following other people’s recommendations or looking through facebook links. Sometimes I follow for a while, a few I love forever. Most bloggers will have a “blogroll” that lists their favorite bloggers, and Circle of Moms recently published the Top 25 Funny Mom Blogs so I have a few new ones from there. (My blogroll for StealingFaith is up on the header – enjoy!) Most of the ones I follow religiously have modest followings. There are some “megablogs” out there that I get a giggle out of but don’t follow regularly, like Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, Scary Mommy, Rants from Mommyland, Momastry, and such.

 

2. How To Get Readers. The best way to get readers is to publicize your blog through your current platform (facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, etc.), friends, and family, and ask them to share with their “tribe.” It’s network marketing at its best!

 

Another way to expand your circle of influence is to comment on other blogs in a “meaty” way. A comment like “good post!” gets a C for effort, yet a comment that continues the post “conversation” is much more likely to get the attention of the author and any random reader to click through to YOUR blog and read your writing.

 

Also, link, link, link. Bloggers tend to be a generous community, so linking to any posts you find useful, funny, or noteworthy is a good way to spread the blogging joy.

 

3. Define YOUR Success. Decide what your hopes are for your blog. Be realistic. There’s no “right” or “wrong” goal because it’s all about your perspective. For me, instead of focussing on the numbers of viewers, I need to spend time thinking about whether what I’m writing is useful to the reader… for a laugh, for insight, or for life function. The reader is my boss.

 

4. What To Write. I fly by the seat of my pants! When I get ready to post I sit down and think about what has happened that day. I’ve gotten comments from readers that they like stories of the kids and dogs best, so I usually search for ideas in those topics first. (Yesterday that meant I wrote about the dirty underbelly of pregnancy!) If that draws a blank, I cruise facebook, news feeds, Pinterest, and try to find something that strikes my fancy. Then I build a post.

 

I spend anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half on StealingFaith each night. Some days I KNOW WHAT I HAVE TO WRITE, RIGHT NOW!!!! Others… Take…. Time…. And… It… Is… Painfully… Slow.

 

There are bloggers who plan their posts out weeks in advance (people like Michael Hyatt and Confessions of a Homeschooler are two examples I can think of off the top of my head.) If you’re a planner, I just saw a cool set of blog planning calendars you can print for free here. It’s very pretty, and that makes me happy.

 

5. When to Write. Decide how frequently you’re going to post. Anything from once a day to once a week is good for growing a blog. (Tom Basson posts once a week. Every time he posts it’s good stuff, so he’s building trust and loyalty from his readers with his writing.)

 

Just make sure you’re up for the challenge of consistency. Readers will hit your blog and check your publish dates. If they see a consistent pattern they’ll have confidence in coming back. Whatever you decide, just stick to it!

 

Final Thought: Don’t give up. It’s easy to feel like you’re churning out words and no one is listening, especially when you don’t get comments. But keep practicing your writing, stick with the schedule, and don’t stop. Jon Acuff writes about how his first blog was a failure – but provided the training ground he needed to become successful with Stuff Christians Like. Tentblogger put out a post this week about sticking with a blog up to — and through — the critical mass of readership. Two GREAT examples of why you “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Go read them!

 

Do you have any advice that has served you well in the blogging/writing world? Do you agree or disagree with any of these points? I’d love to hear it in the comments!

 

*If you like this post, would you please share it with your “tribe” via email, facebook, twitter, etc.?*

 

This post was originally published April 27, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

How to Make a Decision

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A little while ago I had someone share a Texas saying with me:

 

“If you spend too much time with one foot in your past and the other foot in your future, you’re effectively pooping on your present.”

 

I’ve been mulling this over. It remind me of another phrase I think I picked up from a Po’ Folks restaurant menu: “If you ride the fence, you’re bound to get some splinters.”

 

My world is very action oriented. (Even when I want it to slow down to a turtle’s pace!) Both these phrases stick with me because they’re motivating, the message is for movement:

 

Take hold of today with both hands and experience it! Come to grips with who you are and decide which hills you’re willing to die upon!

