Monday, February 24, 2014

Cookie Season is Here!

Cookie season has begun. Yesterday, we picked up 216 cases of Girl Scout cookies. That amounts to 2,592 boxes of Girl Scout madness!

We have our Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties and Carmel deLites. We have classics like Shortbread and Peanut Butter Sandwiches. And, now we have branched out to gluten-free with our new Chocolate Chip! We also have the mandatory "yucky" cookie. This year the honor goes to the Cranberry Citrus Crisps which, thankfully, replace last year's Mango Cremes which tasted a lot like the way tropical candles smell.

With the help of some stellar moms we sorted and stacked and crammed the cases into my humble abode. Then we sorted the cookies by scout and started loading them into cars for distribution. Cookie sales is intense. People that pre-ordered cookies are frothing to sink their teeth into their favorite Girl Scout delicacy. They want to know when their orders will be delivered? And, can they just swing by instead of waiting? I say, "Yes, indeed! Snap to it!"

I need a multi-million dollar idea that I can work for two months out of the year and laze the days away the other ten months. If I had some little worker bees with the work ethic of these Girl Scouts I would have it made.

Some scouts sell literally thousands of boxes of cookies. While our troop might hit 2,700 or 2,800 no single girl will sell over 600 or 700. Most of our girls sell about 250 boxes...and to me, that is awesome. Awesome because the girls are thrilled and I know their parents are helping to make that happen. I refuse to be the crazy cookie lady that sets incredibly wild goals for her troop. I have seen it...and it is not pretty.

My ultimate goal during cookies season is to help the girls achieve their personal goals and maintain some threads of sanity while I do it! And, OK, I admit to getting my cookie nerd on when I am with my team! My sanity may already be slipping!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Unacceptance of Forgiveness

According to social norms, when one offers forgiveness for a wrongdoing, the wrongdoer typically accepts the forgiveness and the process moves both parties closer to a place of peace. Maybe the relationship will never completely heal, but forgiveness usually is a step in that direction.

Unless you are me apparently.

A few months back I blogged about a betrayal I experienced. After holding on to this festering sore of ugliness I decided I truly needed to forgive. Not flowery hearts on a card, but a true act of forgiveness. I felt to truly forgive the person, I needed to tell them. I did just that in a brief e-mail, proof-read by my husband. While the person I was forgiving did not contact me her spouse did. It seems they are if the mind-set that I actually don't need to be doling out forgiveness...I need to apologize. 

Apologize? For what exactly I have no idea. Though, I would like to know. If there is a wrong that I have done that I am not aware of...I really want to be the first to know. But, I am sure if I found out this very moment that I did indeed do something I would not be the first receive this knowledge. I am sure it has been gossiped about and grumbled about. And, here is me, not having a clue offering out forgiveness for betrayal. Silly me.

As I read and re-read the cryptic e-mail of "Self Honesty" - that was its title when it was sent back to me - the thing that sparked my anger was that the spouse said really terrible things about the name of Christianity. I am sorry. Christianity does not give a person the right to be aggressive and ghastly to another person. It also does not give one authority to question another person's faith and tell them you hope they find God's path. Um...let's see...judging, condemning, passive-aggressive bullying...yep, pretty sure that is not the Christian way.

Even though the spouse's opinion means little to me, his words stung. I had wished my betrayer a life of joy with her spouse. I asked if she could do the same with my spouse. Apparently not. But, it is OK. Believe it or not, I am not going to let the words of utter foolishness hurt me. I did cry. I also pondered. I wondered why my extended olive branch was snapped in half. However, I still forgive. As I wrote in my letter of forgiveness, "I don't have to understand why you did what you did in order to forgive you."

Though it will not be submitted for acceptance in written form to the person, my forgiveness still stands. I am forgiving so I can keep my joy. I am not going to let words of ignorance take my joy. I am not dredging up past hurts to experience yet again. I am forgiving. I don't get it. I don't understand. But I forgive...and I have joy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Fat Lip

I am currently sporting one half of an Angelia Jolie lip. The half is not even close to the magnificent full. Upon my fat lip I have a bandage. This bandage matches the one on my neck and the one on my back. I have learned that biopsy does not mean a small, needle tip size of tissue. Biopsy means, "We are going to take the suspicious item off of your body - and all surrounding tissue - and analyze it." 

My husband and I are both products of a time when very few cared about sun protection and likely did not have a clue what SPF stands for. As a child I sunburned. The sunburn would fade and peel and then the skin would burn again. We had aloe to soothe the burn but nothing in the beach bag to protect us from it in the first place.

As I have grown older my sunspots have become more evident. My shoulders are freckled with sun damage. There is little I can do now except prevent more sun damage. Yes, we have aloe, but we also have SPF 45 in drawers, cabinets, and our cars. We slather our children with sunblock and they still become the most beautiful golden brown I have ever seen. Their Japanese genes are a gift.

