The French Press Dilemma…

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My daughter thinks she’s had a rough week. Her french press jammed and her Insta-Hot machine broke. Are you freaking kidding me? This takes #firstworldproblems to a whole new level. I’ve worked hard to make sure that my kids have been afforded different opportunities than I did, but I think I’ve gotten it wrong. Really wrong.

I’m taking my daughter to Europe next June, but now I really feel that what she needs is a mission trip. My intentions in supporting, protecting, and loving her to bits has been well intentioned, but maybe I’ve been missing the mark. Maybe we’re all doing a little too much here with this generation. If her world is rocked by her french press jamming…with her private tea collection…in her walk-in closet, um… good grief.

Let me be clear, this isn’t her fault. She hasn’t been exposed to the harsh realities of life, and that’s on me. It’s Memorial Day this weekend and when I think about past generations stepping up to serve, I am humbled. These brave men and women went into battle, whether they always agreed with the fight or not, to serve and to protect. They were moved by something greater than themselves.

As parents and grandparents, we try to do better, for our children and grandchildren to have more, better, and in greater abundance than we did. In all things though, there must be a balance. I think we’ve reached the tipping point. I’m not going to bash teenagers today, because I know some awesome kids with untapped potential. It’s easy to pick on “kids today”. I think we’ve always done that, which is a cop out. Today, I’m going to say “parents today”. I include myself in this merry gang of enablers. Let’s step up.

I don’t want my legacy to be a kid that crumbles over a french press, but one that leans in and serves. I don’t want to ask less or her, to make her comfortable, because it’s just easier for me to do things. I want her to know how to make a meal, take care of herself, look people in the eye, and help others. I want my daughter to be a person I want to spend time with, and that others do, too. This is on me. At a certain point it will be on her, but today, it’s me. And you.

The world is already full of wankers; let’s try to do better. Let’s say “no” more. Sacrifice is something that was once well known, it’s unheard of today. Delayed gratification was once a given, but it’s something that we must intentionally cultivate now. French press boot camp starts today. Hold on to your i-phones, this mom just got a backbone.

Keep sharing moxie.

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The Life Support Bed…

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I have a pile of dirt where I put extra plants at the end of the gardening season. I call it the Life Support Bed. They don’t have a permanent home yet, so it’s a holding area. They’re either going to make it or they won’t, but it gives them a fighting chance to be in the ground before winter. I celebrate the ones that return. I know they’re hardy enough to make the cut, and the others? Well, sayonara. Life is tough on the prairie.

If I’m being honest, and I DO try to be honest with you, dear readers, I’ve placed a few of my relationships in the life support bed myself this year. When your life is chaos, it’s easy to neglect all but the most essential. We’re talking hard core Maslow’s hierarchy of needs essential: food, shelter. Relationships and belonging are on the 3rd level. Forget about esteem and self-actualization, ain’t nobody got time for that… I’m kidding,  you should have time for that, but it isn’t called a hierarchy for nothing. You can’t skip one level and make it to the top.

When you’re on life support, it’s your relationships that take the biggest hit, right? Here’s the thing though, the ones that matter are going to hang in there…for awhile at least. I hadn’t talked to one of my best friends in months till last night. We had deaths, cancer diagnosis, work stress, broken pipes, and the like between us. These things changed us, but we talked and talked, and the relationship is still there. Of course, we had the roots of 20 years of friendship replete with public intoxication, embarrassing dance moves, break-ups and other sordid stories shared between us. A pretty solid foundation.

New relationships? Most can’t take the hit and weather the storm, same with plants. You have your annuals and your perennials, know the difference.

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Oprah Winfrey

Summer is coming. THANK THE SWEET HEAVENS!! You can’t leave your relationships in the life support bed forever, they will wither on the vine and die. It’s ok to test for hardiness, but everything has a breaking point. People who need people…Sing it, Babs. You need people, too. So phone a friend, water your plants, and take care of yourself.

 

Keep sharing moxie! And, guess what?  I write this for fun. I’ll never share your e-mail or make money off of this, so subscribe and never miss a word of my delightful musings. It’s fun to share moxie. Just do it.

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All Pomp & Circumstance…

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The school my daughter attends celebrates kindergarten graduation. A few years from now I will watch her walk across the stage at her high school graduation, but these will be the faces I will see. The frowners, the nervous one, the smirker, the cheesy grinner (hopefully no nose pickers at that point).

Pomp & Circumstance… You’re humming it, right? Daaaaaah, dum, dum, dum, daaaaaah dah. Now you are. Traditional ceremonies are a lovely way to usher in great changes. Baptisms, confirmation, bar mitzvahs, prom, and then graduation. Nearly half of a student’s life is spent with teachers. Those who can, do: those who can’t, teach?!? Bullshit. Teaching isn’t for sissies, it’s for warriors. You need someone strong enough to hold a classroom together, soft enough to comfort broken hearts, and smart enough to reach any kid that walks through the door. Brilliance is demanded is so many different forms, it makes my head spin.

There are many debates out there about testing strategies, effective teachers, the best schools, the most innovative curriculum, blah, blah, blah. Here’s what I know: good teachers, amazing teachers and crap teachers. Kids know the teachers that really have it and the ones that don’t. A great teacher is magic, pure and simple. How many great teachers did you have? Think about that for a minute. What teacher did you think of first? Some of you may be digging way back in the archives, and that in and of itself is telling. What teacher do you remember after 10 years? 30 years? 50 years?