 

I want to encourage you to consider your own life.

 

Are you inadvertently “pooping”on something valuable today because you’re reminiscing about yesterday or daydreaming about tomorrow? Is there a decision you know you should be making but have pushed off?

 

If you answer is “yes” to either of those questions… why don’t you do something about that?

 

Here are three tips that help me when I’m considering a change:

 

1. Decide if the move you’re making fits your values. Value-based decision-making can’t happen with the snap of your fingers. It takes time sitting with yourself, quietly, figuring out what motivates you and makes your pulse quicken. Do a simple exercise on your circles of influence. In your life, what do you have direct control over? What do you have control over if you have help? What is completely outside your control? Then consider – do the things I have control over play out in a balanced way in my decisions? If not, start changing.

 

2. Seek wisdom. My standard rule of thumb is to consult three people who are able to offer wise counsel about the decision facing me. Don’t just choose the cheerleaders in your life who will rubber stamp any decision you make. Talk to the people who challenge you, frustrate you, and are hands down on your team. When you see a pattern emerging from their counsel, you can see the path emerge in front of you.

 

3. Give yourself a realistic timeline. Before you make the decision, spend some time thinking about the logical consequences of the decision. For example, if you decide to quit your job, write yourself a note talking why you’re making the change and about the emotions you may feel – elation, loneliness from loss of community, satisfaction, failure, disappointment, financial insecurity, etc. It’s important to write yourself a note so when you feel these things you have a check point to reassure yourself. “See, I knew I would feel this way!” is a powerful tool! Give yourself the space to work through the transition and put that in your note, too. When we’re in the thick of the change we lose sight of our larger motivation.

 

Do you have any changes you need to make to value your present?

 

This post was originally published February 21, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Fable of the Porcupine

Fable of the Porcupine

“It was the coldest winter in anyone’s memory, and one animal after another perished in the icy weather. The porcupines saw this and decided the only way they would survive is if they grouped together to share their warmth.

 

This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. They stayed warm, but the pain they suffered was too great so after awhile they decided to distance themselves one from the other.

 

They began to die, alone and frozen.

 

Even porcupines could see that was never going to do. They had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

 

They decided to go back to being together.

 

The porcupines chose to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the warmth that came from the others.  This way they were able to survive.

 

The moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings perfect people together. It is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.”

 

Last night Tom Basson sent this out as his post, it was the first time I have heard this story. I loved it immediately!

 

Though there are many versions of the fable if you search for an author they all have a similar moral – would you rather die, unhurt or live, bruised?

 

A Very Significant question, wouldn’t you say?

 

What is your choice?

 

This post was originally published August 21, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Hold the Southerly Wind

Sensual Shadows Photography / compfight.com / (with text editing)

Please open your Bibles to the second book of Scentapotamus, chapter 3, and read with me,

 

“Thou shalt not release acidic flatulence whilst participating in a church service.”

 

It has come to my attention that some church-goers have a moral failing in the area of gastric abstinence.

 

Are we all human? Yes! Does everyone pass gas at one point or another? Yes! It is part of our humanness, our biology, our need to digest potato chips, beans and broccoli.

 

But let us not forget our fellow humans, our compatriots in this earthly race. Releasing the SBDF (Silent But Deadly Fart) in the company of strangers, particularly within the confines of a church service and pew, places an unfair burden on our friends who struggle to cast off the mortal coil.

 

There is nowhere for the innocent bystander to escape. They are caught in your web of fluffer-doodle, trying to maintain a sanctimonious and worshipful attitude while covering their nose with a bulletin, regretful it is not a scented Kleenex or an oxygen mask fed by Axe deodorant spray.

 

While our Heavenly Father understands and forgives the release of toxic aromas (knowing and loving us despite our disgrace and sin), there is a need to throw off our selfishness, our lack of self-control, and our disrespect for others. Spiritual maturity is gained while holding the stink within your abdominal cavity until it can be freed in an appropriate environment: the bathroom, outside where the air is fresh and clean, or in the sanctity of your solitude.

