Tuesday, December 27, 2011

39 and a half...with a whole eulogy

Ryan told me that he loved me a few weeks ago and I know that he meant it, because shortly thereafter, he proclaimed it in writing on a small dry erase board with purple marker and told me that we should get married. And although I was flattered that he felt I was worthy of his heart, I was also trying to decide how to respond to such a claim, because you see..... Ryan is 5 years old.

I go and help out weekly in my 5-year-old's Kinder class and I don't know if it was the fact that I've helped him spell a few words here and there, the fact that I know my way around glitter glue and legos, or that I manage to sit down with the kids in their teeny tiny chairs, but for some reason, he took a liking to me....which I think we can all agree is....sweet.

However, after quickly going through all of my interactions with him and deciding that I didn't in fact, need to retain an attorney, I said to him...

"Ryan, that is so sweet... and I appreciate that very much. But you are only 5 right now and it's not time for you to love anyone like that. And by the time you should love a girl, I'll be like...a grandma to you! All old and shriveled up and you'll have to help me walk across the street and find my false teeth and stuff... When you're older you'll find a girl around your age and you'll be a very kind gentleman to her...and a good listener. You'll respect her and love her, but won't let her walk all over you. It'll probably happen in college... a four year University....somewhere with four seasons, but close to the water.... and you'll meet her your senior year...but won't get married right away....Anyway, you understand what I'm saying?" He pondered for a moment, looked me squarely in the eyes and replied, "I'm 5 and A HALF." Fair enough, Ryan, fair enough.

When do we stop tagging "and A HALF," onto our age? Well, I'm going to tell you right now.... I'm not stoppin'. I'm 39 and A HALF. And frankly I feel that it is a marker of sorts.... perhaps not every year, but for some reason this year it is. And I'm trying to be better. And kinder. And more graceful and more wise and more patient...by the time I turn 40....

And this is where I ask you to forgive the the non sequitur as I tell you that years ago I began writing eulogies about people I loved even though they had not died. The first eulogy I ever wrote was about a man named Chris...a remarkable man indeed...and after wishing I had said those things to him before he went to be with his Creator, I decided I'd write my loved ones their eulogies while they were still alive, so that there would be no question as to how much they meant to me. This seemed like a good idea to me then and in fact, still does...and if we're close, chances are I've written one about you. However, I've only given a handful out and sometimes hesitate to do so for fear of appearing morbid. Until, on my 39th birthday, one of my soul-sister Besties... handed me my very own eulogy in a beautiful black box complete with a rose. And it didn't feel morbid at all... And in spite of the fact that she is being very generous in both her description of me as well as her affection for me, if what she eulogized about me is not who I am... then it is most definitely who I desire and strive to be. So, while I'm 39 and A HALF, I'd like to share with you who I hope to one day die as, in,

The Eulogy of: Tava Sue Musial

by: Tennille

Well, I think we can all agree: The World is a Lot Less Sparkly Today.

Tava had a magnetism, a zest and thirst for life, for novelty, for joy that made her larger than life. She appeared to us mere mortals as somehow…I’m tempted to say “Magical” (It’s not magic, Michael, it’s an illusion.”) …Okay, none of you are laughing, but trust me, if Tava were here, she would be dying! (No pun intended) …But that’s just it, in any sort of magic, there is an illusion. And in Tava, there was no room for that. What you saw was what you got. Authentic...full of integrity.

Tava had the unique ability of keeping her feet firmly rooted while also being a soaring dreamer. She was steady, grounded in Christ. She was quick-witted and would keep you laughing long and hard with a risqué joke at every turn ("That’s what she said.”). She could use her beautiful voice to wow alongside the Church Choir or to make a sailor (or airman-specifically Gary Moore) blush. She made a mean mojito. She had a tattered Bible. She never missed a chance to extend grace and share with others the Savior who led her life.

She loved love. And she knew about it. And she lived it. Or rather, let Love live through her. She once said, “Once Love even died on a cross so that I could have life everlasting. My heart knows that love makes it easy to forgive, easy to go without sleep and easy to put another before itself. My heart has been hurt and scarred, but it also been loved more than it’s deserved and sometimes even desired. “ She loved Christ. She loved being HIS child. She was somehow never judgmental of others and yet, unwavering in her choice to glorify Him in all things. She let her light shine that others might see her good works and glorify God. She invested in others. She listened and loved enough to ask the tough questions. She had the courage to say words that might be hard to hear coupled with the warmth to speak those words in love. She was truly beautiful….. she was pretty enough, smart enough, and witty enough that one might just be totally intimidated if she weren’t also truly beautiful in the way that radiates warmth and acceptance.

