Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Singing With Elmo

What is it about children that make us come out of our norms? I know it's un-American of me but I've never been a huge fan of Sesame Street. On another topic, I love to sing but it's a stretch and a mile to get me to sing in front of anyone else. Then enters Valentina...

Valentina had the ability to break down inhibitions with her big brown eyes and had me loudly singing the ABC's with Elmo, in public. Even in my striving to "reclaim my childhood" I still find myself often acting like a stuck-up adult, too cool for the simple pleasures of life. Is it though that I'm too cool or that I'm too uncomfortable? I went to order a happy meal the other day and chicken out. Really? Really? Who's going to judge me at that point? The drive through attendant? I am really worried about impressing someone I'll never see again? No. My hesitation in singing with Elmo and a child in the middle of a crowded coffee shop is not from the fear that I was be deducted popularity points. It's instead again that I'll be reminded of what I missed; what I could have had.

Even though Valentina's curls were endearing and her big smile would leave no other's face brightened but it wasn't truly this sweet child that got me singing. It was the realization of the woe-is-me attitude in that moment. I'm sure there's more too it but the thought was enough to tell myself, "Get over it you wimp! Enjoy a child's company and reclaim your own." Satan uses several lies in our lives and it's something I talk about often.

The lie in this moment was this: You didn't sing Elmo in public as a kid and so it'll be too painful to do it now.

How ridiculous is that?! It's amazing what dumb things we allow ourselves to easily believe! Pointing a finger back at myself I say, "Shame on me." I could have missed the opportunity to make that little girl and her family smile. (She's apparently normally shy.) I would have missed the opportunity to have her little self curl up and lay her head on my chest to sleep. I would have missed the love I felt in that moment all because I was being a wimp.

I'll never know why Valentina took to me so rapidly and strongly but I'll be thankful for the lessons she taught me. What a beautiful little girl. Thank You Lord for this little angel you sent me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coming Soon!

New blog entry coming soon: Singing With Elmo!

Monday, October 19, 2009

My First Christmas (Retro)

"Jingle, jingle jingle
You will hear my sleigh bells ring
I am old Kris Kringle

I'm the King of Jingling"

"Hannah, you are so weird." I mused, shaking my head.
"You and your made up songs!"
She stared at blankly, trying to deduct if I was truly clueless or merely trying to give her a hard time. "It's not made up!" Laughing she continued, "it's from Rudolph."
"That's not the Rudolph song. That song I do know... 'had a very shinny nose'??"
"It's from the movie Rudolph. You know, the cartoon one they always play at Christmas."
It now was my turn to stare blankly. "There's a movie?"
"Oh dear." Hannah laughed and comic exasperation she declared my attendance to her house for Christmas cookies and movies. (Apparently I'd also missed seeing Elf as well and that was just completely unacceptable!)

I joined Hannah and her husband Nick for my first real family Christmas celebration. The cliche of the holiday was wonderful and I feel as if I'm writing a cheesy children's book as I describe it with laughter and scents of cinnamon. But that's how I remember it. A fairly tell dream of sugar plum fairies wouldn't have come any closer to my reality of that day.
I know it wasn't a literal Utopia in all actuality but I don't care. I felt so spoiled and so overwhelmed.

Nick and I got into a dough fight while making "monkey bread." Hannah's mom wanted so badly to make these specific cookies for us and she was determined not to give up. I got a silly electronic Sudoku game in the gift exchange. It became my night time saving grace when I moved away a year later. The dog was playing with a toy that went flying through the air and into the kitchen making everyone fall to laughter... Oh, and I got my very own stocking. (You may take the liberty to add a childish grin to my face at this point.)

On the same hand, this was such a difficult day. I remember sneaking away several times just to steal a moment alone. My emotional senses were overloaded and I wasn't sure what to do. Sometimes I'd find an empty room and just sit a moment to breath deeply. Other times I'd let a few tears fall and have to talk myself from running straight out of the house. It was too perfect, too good, too happy and to me that meant the guarantee that something was about to go terribly wrong. The Lord talked me down each time however, almost as if to say, "This is my birthday party remember? Stay a little while longer. I love you and I want you here. Please stay. You can trust Me that it'll end well."

If you believe in Christmas miracles, this family was mine. It's amazing how you can feel so out of place and so at home at the same time. It was a good first Christmas. Clarice the Doe, the Island of Misfit Toys and the actions of a loving family all seem to make a little more sense to me now. Ahh, the lessons of life that can be sparked by a cartoon song...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kid's Craft Corner

I actually did do my share of kid's crafts as a child. The difference here is that I did these projects out of pure enjoyment and didn't worry an ounce about how thy actually ended up looking. As a child I'd work as a perfectionist on any sort of art I was attempting. If it didn't meet my "high" standards it was likely that no one would see it at all. Creating isn't about the final product it's about the process and sometimes that's the most important part. It's what emotions are involved. Whether you're cooking, or photographing, or playing music, building a woodcraft, planting a flower or working out a relationship, what emotion goes into it?
Feelings of self-worth?
I picked up these silly kids projects at local craft store to force myself to look at the process and not the final product. Sometimes we need a catalyst to realize or express true emotion and I believe thats an OK place to be sometimes. So, I struggle with presenting to you my imperfect "art" without disclaimer but here it is any way... :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

NEW Reclaiming Childhood blog entry

NEW Reclaiming Childhood blog entry coming soon: Kid's Craft Corner

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My First New Year (Retro)

OK, so maybe it wasn't my first New Years...