 

In the meantime: hold the southerly wind.

 

To you naysayers out there, who fear intrinsic intestinal damage at the suppression of the stink bomb, may I remind you:

 

Every time you spew an air biscuit in public, an innocent kitten dies.

Please. Consider the kittens.

 

This post was originally published May 4, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Define “FML”

Brace yourself for this news:

 

I’m not particularly “hip.”

 

In fact, I’m pretty sure I was using “groovy” in the late 90s, which means I was at least two decades behind on that particular phrase.

 

I sent my first text message in 2008. Wikipedia says the first text message sent was in 1992, so you do the math on how far behind the curve I was on that one.

 

Because I’m so un-cool, it takes me awhile to figure things out. (For the record, I’ve never “gotten” the scarf phase or a Snugli. There’s nothing wrong with this… just haven’t figured out how to get on board.) For example, it took me two days to decode the “c u l8r” text message from a friend.

 

I’ve become used to being naive in some areas, so it took me months and months to actually Google the “fml” tag I saw on so many facebook posts. Now, boy, do I wish I hadn’t figured it out.

 

Not only do I now have a curse word I don’t want in my brain every time I see it (come on, I can’t be the only one who un-shortens acronyms when I see them! From the CDC to ttyl, I always read the letters as their whole words),  but I’m remembering all the times I’ve seen “fml” on a status update.

 

Here’s a list of some “fml” references I can remember from the past few months:

 

  • Overslept for class.
  • Car battery dead.
  • Had to stay late at work because of someone else’s mistake.
  • Patriots lost.
  • Catching a cold.
  • Neighbor played music all night and sleep was interrupted.
  • Bank was closed and couldn’t make a deposit.
  • Computer crashed.
  • Kid is teething.

 

At the risk of being incredibly rude… are these really situations that require a “fml”?

 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use the term if the term actually fits the situation. (At that point it’s a matter of taste.) But “fml” gives me the impression there should be something truly awful taking place that far exceeds the experience of the fast food joint being out of Dr. Pepper when that’s what you’ve been craving all day.

 

Take a look at this poster:

 

I don’t think we have to compare our hurts with everyone in the world. Our hurts are real and valid.

But is it too much to ask that people not mention the “fml” without taking a moment to realize they’re updating their status on a social media platform they only have access to because they’re residents of a country with one of the highest standards of living in the world?

That their smart phone cost more to purchase than families live on in a year in Vietnam? The internet they are connected to works and isn’t monitored by an oppressive government? They don’t live in fear that soldiers could come and legally rape them whenever they choose? That their children and nieces and nephews and neighbors aren’t literally starving to death or dying from diarrhea because they drank unclean water out of thirsty desperation?

Is “fml” really a phrase that should be commonly thrown around? Really?

A friend suggested I start using the phrase “LML” – “love my life.” I think I will. Want to join me?

This post was originally published March 1, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Exposed Bravery

Motivational keynote speaker and humorist David Roche

I’m wading in murky waters tonight.

 

Ever, ever so slowly I’ve been reading through Anne Lamott’s Plan B. Tonight I read several more chapters.

 

Have you ever been around someone or thing that you really didn’t like too much and then all of the sudden they presented a concept that you fell head over heels in love with?

 

(Yeah. That’s how some people end up getting married. Ha!)

 

Well, that’s how I am with Plan B. Tonight’s chapters introduced me to David Rouche and his philosophy of The Church of 80% Sincerity.

 

(Caveat Emptor, I haven’t read this book, just the review of it by Lamott. And what I did read of the interview told me there would be several philosophical items I wouldn’t embrace.)

 

Rouche’s face was severely disfigured by a tumor as a youngster. He’s now in his 60s; he’s spent a lifetime presenting his face to a public that fears, scorns, and judges him. And he’s come through it with a pretty amazing philosophy about life.