I am among the many who are better for knowing Tava. To steal a line from Wicked (we really should have written that!) “Because I knew (her), I have been changed for good.” Tava was a mentor who encouraged blatant honesty and courage to face truths. She was a friend who laughed at life even when she had to look hard to find the humor. She was a counselor who guided me to insights about myself then helped me to discover who God intended for me to be and encouraged me to grow. She came to my performances to spur me on. She cheered my successes. She saw my insecurities and didn’t shrink away.

In these kinds of speeches, it’s become somehow customary to say, “So-n-so was the kind of person who…” But Tava was not any “kind of person.” She was her own. Unique. One-of-a-kind. She was a dreamer. She was a “live life to the fullest, not afraid to get messy, stand in the gap, keep truckin’ through the valley, shout from the mountain top, let the wind blow through your hair, grasp every ounce of life” kind of dreamer. She was a wonderfully talented writer who didn’t bury the talent she was given but became the faithful servant who invested it, multiplied it, and allowed God to use it to draw others to Him.

Tava lived a life that is an example to all of us. An example of how to make the most out of every day, how to appreciate and enjoy the miracle of each and every day we are given. She knew that her life was blessed. She once wrote, “But above all, I’m lucky to know that the great fortunes of my life have not been dependent upon a charm, a clover or a horseshoe, but instead a Creator whose warm showers of love and grace cover even undeserving me. I’m lucky to know that my dumb luck isn’t luck at all…”

Tava knew she had a wonderful life. And she knew that it wasn’t chance but a wonderful blessing from God above. He offered her life abundant. She grasped it.

Finally, to those who will take care of her remains, I say this: Don’t put her in a box-she’d hate that. Okay, maybe it’s just us that would hate it since from our perspective she could never be put in a box- as for Tava, I doubt she really cares what happens to this earthly vessel as she is finally tasting the absolute freedom she always pursued.

*Whether you're 5 and a half or more, take some time out of your day to tell someone what's on your mind........ and your heart. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

meant for the taking

So you know that you've neglected your blog when you go and in an attempt to pay it a visit, you find it covered in dust, sitting on the floor crying and you can't for the life of you remember its password. (Note to self: the password to your blog is your birthday.) And that's just s.a.d. for me and my few loyal readers who faithfully come for a visit hoping for a reflection of some kind (Tennille) or perhaps a reason why I haven't called....

Well, the truth is I've been very busy..... I recently returned from a 6,500 mile, 4 month road trip... yes, you read that correctly.... filled with, as you can imagine, lots and lots of blogworthy material. However, I've come to realize that dedicating this blog to my reflections, well, takes time....time to reflect. So it really isn't fair if I just share events... I have to reflect. Believe me, better stuff comes after my mind stews on things for a while. Blogs off the top of my head would be mostly top ten lists, comments on the pain of Brazilian Waxes (those Brazilian woman must have incredibly high pain tolerances), and what are the lyrics to Outfield's "Lose Your Love"? What's with that song, and what the heck does it mean?

I wanna tell you about a woman that I met, Judy Cage... and I want to tell you about how much I *heart* Atlanta.... and about the giant Sequoia tree we drove through in the Redwood Forest... and why you don't want to spill pickle juice in an RV..... and the birthday party I went to.... and Glass Beach... and how Yosemite was crazy beautiful, but frankly, I've seen better...with better parking.... and how taking a 6,500 mile road trip with your husband and two small children is both a good idea and a bad idea....much like the automatic flushing toilets... great idea, until it flushes prematurely, or the disinfecting wipes at the grocery stores right by the icky carts....well, I can't think why those are a bad idea, but teaching your two little girls how to talk... that's a good idea and a bad idea...they don't stop talking and they don't. stop. talking.

But lately what I've been reflecting on are some various words of wisdom I've heard over the past few months. Somewhere between here and Atlanta, or here and California, or here and somewhere we were all walking and Orion, running as fast as she can to catch up asks her Daddy, "Can I please be the leader?" To which he responds in what might be called an "ah ha!" moment for yours truly, replies, "Orion, you don't ask for the lead...you take it." That is absolutely right I thought at the time and have not been able to stop thinking about it since. I've been contemplating what other things in life are meant to be asked for and what are meant to be taken. What do I ask for? What do I take?

