Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Review

Oh, my goodness.  I have missed my blog more than I realized!  My second post in all of December!  Whoa!  Yet partially purposeful.  I have enjoyed this month so much, in part because I removed all I could from my plate, put no pressure on myself, and just stayed in the moment!  I thought about blogging a couple times, but just didn't want to take the time.  So now I'm way behind.  I have some fun things to recap in the near future, but for now I need to think about ending 2012.

I love to end a year with a little reflection.  It's good for the soul.  But in a more light-hearted way, I like to reflect on the highlights of the year, so here we go!

Me in 2012:

1.  What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before?

I went to Washington D.C. for the first time:

I got into the world of Instagram:

I entered myself into the county fair:

And won second place for my cupcakes!

2.  Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, not this year! Although Brenna did get to experience her 24 hours with "Baby Think It Over".  It was a little bit like having a newborn in the house!

3.  Did anyone close to you die?

Our sweet pup Archie.  That was one of a sad, sad goodbye for all of us.

4.  What dates in 2012 will stay etched in your memory?

I think I will pick moments rather than dates:

Being blissfully stuck at home in the midst of our big snow dump and power outage:

Watching my son accomplish great things: 1st in State, Solo at Washington Center, among many:

Sitting with our sweet dog as we all said our goodbyes and he took his last breath.  A very tough and tender moment:

Watching Brenna run her way onto the varsity cross country team and go all the way to state!

Watching my baby girl collapse to her knees sobbing when she met our new puppy Lucy.

Having the privilege to watch this lovely couple get married:

Watching sunsets that defy description in Hawaii:

All the simple moments of holding my man's hand throughout another year together.  So blessed.

5.  Did you suffer any injury or illness in 2012?

Well, I spent the first month of 2012 recovering from my nasty slam of anxiety that started in December.  I am so thankful that was then and this is now.  I've reflected about that time a lot during this Christmas break.  The scariness and darkness of that time was intense, and what a difference a year can make.

6.  What was the best thing you bought?

Probably I'd have to say the plane tickets to Hawaii.  I'm not a big "thing" girl, so buying the "thing" that took my family on that great adventure ranks at the top.

Wait...does food count??  Because I loooooved the pancakes we bought in Maui.  That could easily be my best thing.

7.  Where did most of your money go?

Oh my.  I can name that song in three notes:  Alex, Brenna, Beth.

8.  What song will most remind you of 2012?

"10,000 Reasons" is high on the list.  I love the simplicity of that song.  "Bless the Lord, oh my soul..."  Yes, soul...bless Him indeed.

And I would be remiss to not include "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"...our cheer dance this year.  I listened to that song this Fall enough to fill my lifetime quota.  And yours too, actually.

But these girls rocked that routine and took first place, so well worth that song ringing in my ears!

9.  What do you wish you'd done more of/less of?

I wish I'd taken more action and done less pondering.  That's coming soon.

10.  What was your favorite t.v. program?

I'm a consistent girl.  I still love Amazing Race.  The Middle just cracks me up, and makes me feel better about the wackiness in my own peeps.  And very recently I've discovered Downton Abbey, and I LOVE it.


11.  What was the best book you read?

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  Hard to read in parts, but so worth it.  I finished it on the plane back from Hawaii, and I literally gasped outloud when I got to a very meaningful part, batted away tears and wanted to grab my seatmate and say, "You won't believe this!!!"  (Fortunately for someone, my seatmate was Brad.)

12.  What was your favorite movie this year?

I really don't see gobs of movies, so this is always tough.  But I just saw Lincoln and I loved it very much.  Very much.

13. What did you do on your birthday?  How old were you?

Let's see, I turned 43 in September.  I worked and then had a magnificent evening with my family.  Chipotle for dinner, yum yum.  And truth be told, I had to ask my girls what we did for my birthday this year because it seems so long ago!  That's what happens when you are 43 I guess.  Brad got me a new watch that I love, love, love...I do remember that.  And I still haven't had it fit to my wrist almost 4 months later.  Maybe I'll do that for my 44th birthday!

14.  Did you travel anywhere this year?

Oh, yes.  A big travel year for us!  We went with the whole family to Washington D.C. in June.

In September Brad and I got away for 2 nights for our anniversary...Cannon Beach, our favorite local get-away.