 

Rouche believes he’s blessed, that his ugly is external and clearly evident, giving him no reason to try to be fake to fool the people around him. He looks at people and sees how hard they try to hide their imperfections to present an attractive image.. and feels relief that he’s not in their shoes.

 

If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we all acknowledge there are hurt, scarred and ugly pieces woven in with the character traits and brilliant decisions we claim with pride. So what do we do with those unsavory bits?

 

Do we hide them? Pretend they aren’t there? Live in fear others will find out? Worry that the love of the people around us is conditional and can’t accept our flaws?

 

Even though we know no one is perfect, we tend to glance around at others, see their “highlight reels,” and assume we are lacking. Our brains and our hearts are at war over insecurity.

 

This concept has haunted me for several weeks, since I read an article about a middle school dance offering a VIP lounge for the attendees. One student’s mother, Marcy Magiera, wrote a blog post condemning the idea… and  I can’t get a few of her sentences out of my mind:

 

“Let’s face it, any middle school is a pit of roiling emotions and hormones, where awkwardness abounds and everyone–even the most popular kids–are struggling on some level to fit in. To figure out, even, who they want to fit in with. There are already invisible velvet ropes aplenty, segregating the popular kids, the smartest kids, the jocks.”

 

Doesn’t that resonate with you?

 

The desire to fit in is so evident in our children. I can watch my six-year-old adopt the mannerisms of those she esteems… it’s easy to see her learn to copy and seek approval.

 

We don’t grow out of that need to fit in. We just learn how to disguise its desperation. As adults we become better at playing off the miming we do.

 

As adults, we see and respond to the invisible ropes, separating image from authenticity, making us believe if we dare show our true self we will be humiliated, despised, shunned.

 

But, really, what are we so worried about?

 

If a friend came to us with the exact struggle, scar, and hurt we bear, wouldn’t we treat them with love and grace? So why are we unwilling to accept they would love on us… “despite” our issue?

 

In so many ways, I think Roche has nailed disfigurement on the head. We all fight battles. His are forcibly truthful… most of ours… require exposed bravery.

 

I prefer authenticity to a cover up. I believe it tears the invisible ropes apart.

 

What do you prefer?

 

This post was originally published July 2, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Your BIG Story

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Do you watch the Olympics and wonder where you fall on the spectrum of exceptionalism?

 

I do.

 

Not that there’s a lot of attraction for me in prancing around in a bedazzled gymnastics leotard or running, running, running in circles around an arena for 30+ minutes (athletics not being my strong calling in life), but there is an utter fascination I have for watching a fellow human being excel to the level of an Olympian.

 

In my own arena I am competitive, I want to be noticed, to have a story my children tell their children, to leave a legacy that will be noted as unusual and inherently useful.

 

I don’t think I’m unusual in that desire.

 

I also don’t think I always set myself up for success. Sometimes the lure of the sofa, of that extra episode of The Bachelor or Wipeout, or that difficult conversation that has to take place before the next step of progress… well, those obstacles crop up and it’s easier to embrace mediocrity, go with the flow, or relax a little.

 

Too much of that and you realize you never swam out to meet your ship coming in.

 

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” Randy Pausch, Last Lecture. (Here’s the You Tube link for this quote, the video is 76 minutes long. I listened to the audiobook with Lizard on a cross-country journey. Both of us were changed. Really.)

 

There are times I wake up to four little faces and feel completely overwhelmed by this life I’m living. I always knew I wanted to be a mother and have a larger family, but I also had a strong desire to be the president of a university, a published and successful author, and a secular, feminine success story.

 

These children’s faces, they crowd out my other dreams and make me wonder at what point I’ll come to my senses, realize four children is an insanely, irresponsibly large number of children for any family? (Much less a family whose birther is a woman who doesn’t rank highly on the maternal aptitude test?!)

 

I’m not up to this challenge. It’s messy. It’s exhausting. It’s rewarding, but it’s not always pretty. Yet it’s also more important, long-term, than anything else I can conceive, any figurative gold medal that can be hung from my neck.