Hope. I take hope. Hope is something that is always right there in front of us, not taunting us just out of reach, but rather a helping hand...a life preserver... always there, reaching out, ready to be grasped..... always there to take. Hope is there at the end of a heartbreak and at the beginning of a marriage, it waits for you when you find out that you're sick and it's there when you've lost a job or found a new friend or when you suffer from chronic pain or when you are trying a new Thai dish. It stays right beside you when you start a diet or a journey or relationship or when you're at the end of your rope. It makes no difference to hope if you are standing in a place where opportunities abound, or if you have nothing left to lose. All you have to do is take it.... and it will be yours. Hope has come with me to every ultrasound and surgery and job interview and craps table and Macy's sale. I find that in my darkest of times, hope is what has shone the brightest... sometimes, it's the only light around.

Hope is wonderful... and I take it often without hesitation...because it is always there and it never disappoints. Hope truly does spring eternal, even when all things around it are parched and shriveled. But I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that my hope is firmly attached to a rock... the Rock. And without that firm foundation, hope would be nothing.

My hope is built on nothing less,
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
on Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

So my dears....hope. If you're in need of some...don't hesitate. Take it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

exactly like me

You know those mirrors that magnify your reflection x10 or x50 and have a light all the way around them that are fastened to the wall on those movable, extendable arm thingies? I've seen them at places like IKEA, Restoration Hardware and even Target, I think.... yeah, I've never liked those. Not one bit. The way I see it, if you have to have it enlarged x10 and shine an obnoxious fluorescent light on it, well it's probably best left unseen or ignored. Picture yourself in a full-length one of those and hold that thought... we'll get back here in a minute....

My little 5-year-old asked if she could wear my perfume the other morning. I said, "Of course Baby, just please don't spill it." And then she proceeded to apply it to her neck and wrists ever-so-carefully in the exact manner as I do it.... and then she spilled it. All over. And I yelled at her. And an enormous tear immediately filled each of her big brown eyes and she climbed down off of her hippo step stool and slowly walked away deflated. Totally shattered. By me. And I felt horrible. I immediately stopped her, sat on the bathtub and took her by the shoulders and said, "Oh M., I'm sorry for yelling at you... but what's wrong, why are you so sad?"

"Because Mama, I just want to be exactly like you and I keep getting it all wrong."

And suddenly, there before me was a gigantic magnifying mirror (x50) encircled with the brightest, most unflattering light.... exposing every single flaw from the top of my perpetually 80s hair to the bottoms of my flat feet. There is nothing in the world that has ever made me feel so unworthy, stained and imperfect than when my precious little girl said those words.

And as I looked into her teary eyes through my own teary eyes...I saw me. Then. And a thousand things went through my mind, things I wanted her to know and believe and realize.... I wanted to tell her that I could think of a dozen people off of the top of my head that I'd rather her be exactly like. I wanted to tell her not to be just like me, but so much more. Better. Smarter. Stronger. Kinder. Wiser. And the list just goes on and on. I wanted to grab her and explain all of my mistakes so that she may avoid them.... show her all of my mental, physical and spiritual scars so that she wouldn't have identical wounds one day. I wanted so desperately to point out all of the detours, potholes and traps that I've found along the way so that she would be prepared. I wanted to face her toward the magnifying mirror so that she could see me the way I see myself and all of my imperfections. And perhaps then, she wouldn't want to be exactly like me.

But the fact is, although she is an old soul (the depth in her eyes dates back long before me), she is only 5. And anything I wanted to pass on to her was just too much. Too deep. Too heavy. Too far beyond 5. So when she's a little older and if she still wants to be exactly like me, I'll tell her this....

Lovey, be like me...the good bits. But be better. Get there faster. Don't take the same wrong turns. Don't let your heart make too many of your decisions. Live in the big picture, but appreciate the smallest of details. Be a good listener. Cheer for the underdog. Don't be so hard on yourself. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Wear bright lipstick, sing in the shower, and stick your face out of the car when you're driving. Eat spicy food. Dance whenever you want, however you want. Look up at the stars (and the puffy clouds). Learn to make good decisions. Remember that you teach people how to treat you. Give and accept compliments. Do your best at everything you try and try lots and lots of different things. Live just outside of your comfort zone... but visit your comfort zone from time to time. Be a good friend and a gracious lady. Go explore and discover and know that you can always come home to me to recharge and refresh and to plan your next adventure. Ponder, reflect and think....about who you are and who you want to become. Know that who you are is a direct reflection of Whose you are. And know that you are His. Don't need things. Set all of the earthly desires aside and invest in the things that will outlast this life. And my darling little girl, remember that all of the things in this life that were lost on me can be found in Him and reflected through you. Find those things and be exactly like no one but you. (You'll be enough like me, you already are.) And don't ever buy one of those magnifying mirrors. If it needs to be enlarged and lit up that much... you don't need to see it.