In retro fashion, I'm looking back to a few "reclaiming childhood" moments that happened within the past couple of years. Each is centered on a specific holiday.

I used to joke about the curse that typically accompanied my celebration of the New Year holiday. People enjoy laughter, fireworks, and friends around this time of year. They reflect on the past triumphs and lows of their previous 365 days. They scribble down sworn agendas on how they are going to be a better person in an ornate journal that's later to be lost to the land where only dust bunnies dwell. It's a good practice to have-- reflection and projection and then celebration of the two. I've participated in this as any normal person has... it just seemed that I had my share of error on this day as well. It was almost as if the universe thought, "Oh darn. I didn't pack enough bad things into that past year so I better hurry up and meet my quota before the calendar rolls around." Ha! The comedy and tragedy was filled with everything from flash floods to cops, missing children to unintended explosions, homelessness to paranoia. I never dreaded the approach of a new year, only the end of the current one. Moreover, I commonly wanted a family to celebrate the holiday with and one that was free from hurt and drama and callousness.

As a young adult and well after I'd written off the familial dream of grandeur, I took up a second job in a local cafe. One particular evening shift was a little slow but I'd seen a few friendly faces walk in. Two of which were my friends Nick and Hannah. Nick and Hannah were an infectiously sweet couple I had truly grown to appreciate in the shorter time I'd known them. We chatter a bit about my newest side job as I took their order. I'll omitt the next details for the sake of shortening the story but the simple circumstance that arose was a bit of a defining moment for me. Nick and Hannah offered for me to join them on a vacation over New Year's. I immediately resisted.

I didn't like gifts. I don't like gifts. To me, this was a gift. My first instinct was joy. How wonderful would it be to spend a holiday away with this family? I didn't dare say yes though. I could feel myself drawing closer in friendship with this people and in my life close relationships always resulted in much pain. I didn't dare go down that road again. Strangely, after a little persistance I agreed. (I'm sure this was in part due to my propondency to please people.)

It was a quick trip to a seemingly alternate universe. I was able to relax. Now when I say relax, I don't mean that it was just nice to be away from town and my job. I mean instead that I was able to relax into my own skin. I was able to truly feel a loving, appropriate affection and return it. These were concepts I'd sadly not grown up with and appreciated all the more at this moment. We ate, we laughed, we played. I shopped with Hannah and watched sports with Nick. I fell asleep each night in tears merely thankful to be a part of something. (Not that I understood what that something actually was, but I was effortlessly grateful all the same.)

New Years came with apprehension. I don't know what I was dreading. I suppose that maybe the horrid curse was going to follow me and ruin Nick and Hannah's holiday as well? As the master ignorer I am however I blocked the fear out of my mind and tried to just enjoy each moment. We'd bought some small fireworks from a local store and struggled to light them in the wind. I selfishly had a feeling that could have cared less about the flaming balls of light but they were humoring me. In reality, I just loved the fellowship of the moment. That evening passed without episode. I remember drifting off to sleep not daring to shift my body to a more comfortable position in fear that I might upset the magical balance of joy in the moment. I'd made it through the first New Years I could remember that I completely enjoyed in peace. More so, I fully felt the meaning of a new year, a fresh start, and the beginning of a redemption.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Playing In the Rain

As promised, I danced in the rain.

I think all of us have been caught in a downpour. How many of us have been inconvenienced? Annoyed? Had to rearrange plans? How many of us have grumbled, "Well it figures." How many have smiled? Laughed? How many of us as adults have danced in the rain?

I must have been drenched and dried out at least four times this past Sunday. Each time I had a different reaction. At first I was in awe of the power God was letting open on our meager land below. The thought came to mind, "what if I just went out there and stood?" There was something inviting and invigorating about the notion of a million drops pounding down across my body at once. Such a force each of these little mines could carry, yet I knew each would visit me without injury. Still, I resisted the urge. Instead I settled for watching the display from the comfort of a couch. I stared through the large glass window as if I was a child at the aquarium, nose pressed close to the shark tank wall, as to not miss a bit of the action. The sound was a familiar one. I never realize how much I've missed it until I hear it again. Almost as if the Lord is sitting high above reaving the engine periodically, pumping more and more rain out as He wishes.