 

We all love our stories of ridiculous success, the Michael Phelps, the Secretariat. We love tales of greatness that make our throats close and eyes mist with inspiration while stirring music plays in the background.

 

But in searching for our own BIG story, we tend to forget the greatness in our everyday, in the willingness to make irrational sacrifices of consistency are what make up success. We ignore or forget the truth that every success story looks hard, ugly and — in some lights — broken before they become worthy of soul-stirring musical accompaniment.

 

Yet success stories don’t ever look like quitters. Because the little, everyday, consistent choices create a story titled  “Exception.”

 

No television cameras were there for Michael Phelps’ early morning practices day in and day out. No one was applauding his mom while she figured out how to feed that kid massively high calorie meals on the vague guess that the potential and passion she saw in her son would come to fruition and be rewarded with golden medallions on a world-wide stage.

 

I’ve been reading posts of parents sending their kids to school this morning. I suppose it’s the first day of a month of various first days of school.

 

What are these kids being taught about success? That it’s only for the fortunate few, those gifted with athletic ability, uncommon intelligence or unusual moxie?

 

Or are they being taught that success in any arena is the result of courage and repetitive hard-fought, smelly, sticky, sweaty, unreasonable effort?

 

They’re being taught what you believe to be true because they’re watching you find your BIG story.

 

So. What are you going to do with that?

 

This post was originally published August 6, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

How to Annoy Your Spouse

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Every once in awhile I get a wee bit of the devil in me, don’t we all?!

 

Admittedly, when the devil crops up in my life, my poor husband is usually the recipient. Tonight, inspired by this blog post, I want to share a few things that will likely inspire ire in your spouse.

 

1. Wake them up at dawn by singing the fight song of your college alma mater.

 

2. Eat chips in bed… on their side.

 

3. Leave cabinet doors open at eye level, begging for their head to be smashed.

 

4. Spend a lot of time on the toilet, the sacrosanct room of the house. But make sure you bring your smart phone to play Words with Friends or check status updates.

 

5. Place Saran Wrap over the toilet seat before going to bed at night.

 

6. Put yogurt in the mayonnaise jar but forget to mention the swap.

 

7. Sell possessions they brought into the marriage on Craig’s List.

 

8. Ask if you can talk during critical moments of television time.

 

9. Cry. Inexplicably. Just cry. Get it all out.

 

10. Order a different beverage than they order, then drink all of their beverage.

 

11. Leave the bathroom door cracked open while they shower.

 

12. Take the batteries out of the remote control. Ask them to fix it for you.

 

13. Put a rubber band around the handle on the kitchen sink spray nozzle. Point it towards the front of the sink and wait for them to turn on the water.

 

14. Reverse their contact lenses in the case.

 

15. Switch around the contacts on their phone. Exchange their best friend’s name for their parent’s.

 

16. Fill the mail box with ping pong balls or packing nuts. Ask them to get the mail for you.

 

17. Remove the plastic bags from cereal boxes and switch them around. Leave them wondering why Cheerios came out of a box of Lucky Charms.

 

18. Take some nail polish and coat a bar of soap with it. Let it dry. Then put it in the bathroom shower. When they try to use it, they will go nuts trying to get it to lather up.

 

19. Barely unscrew the lightbulb in their nightstand. Repeatedly.

 

20. Hide a large inflatable or scarecrow-type item behind the shower curtain.

 

For the record, I was born missing the “fun” gene. So, while I tend to think teasing my husband is great fun, I get mad when he turns these pranks around on me.

 

So I’ve learned not prank him. Because he always gets me back… worse. And then I get angry and that’s not awesome for marital harmony. So use your best judgement for your own relationship and don’t blame me for the consequences.

 

If all these pranks and annoying goodies are making you feel badly about how you treat your significant other, then take a gander over here to get some ideas of how to really love your mate.

 

In the meantime, what ideas do you have for annoying your spouse or playing an innocent prank on them?

 

This post was originally published September 28, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

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