And then we played in my perfume.... all of it... sprayed and spilled and sampled and ran it through our hair... and smelled like French whores for the rest of the day......................

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

MAJOR Bling...and ground floor investments

This is Major Bling....

And as of yesterday, this is Major Bling...

When I met him, I thought he looked really clean, really young and somewhat like Tom Cruise (little did I know, he got that A LOT...the clean, young and the Tom Cruise part) and I also wondered if he was capable of growing facial hair. I've been with him through his commissioning, the pinning on of his pilot wings, his butter bars, First Lt, Capt, and now Major. I've been there for his undergrad from the University of Arizona, his Masters from Mississippi State and through countless checkrides, upgrades, acronyms, roll calls and full chem gear exercises. I've moved nine times in ten years with him and watched him all along the way...continually growing and maturing as a man, a leader, a believer, a daddy and husband. And there has never been a time when he hasn't given me full credit and thanks for being with him through it all...that he could not have done it without me. He honestly believes that to be true. But the real truth is, he is one of the most honest, capable, tenacious, admirable and driven people I know. He totally could have done this by himself... but if you tell him I said that, I swear I'll deny it. To look back on all of this, all that he has become and to have been so purposely included and continually be an active part in the planning and successes, (and possibly failures) I have no doubt that this is the best ground floor investment that I have ever been given the opportunity to make. So thanks Bling....for that priceless investment opportunity and for always wanting me right beside you... where ever that may be.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

357: Fenced in...revisited

Ok-I thought that a photo a day was a lofty goal....but apparently it is an unachievable goal and the attempt at a photo every week to ten days would be a much better goal. Honestly. I don't how people do it.... maybe I'll just take a picture of the mound of laundry that remains a mound no matter how many loads I do and just post that every third day or so.... that really would be the most accurate representation of my life... nah, not really.

But on to today's photo. If you read my blog regularly, you'll remember "Fenced in..." it's about sparkly lip gloss and my commitment issues....mostly the latter. After actually typing out all of those things that make me feel fenced in, I realized how many there were.... actually, it was the fact that hours after I posted, my mind was going crazy thinking of all of the others that I had forgotten to add and that most of the ones you added also made me feel fenced in (Thanks a lot for that.) Then I thought that if I added to the list, I'd look even more crazy...so I left them off and decided to really look my commitment issues squarely in the eye and see which of us would blink first. It turns out that I blinked first, but in my defense I have very dry eyes.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present my first attempt at breaking down my fence (or my defense if I'm going to be honest)... I got Isabelle some new digs! Izzy B., as I've come to call her, is happy and thriving in my care and even comes to the surface to greet me... Jay says I can't prove this, but I know in my heart that this is what she is doing. But most of all, she's still alive...

So take that. (That was said to no one in particular... I just thought it should be said.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

362: Friendship

I've been having girl drama caused by insecurity (mine mostly) this past week. Jay says that I'm a "dude chick" because I don't get caught up in what he thinks "typical women" get caught up in and I take that as a huge compliment. But I got wound up and started spinning out of control and thought that I lost a friend. And I was devastated. So devastated in fact, that I realized where some of my commitment issues stem from. If you don't invest, you don't get hurt.

I've had this card for years and years...around 20 years, if I'm recalling correctly, and I look at it more often than you can imagine...as a reminder I guess.

As life has carried on, I've added a few to this list, of what real friends are or do or allow...things like, don't get mad at you for drunk dialing them in the middle of the night, they tell you if you have something in your teeth, tell you truth in love when you're wrong, listen as you trail on and on about the same thing in your past that you can't shake, make you food when you're pregnant, and they don't dump you the minute someone tells them to, you know, stuff like that. They love you no-matter-what, even when you're spinning out of control in a whirlwind of insecurity. And the friend that I thought I had lost is all of these things and more.... And I'm so thankful.

Let me be deserving of friends like this and let me strive to BE a friend like this.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

363: My other car isn't a minivan...

So this is my other car....a Polaris RZR. The girls and I go everywhere in it (and the dog sometimes) and we all love it, love it, LOVE IT! The wind and sun all around like the freedom of a motorcycle, but the girls get to enjoy it too. And we took it to Sedona a couple of weekends back.... whoever coined the statement, "There's no place like home," MUST live there and drive one of these...

Hotty husband and sweet little daughters sold separately...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

39 and counting...down. (364)

Alright, lots to discuss... But not now... too tired... out of control with the (...) and this could easily turn into rants and ravings that would make little sense to you and less sense to me when I go back to read this in the morning. I turned 39. Just like that. No fireworks. No parade. No Mariachi band. I'll get more into the birthday recap later, but I wanted to get started on my 365 in pictures. My friend Kristen did this last year and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at her year in pictures as it progressed every day, and since this is the last year of my 30s maybe this will hold me accountable to making it a memorable one.