Several other times through out the day there was rain. Leaving with my afternoon coffee...rain. Carrying things to the car... rain. Finding a place to park... rain. Hiking with a friend...rain. By the time later evening came I had settled into the idea that I was just going to have to be wet. I was nearing my home and yet again, needed to be out of the car. I couldn't change the situation. There was another downpour and I had no control to stop it. So I caved, I got out and I embraced the environment in which I was living. I danced. Now I know full well that the statement "dance in the rain" seems like something off a tourist trap t-shirt, bumper-sticker, greeting card, or at the very least the name of a chief from a cartoon Indian tribe. However, maybe there's something to be said for those cheesy sayings cemented into our everyday lives.

Any life can see several metaphorical downpours. In mine, I react the same way to those as I do to the wet, rainy ones. I resist, I complain, I change plans hastily only to see the storm end and I become disappointed. Then eventually I give in and accept that maybe the Lord has me in that specific place for a reason. My annoyance changes to appreciation and wonder. It's at that moment that I'm granted the freedom within myself to dance.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Reclaiming childhood entry to come

Reclaiming childhood entry to come soon: "Playing in the Rain"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Water Aerobics

That's right, I said it... water aerobics. It was one of my first "reclaiming childhood" activities. Now you may be thinking, since when is that a childhood activity? It's not. But what IS a childhood activity is going to the local public pool...

I went to one swimming lesson as a kid. Apparently I had issues with jumping into the deep end and into the arms of a scary-looking man-stranger who said he'd "catch me.” Apparently they also had problems with stubborn little girls who wanted to do things on their own terms. Go figure. Needless to say, though I figured out how to swim on my own, my professional aspirations of becoming a gold medalist in the 100m fly were short-lived.

So this week, earlier than God arises, I set out for an hour of geriatric-geared aquatic bouncing. Sitting in the parking lot being stared down by my snow-topped neighbor, an obvious class veteran, I began to wonder what sort of endeavor I was about to stride into. "Oh look! My friend's here, what a relief... wait maybe not, that means I have to actually go through with this little bout of cardio humiliation." Taking upon the attitude of trying new things at least once, we entered.

After a fumbling mess of "floater belt" adjustments, we entered the pool. I relaxed into the warm water, greeted by the smiling face of a woman who should have been named Olga. The damp smell and lingering taste of overly chlorinated water brought back a few slight memories of that first day of swimming lessons. The warm ups were over quickly and Olga began. “Ok everyone bicycle paddle!”
“What the heck is bicycle paddle?” I thought.
“Alright, now take a lap!”
“Man, this lady to my left is quick!”
“3…2…1…very good! Now opposite jumping jacks!”
“Really? Really. Opposite jacks?” I was a bit frazzled now.
“I didn’t know I was signing up for swimming laps!”
“Ok frog jump! You-- your core isn’t centered!”
“Me?!” How do I always manage to get called out? Is my friend laughing?
“Yes you. Now everyone, lap!”

Oh brother. You want to know a secret though? Aside from being completely shown up by my wrinkled classmates, I actually enjoyed myself. Letting down the barrier of “coolness”, letting down the need to be in control and to be the best at what I’m involved in, the need to know at least a little about every activity wasn’t anything I’d consider comfortable. But since when is God’s process of molding us comfortable?

Huge credit goes to my friend, Beatrice. I would have never made it there without her prompting and laughs throughout—thanks girl!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Big New Project

I've been trying to figure out what on earth this blog was going to relate to? What's my purpose here? What's my topic? Then late the other night I had a thought on a new project. Is it a good thought? Well, I couldn't tell you that-- but here's the plan none the less...

Reclaiming my childhood.

I think it's a safe assumption that any adult has had their share of the "I wish I could have done that as a kid" syndrome. It doesn't matter weather it was a happy or regretful childhood, there's something we all would have like to have done (or at the very least, do again.)

I always heard that when you have children of your own that it gives you the chance to be a kid again. Well among my pleasant memories of years gone past I've come to realize there are quite a few things I missed out on. So, in the words of a Snickers candy bar... "why wait?"

I've set out, after the inspiration from a friend, to be a kid again... or rather, maybe for the first time. My objective is pretty simple. I'll be seeking of those fun things I never got to do as a child and will blog about my experiences. Anything from crafts out of clay to visits to the zoo. I'll do a little retrospective blogging about some holidays traditions I was blessed to participate in the past few years as well.

Do you have a favorite childhood memory you'd like to share? Something you did as a family that should make my "must do" list? Let me know! :) So, here on this day the journey begins.

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away there lived a girl....

1st test blog entry from

1st test blog entry from my phone! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

25 Days

Well, haven't I gotten off to a lazy blogger's start? It's been 25 days since my 1st official blog post and there's been nothing since! (Insert a tisk tisk sounding scold here). I promise... more will come soon! ;)

Monday, August 3, 2009

My first blog...

August 3rd, 2009 at 4:53 PM. It's 82 degress outside and this is my first blog. More to come. Much more to come. :)