My first grade teacher changed my entire life. She taught me to read, she showed me that I was smart, she helped me believe I was special. I will be forever indebted to Mrs. Jackson of Riverview Elementary. Who are you indebted to? Did you ever tell them? I’d like to believe that kind words don’t have a due date. It’s Pomp & Circumstance season. Thank a teacher.

Keep sharing moxie!

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No shame in my game…

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I love books. Confession: I love books more than people. Note, not more than most people, more than people, period. Unless we share DNA this is unabashedly true. I have skipped out of formal dinners to read in bathrooms. I’ve ducked out of weddings to finish a good book. Indeed, I have read books half naked while having various medical procedures completed. At any given moment, I would rather be reading than doing almost anything else.

There is a shared language of readers. Either you speak it or you don’t. I won’t judge the car you drive or the house you live in, but if you’re not a reader, well… we don’t speak the same language. Non-readers, you can stop reading this post now. Readers, carry on.

I can talk books for hours. Can you? Do you remember the first delicious all-nighter you spent with a book? I was 12 and it was Emily of New Moon. I had loved my Trixie Belden adventures, Sweet Valley High was fun, but Lucy Maud Montgomery knocked my 11-year old self on my ass. THIS was poetry! I’ve since read all of her books again, and, while enjoyable, it’s like an old boyfriend, great memories, but distance. You have the right books for specific times in your life, just like people.

I like big books and I cannot lie… Actually, I read classics. I read trashy novels. I read medical studies. I’ll read the back of cleaning bottles in a bathroom if there isn’t anything else to be found. A reader must read, just like a true runner must run. “Books wash away from the soul the dust of every day life.” Sorry, Pablo, I just jacked your quote there. Art is wonderful. Beautiful writing is art.

I buy books because I love to see all of my mini adventures lined up on my shelves. It’s tangible and it feels better to me to hold a book than an e-reader. Mostly though, I love to share my books. What better gift to give than something that has resonated and touched your soul? It’s no small thing to share a great book. It’s you extending yourself saying, “I loved this, I hope you do, too.”

The right book at the right time is magic. Share your favorite with another. Tell me yours.

Keep sharing moxie. Image result for book quotes

 

 

Find your tribe. Love them. Fiercely.

It’s Mother’s Day. Find your tribe. Love them. Fiercely. Mothers and mothering take many forms. I am a mother, and I have many children that I look out for, whether I’m on their birth certificate or not. I’m lucky to have a mother, a step-mother, an adopted mother, bossy sisters, a mother-in-law, sister-in-law, best friends. My life is teeming with mothers. Some of them have biological children and some don’t. They all mother. Fiercely. 

I ordered flowers yesterday from a local shop in my home town. It was a somewhat surreal experience. I called in a order and they already had my name on file. I realized it’s because the last time I sent flowers it was for a funeral. Don’t start with me about how Mother’s Day is a commercial wasteland. I’ll use my teacher’s voice (and it’s scary). Order the flowers now. Don’t wait for a hospitalization or a funeral. Send the cards now. The texts. The two second Facebook post.

Your mother may be living or not. You’re still being mothered by someone. Mothering takes many forms. It’s beautiful and gritty and ugly. One day isn’t nearly enough to honor the sanctity and near sainthood that these women hold in your heart. Say something real to someone who has mothered you today. Make it count.

Keep sharing moxie!

Hope on a limb…

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I’d like to rename Spring. Yep. Let’s go with “Hope on a Limb”. Spring arrives when you feel like you’re at your wits’ end and pokes its little head out. You want to cheer on these brave daffodils, buds, and birds. Be brave, bits of green!! If a baby is God’s way of saying the world should go on, then I think spring is the affirmation that we shouldn’t be miserable shits on earth. It’s a big beautiful world, people, just stop to take a look around at the wonder.

There are few places, save Alaska and Antartica, that one might celebrate spring with more fervor than in Minnesota. Minnesota transplants in particular start to feel like they’ve earned a t-shirt with every winter they’ve survived. The blizzard of ’97, the April Fool’s day snowstorm of 2014, the time you went sliding off your roof because the snow was so, so high. Some may view it as rather pedestrian to talk about the weather, you probably haven’t lived in cold proud country. We’re grateful in May when it’s 30 degrees “because there aren’t any mosquitoes”.  I honestly just had someone say this to me last week.

I’m thankful to have lived in and traveled to other areas and experienced different kinds of weather and life. I’m well aware that I could live in California where the weather is truly lovely, but as my good friend in San Diego has said “I just wish it would rain sometimes. This much perfection is obnoxious. My soul needs a rainstorm.” True that. I crave sappy movies sometimes because I need to feel sad. I like dreary days, so I can justify reading a book and not working on projects outside. You need balance, between light and dark. My Minnesota heritage has allowed me to live peacefully in the dark and celebrate the light. That ying and yang stuff? Yes. Those Chinese philosophers might have been on to something for the last few millennia.

That being said, the first really and truly warm day of spring? It’s like Christmas, right? It’s like being 10 years old on the last day of school. Wooooo hoooo!!  People are smiling at each other. You say “yes” to things without thinking twice. Your heart is a little bit lighter and your steps more swift.

I’m not sure what phase and space of life you’re in right now. Have you been stuck in winter: dormant? Maybe autumn with loss and change? Summer, bursting with youth and vitality (lucky you! crazy jealous). For me, I’m needing some spring. Are you needing to cling to some hope on a limb? I’m going to to be a courageous bit of green poking my head out. Be brave. Join me.

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Happy Spring, peeps! Keep sharing moxie.

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