So to start off, here are a few...

First of all, you wanna get completely overlooked and pretty much shafted on your birthday? Try sharing it with this little princess (who just turned 5)...

She's an attention hog to say the least...reminds me of someone I know... However, let it be a testament to how much I love her that I spent 3 *hours* in Chuck E. Cheese which is easily one of my top 5 least favorite places on earth. This one had freshly shampooed carpets with the cleaning agent a definite and unfortunate mixture of panther urine, sweaty socks and burning hair... ugh. She had a ball... and that's what's important, right? Well that, current vaccinations and anti-bacterial wipes.....

When I think back on my 39th birthday, I will happily recall FLOWERS!!! And coconut cake... and gourmet cupcakes! I haven't had this many flowers in my house since my brush with death back in 2005. (Thank you to all of you who sent me flowers in 2005 to show they were happy that I didn't die...meant a lot.) I don't recall enjoying flowers more than this birthday!

And then there's my favorite little 5-year-old who woke up this morning, climbed in bed with me and told me that since she was now 5, she would very much like to make my bed for me and wear my jewelry. And throughout the day requested that we sing, "Happy Birthday" to her just to practice for later on with the cake.

So here I am... midnight on the first day of my 39th year. Over tired. Over sugared. Over birthdayed. Over Chuck E. Cheesed. But thankful. Always thankful. And excited to see what 39 brings. Happy Birthday to me. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The most thankless gift...

I'm a mom. It's been almost five years now since I've become a mom...and yet, when I type it or say it, it still sounds foreign somehow. I decided to wait until I was a little older to have kids so that I would (theoretically) be wiser and more patient and more mature, but considering I'm five years into this, and I still like video games, sparkly lip gloss, have licorice for dinner sometimes and don't have the patience to let my finger nails dry, I'm not sure that waiting was the best strategy. But somehow I manage...

My Mama and I welcoming M. Rhapsody into the world.

Sometimes, "managing" means being awake, alert and completely sober for the entire day. Other times it means spending all day at home playing dress-up and dividing my acting skills between the roles of Prince, Patrice the store-keeper, Ursula the sea witch and a variety of other characters that really do challenge my improvisational talents. Other times, it means getting dirty and sticky outside, chasing critters, sampling various desert flora and fauna, singing in the rain or searching to find the end of a rainbow. And sometimes, "managing" is me acting as a chauffeur, referee and EMT to two small (yet surprisingly strong and fierce) people who cannot seem to understand the concepts of sharing and not using the other as a chew toy or punching bag. (In a scuffle, my money's on the little one though...is that wrong to say? Well, wrong or right, if you're smart, that's where your money should go too.)

M. was so much easier to mother than to grow.

Being a mom is amazing. And tiring. And overwhelming. And joyous. And frustrating. And challenging. And trying. And unbelievable. And so so much more. I teach and learn, listen and play and discipline and encourage. I shout and sing and spank and tickle and repeat, repeat, repeat...REPEAT...until I don't think I can repeat again....and then I repeat. I wonder how I'm doing. A lot. I read about how to be a good mom. I ask the good moms that I know what they do. I pray and look for the answers in the Bible. I look into each of my little girls brown eyes for as long as they'll let me, searching for the questions that will come...today, tomorrow... in a decade, in some futile attempt to prepare myself. I know in ways I succeed and I know in ways I fail miserably. But my highest hope is that I can somehow do for my little ladies what the mom of one of my most treasured besties did for her... "she painted the landscape of my life with wide brush strokes of faith, grace, hope and love." And if I don't or can't, well, that's why I'm already saving up for their therapy....

Little Orion Jai, born in South Korea but due on American Independence Day...the happiest baby I've met.

There are so many things about being a mother that I don't know. And so many I'll never know. But here are a few things about being a mother I know for sure. Being a mom means putting your selfishness and your own needs away...being ready for everything you're ready for and everything you're not...giving your love, your patience, all of your best stuff and your pocket money... sacrificing time for your husband, your friends and often times a shower in order to cater to your child's wants, needs and demands. I love my little lady bugs so very much. And I consider motherhood a gift. These girls have opened my eyes, my mind and my heart to so many new and exciting things. But there are times.... many times, that my job as their mom is very, very thankless. But believe me when I say, that I've never received a more thankless gift that I am more thankful for.

Orion and I


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Say Whats? and Sweet Nothings.