And for Thanksgiving, we all went to Hawaii...such an special blessing.   I need to blog about that was spectacular.

15.  What national event stirred you the most this year?

I was beyond moved by the mass shooting in Connecticut, as we all were.

16.  A valuable life lesson you learned this year?

Hmm.  I think I had lots of lessons re-taught to me.  I had a massive refreshing of the power of Hope.  The depths that rough times take us into are sometimes the only places we can experience the power of Hope.  I felt it, lived it, learned it.  Now I live by it in a new and fresh way.

And I am learning a lot lately about surrendering.  I choose often not to worry, but it's an efforted choice.  But when I truly surrender something, the worry fall off.  And I'm truly loving the freedom in surrender.

HAPPY New Year.  I am praying it is one of peace, hope, and JOY!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thoughts From the Mother of A Tall Daughter

I am full of thoughts.  I have had these thoughts for a loooong time, and lately they have surfaced to the front of my mind again.  I have to share, for myself more than for any other.  Getting these thoughts out helps me order them.  Helps me process them.  Helps me sort them so I can share them with the one who most needs to hear them.

I am the mother of a tall daughter.  A tall daughter in middle school...those years that are such a mixed bag of social adventures.  The middle school years contain moments of angst and confusion for most.

My precious girl is about 3 years ahead in her growth.  She has been the "tallest" since age 6.  Add to that growth spurts and growing pains (physical and emotional) and awkwardness of a new school and feeling like you "stand out" when you so badly want to blend in...yikes.

This girl is beautiful.  BEAUTIFUL.  Bright, bold blue eyes.  Blond hair: the color many women invest a lot of money and time trying to achieve.  A jolly belly laugh, sweet smile...I could go on and on.  With all these things, she looks in the mirror and sees...TALL.

As an adult, I know tall is a beautiful thing...but it's hard to be tall when you are 12.  She's 12 in every way, yet 15 in her height.  She's 12 in her emotions, 12 in her maturity, 12 in her life experience and knowledge.  Yet many people look at her and expect her to be her height.

Nearly every day, she hears "You are so tall!"  She is so sick of having this pointed out.  And I get it.  For the last few years, we've encouraged her to say a happy thank you when someone says that to her.  But now I'm sick of it too.  And adults are the worst of the bunch.  With no malicious intent, one after another comments on her height.  And it's not, "I LOVE how tall you are!"  It's "You are so tall!"  Duh.  It's such a neutral statement.  It's like looking at someone and saying "You have brown hair."  How should someone respond to that?  Sarcasm rises up, and it is so hard to resist.  And with a girl who is self-conscious about her height, it is completely pointing out her insecurity.  Over and over and over again.  And she is worn down.  It happens with her peers.  It happens with adults.

Whatever your insecurity is, imagine that every day someone pointed it out to you.  It really is like a dart being thrown, and hitting the bulls eye, over and over again.  Tough stuff.

And last night, she wept about it.  And it breaks my heart.

Because I look at my beautiful girl and see how wonderfully she is made.  I know none of us are our bodies.  Who we are is not, or shouldn't be, defined by tall, short, thin, thick, blond, brunette, "pretty" or not.  Someone of average height, at the perfect weight....more valuable than another?  Obviously no.  But boy do we judge and define people by the outside.  And boy am I tired of it.

If I could grow 10 inches overnight and tower over my daughter, I would in a heartbeat.  If I could shrink her 5 inches overnight and make her more comfortable in her own skin, I would do that in a heartbeat.  But I know we are who we are by design.  And we all have our "thing" that raise our insecurity, so if it wasn't her height I'm sure there would be something else.

I tell her often that everyone - everyone - has something, some are just more obvious than others.  Again, hard to believe when you are 12.

I don't know if her height will peak soon and her peers will catch up, or if she'll always be on the tall side.  I don't know if she will learn to love and appreciate it sooner or later.  But I do know that it does not define her.  Her beauty lies in who she IS, not what she looks like, even thought her outside is truly beautiful.  So I will do my part in encouraging and mothering my baby girl, praying that a hedge of protection surrounds her and that the hurtful comments will not penetrate that hedge.  I know these comments aren't meant to be hurtful, I know.  But they are.

And I hope that all of us will be careful with the words we speak to young hearts.  They are so impressionable.  They believe what we say about them.