Ok- so, I should have started this up a LONG TIME ago because... well, because kids (and husbands) say the darndest things... so for the kids, it'll be

Say What? (Or say "wuuuuuut" if you're my friend Kristen.)

Mom. I wanna be just like you when I grow up.
Oh, well that's sweet M. if you were just like me what would you do?
I would laugh all the time and drink Diet Coke.

Hmmm, well, I wouldn't say that I do either one of those ALL of the time, nor would I say for certain that the two of those aren't mutually exclusive...

*I startled the girls the other day in the car.... (not by my road-rage or my driving...geez people, take the white wigs off for cryin' out loud).

Oh Mom. You just scared me to death!
Well, you scared me to TEXAS!

Death.... Texas.... eh, Tomato. Tomaahto if you ask me....

*M. and Orion are sitting down to a grilled cheese sandwich and M. inquires...

Mom. ("Mom." is always a sentence to her. Mom *stop* begin statement, request, demand...) Can boys eat "girl cheese sandwiches" too?

*M. has a crush on "The Rock" or Wayne Johnson, Dwayne Johnson....whatever. I'm actually too lazy to switch tabs and find out... I think I've given adequate clues anyway.... So, we're watching The Tooth Fairy, a movie in which he stars. (It's pretty cute and suitable for children FYI.)

Mom. *stop* He is sooooo handsome.... too bad you already have a prince. (That's what she calls Jay...or any one's husband for that matter.) If you didn't have a prince already, you could kiss him. Well, Mom. He doesn't have a princess, so actually even though you have a prince you could kiss him.
And that my dear sweet girl, is what we call a loophole. Good eye....good eye.....

I don't want to bore you and make you read a billion things my kids say, so I'll put these out a few at a time. I think they are hilarious and that my kids are adorable, but I also realize that you have better things to do with your time.... so, since you're gonna be like that, I'll just move on to the next part.

The next segment is what I refer to as "Sweet Nothings." I am a words person, the person with whom I've chosen to spend the next 40 years with however....is not. This one little differential makes for some very notable...

Sweet Nothings:

When we were dating.... He takes a $20 out of his pocket and says, "I have 20 bucks and I'm not afraid to spend the whole thing on you..."

When I asked him if he still liked to kiss me after 10 years... "If I didn't like to kiss you, I wouldn't do it... You should know me well enough to know that by now."

"Women are such suck-ups...they always go overboard with their compliments to you.... You're beautiful Tava, but you don't look 28."

"I don't know why I have to say, 'I love you,' all the time.... I meant it the very first time I told you and nothing's changed."

When I offered him a magazine to read while waiting or to just visit... "No thanks, I'd like to just be left alone with my thoughts."

"How much longer do I have to pretend to be interested in this conversation before we can have sex?"

After seeing WICKED, when I asked what he thought.... "Well Tava, you know me. I'm a man of few words, who likes to get to the point... so more than someone jabbering on and on... there are a bunch of people singing on and on and on... Let's just say I was ready for them to just get to the point." (And that's 100 bucks I'll never get back... And this is after he gathered his things to leave at intermission because he thought it was over.... thank the good Lord that to my left was my sweet, kindred spirit words girl, Tennille, who teared up with me during Defying Gravity and leaned over and whispered... "You and me, we're gonna write something great one day.")

And those are just a few of the sweet little things he says, that at just the right times....make me fall in love with him all. over. again.

So...I know you must have some too... any Say Whats? or Sweet Nothings. you'd like to share with the class?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Devil with a blue shirt on...

So I'm very, very angry. Furious really. And I've been furious for about a week now and I just can't shake it. Let me first say for the record, I don't get angry very often...hardly at all really (except for a tiny issue with road rage, and the 4am barker next door, but we'll save those for another time)... And even more seldom do I get angry with anyone other than myself. Do you ever just grate on your own nerves?? Anyway, I'm seething even as I type this and I've been trying to deal with this anger using my usually effective "anger-management repertoire," thus far without even the slightest bit of success.... Let's see... breathing in the bag, sewing, treadmill, calling a friend, various gourmet cheeses, (laugh it up, it usually works...especially a brie/cranberry combo) praying, long drive... still pissed off. Seriously... mad. Like the deep sighs, stomping around, spitting, "How could you?" through clenched teeth kind of mad. (So unlike me, really. If I had a tail, it would be wagging...constantly.) So I brought out the big guns...I watched a scary movie...and then another one. And after that I was slightly less pissed. Slightly. More like distracted.... and right now I'll take distracted. Both movies had "the devil" in them.... I saw the devil and I laughed... funny. And then I reflected (the last item left in my anger-management repertoire)......

The Bible (Ezekiel 28:17) says of the Devil, "Your heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor..." And then there's John 10:10, "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy..." So I got to thinking.... if the Devil (who knows beauty) has the ability to take any form he wishes, would he really be roaming around in dry ice (Korn blaring in the background) seeking whom he may devour lookin' like this?? Pffft. This guy couldn't even tempt me to under tip.

Nah. He would be fiiiiiine. And charming. And funny. Then I thought some more.... if the question is who could get me to get up off my knees and lock up my prayer closet door, throw my Bible in my panty drawer, slip into the silky comfort of some deadly sins, cross off the 10 Commandments like a to-do list, and dive bangs first into the lake of fire... well, it's this devil...

That's my devil...with the blue shirt blue shirt on. (In addition to grating on my own nerves, I also totally get my humor...) But it's more than that. If that was all it was, it would be way. too. easy. He would have

<------------these eyes

and smell like this ---------->

Cool Water is also known as: Liquid Yes and Kryptonite. I had another name for it which has now escaped me... Oh shut it, Christi and Katie... I know you two remember. My devil would be funny like Brian Regan and charming like Adam Sandler (Yes, I believe Mr. Sandler is charming....this is my devil, not yours) and always have these babies on hand...
He would be delicious and delightful and a good listener... and most likely play the cello. I know this is pretty specific, but what can I say? I have a type. And frankly, that's the way the devil rolls. Really the only thing I can't pin down is his voice... his singing voice, that is. His speaking voice would probably have an accent of some kind, but just a hint...not like Cockney Rhyming Slang from Yorkshire...but honestly if he had all of this other stuff, I don't think he'd need to talk at all... I'd be hand in hand with him (chocolate covered strawberry in the other) skipping down the road (and not the one less traveled). His singing voice would be either that guy from Nickleback (his voice makes clothes turn to liquid before he even gets to the chorus). I'm just sayin'. Either that guy or possibly the guy from 3 Doors Down... I dunno. I do know he wouldn't sound like John Mayer or Josh Groban...too dreamy or something.....and not like Prince. Definitely not like Prince.

So this helped......thanks for listening. Reflecting on the devil somehow took my mind off of the anger. Who knew? But now it's back. I'm still really angry. Really angry. In fact, I can't even recall the last time I was this angry at a person. However, as I sit here reflecting on my devil, (who is not. too. shabby.) I'm also reflecting on my Instruction Manuel. And it says, "Be angry yet sin not, lest the sun go down on your wrath. It also says, "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice." (Eph 4:26&31) It's alright to be angry. I should have been angry about this long, long ago. And perhaps if I had let myself be angry earlier, (much earlier) I WOULD NOT have been this furious and WOULD HAVE already "put this away" from me. So, I'm going to be angry for awhile. Spitting mad. Pissed off. And then I'm going to get to puttin' this away.... for good. I'm going to put it away from me... and one day I'll forgive (not today, and tomorrow isn't looking likely either) like the One who came to give me life and that more abundantly has forgiven me. (John 10:10 & Matt 6:14)

So...what's your devil wearin'?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fenced in...

So, it's been awhile. Sorry about that. I've been reflecting....a lot, in fact. All I can offer as an excuse is that I took two Tylenol PM after midnight several weeks ago and I'm only slightly exaggerating when I tell you that I woke up face down on the bathroom floor three days later wearing a clown nose with Veggietales blaring in the far reaches of my consciousness. And I just haven't been the same since.... kinda in a walking Dyphenhydramine daze....

Thursday night I got my haircut...a lot....and layered....and straightened. That's not the story here though. A tangent really... but, I'm gonna run with it for a sec... as David was covering his salon floor with wisps and chunks of my mane, he kept staring at my lips. And I mean staring...which of course was making me very self-conscious. Very. Self-conscious. Anyway, just as I was about to ask if I had broccoli hanging out, or maybe if it was time for an upper lip wax, he said (in a very even tone), "Sorry I've been staring at your lips...it's just that they are SO SPARKLY." Hmmm, sparkly anything is usually a compliment in my book, but in a quick flash I recalled M. asking if she could put lipgloss on me before I walked out of the house. So, I let her and of course she chose the most pink, the most sparkly, the most glossy Dora lip gloss in all the world... (can't say that I fault her for this). He bends down in front of me and says, "I'm pretty sure there is actual glitter in there." Yes, there was. And yes, as long as I have little girls to blame it on, I just may wear it again....

As much as I could go on about lipgloss, the real story here is what I came home to after the great hair massacre. I walked in the kitchen and there were two fish. In a bowl. Swimming around. Alive. And my palms started sweating. And my breath shallowed. And I felt a little woozy and nauseous... and for me, all of these familiar symptoms point to two words... commitment issues. (Well...and pregnancy...but for this reflection, they pointed to commitment issues...)

Apparently, Lily Pad and Isabelle (Yes, my girls had already given them names) had been given to us at some military family appreciation night... which is really great, but why does everything given by the military involve some kind of commitment....sheesh. You have access to my husband 24/7, 365, I've moved 9 times in the past 10 years and I've have to say good-bye to good friends every new PCS cycle. So really... something alive? That I am supposed to keep alive? Ay caramba. As you can imagine, this "situation" had little to do with these two fish and a lot to do with my commitment issues. So, after I took a little break from the fish and breathed into a paper bag for several minutes, I reflected. 'Cause that's what I do when I'm being neurotic.

Ok Tava... (I usually only call myself by my first name if I'm acting ridiculous... or if I get too sarcastic... or if I just really need to get my point across, but it is nice to know that we're on a first name basis...) What gives? You've been married 10 years, you have two kids, a dog, a house, two magazine subscriptions, you buy in bulk and you're freaking out about having to commit to two goldfish? This isn't normal. To which I responded, "I never claimed to be normal... and I think I've really come a long way from where I started...so just. back. off."

I quickly took a mental inventory of the things that once made me feel "fenced in." Alright let's see... relationships, memberships, journals, leases, watches and bracelets, sleeping on the same side of the bed every night, car payments, tattoos, checking out library books, RSVPs, address labels, the neckline on t-shirts, plans more than 3 days in advance, buying items in bulk, bumper stickers, seat belts, putting my name on a waiting list, potted plants, owning things that are alive, lay-a-way, enrolling in something, speed limits, watching a show on TV regularly, any type of subscription and the list just goes on and on from there.... Do these sound ridiculous to you? I can assure you that I have a valid reason for each and every one.... You see how bad my problem is?? I even feel fenced in by ending punctuation... which is evident by all of the ellipses that I use when I write... What the heck? I have managed to shave a few of them off of my list (mostly by convincing myself that they are really Jay's commitments).... but I'm a little embarrassed to admit that many still remain...

Well, as much as I'd love to introduce you to Lily Pad, I'm afraid after less than 24 hours in my care, Isabelle is the only one that hasn't been flushed... Sorry Lily P, rest in peace.... and Dear Air Force, how about some stickers and a little thing of bubbles for the kids next time...

So my Dears, please tell me... what makes you feel "fenced in"?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Record Highs and Sunny Skies

Well, don't I feel sheepish. I mean really. I had my blog all Christmas-y way after the holidays... and you can probably guess in light of that fact, that I have no trouble wearing white shoes well after Labor Day and I still have an occasional shoulder pad in my closet. I'm a rebel, what can I say?

The last few months have been very full. And I really must catch up. But the truth is that I've been spending a lot of time outside. It's been warmer here in Arizona than usual, in fact, there have been days of record highs... lots and lots of record highs. And somehow my life has been following the lead of these sun-drenched days...

In fact, my days have been so filled with sunshine and blue skies, it's almost one of those things you don't want to say out loud for fear of jinxing it.... sort of like when I'm on the phone and tell the person with whom I'm speaking, "Wow, the girls are playing so well and so quietly... we just may get to have a decent conversation." You should NEVER say things like that out loud...

So for fear of making a rookie mistake, I will say aloud for all the (cyber) world to hear (read)... My life is good. Exceptional really. Everything is just flowing along so well, it seems almost too easy. M. and Orion haven't been sick for as long as I can remember. They are growing and flourishing. Marriage is solid. Mentally, physically and spiritually I feel great. Family is good. Love my in-laws. Even my homemade soups haven't been better. So what? What does a girl do when everything around her is in a record high phase??? Well upon reflection, (because that's what I do here) I've realized that it is during record highs and sunny skies that you have the ability to see well beyond what you are normally able to see. And what I've been seeing lately are record lows and cloudy times... of others.

And with this ability to see beyond my record highs, my prayers include not only thankfulness for my own blessings but also requests for some sunshine for others.... for twins, for triplets, for moms with breast cancer and dads with skin cancer, for unsaved children and people who are searching... for themselves and the truth. I'm praying for rest and renewal for one and hope and salvation for a few. I'm praying for the healing of broken legs and broken hearts and broken nations. I'm praying for some with depression and some without jobs. I'm praying for wisdom and grace and chances to share the sunshine that I have been given with those who are sitting in the darkness. And it is my privilege and honor to do so, because I know that I am walking in record highs right now, because others were on their knees for me all throughout my record lows.