Because of our spots my husband I and I decided we should visit a dermatologist. It had been over a decade since we last were checked from head to toe. I never dreamed when I sat in my paper robe that I would be the doctor's best patient of the day. Best as in, "Woo-hoo! This here is a live one. Let me see that light!"

The doctor scrutinized my face, my back, my arms, and even my feet. He murmured his findings to the nurse and then said he needed to biopsy three spots. He first biopsied my back and I knew at that point that the little rough patch above my lip was going to be a zinger! I felt nothing but the hot flow of the numbing agent that seemed to set fire to my nose hairs. I knew it was bad when my lip entered my field of vision.

The doctor poked and scraped and moved onto my neck. After he took choice bits of my body he froze at least ten other suspicious spots on my face and arms. It was an icy cold blast followed by searing heat.

When the exam table was lifted upright I looked at my husband who did a double take and said, "Oh, wow! But, really, no. It isn't too bad." 

"I am not a monster!" I replied. And, then I got the giggles which I always do after I survive something that is unpleasant.

My husband was next on the exam table and after a five minute scan he received a bill of good health. While I am so thankful that he is healthy I couldn't believe he didn't have at least one creepy thing to remove. Not a blemish, not a mole, nothing.

So I have worked this week with a fat lip and the temptation to tell people I cut myself shaving. I find out next week if my biopsies are clear. I feel like they will be...and if not...these things were caught early so I will be fine after a bit more scraping.

This experience has hammer home the importance of SPF 45 on my children and myself. And, it is clear that my husband and I must add a yearly visit to the dermatologist to our health routine. Hopefully next year won't be such a windfall for the doctor!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wanting to be in Your Space!

The greatest compliment I have ever received was in a recent Thank You card from a friend I greatly admire. She wrote, "I truly want to be in your space MORE!" That single line with those simple words has meant so much to me.

As we log the miles on our journey through life I think most of us try to be a blessing to others. We don't always achieve this but we continue to try. I personally hope that I am a bright spot in people's day. That I can provide them with laughter or a happy thought to make the part of their journey passing me a little easier. 

I am not immune to the trials of life. Anyone who knows me personally knows I have had a healthy share of snafus to deal with. I have my moments when my patience is thin and my mind is weary. Moments when I want to hide under the covers of my warm bed and escape the realities of the day that awaits me. But everyday, I set foot into the world waiting for me determined to make it the best day I can.

When my friend said she wanted to be in my space that meant the world to me. For all of the struggles and stumbles I have endured especially in the past couple of years, those words signify to me that I am coming out of the darkness and into my own. I am finding my place and have found my true friends. No matter what peril I have dealt with personally, I have tried to keep my outward reflection a positive one. It is not that I have deceived people but rather not burdened them with the weight of my personal worries. My husband and my God stand by my side in times of struggle and with their support I am able to set my troubles free and remain focused and positive. This has allowed me the blessing of discovering things I love in each and every day. Without the weight of worry we can be people whose space others want to occupy. 

I believe that God provides us with opportunities to step up and step out of our comfort zone. And, when we accept the challenge the rewards are beyond what we can imagine. My friend was thanking for helping with a task that God set before me. By grasping that opportunity I was able to grow and learn a great deal about myself. While my friend was thankful for my help I was thankful to her for choosing me to be of assistance. She said God placed my name on her heart. Wow! Truly, I want to be in God's space MORE!

It is sometimes the smallest things that mean the most to us. But don't be surprised if a seemingly small thing alters your entire perspective. Don't be afraid to widen your circle of experiences. If you do your journey will definitely be a lively one and you will find people wanting to join you in your space!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Disney Magic

We spent this past Friday at the Happiest Place on Earth. We are those parents that pull their kids away from the education system for a day so we can avoid the long lines of the weekend. It was a much need break for the entire tribe.

We entered the Magical Kingdom and had an amazing adventure at the park. We spent 13 hours and walked over 10 miles as we raced from one ride to the next. It was a time of complete joy. The phones were stuck in the backpack; there were no e-mails to read or calls to follow-up with. It was time set aside to be a kid with our kids. 

We went with our like-minded friends who also pulled their children out of school. Sometimes families just click and ours certainly do. I am not sure who was planning our next duel family gathering first - us or the children! 

Our friends have a deep love of Disneyland just as we do. I have memories of e-ticket rides and "America Sings." I even remember believing I was being shrunk to the size of an atom on the Adventure Thru Inner Space attraction. Disney is magical to me. And, I love that I see the magic lighting up my children's eyes.

The kids were bouncing with anticipation when we arrived at the park and wept with tears of sorrow when we left. The trick, I told them, is to keep the magic alive between visits. If we spent everyday at Disneyland it wouldn't be such a special place. This logic did little to reduce the tears. Only the promise of another visit mildly cheered their tender hearts.

It is kids that make Disneyland come alive. The wonder in their eyes and the awe on their faces. Everything is better at Disneyland in the wake of happy children. The rides are more fun, the magic is magnified, and the joy is contagious. They spot Hidden Mickeys like master detectives and relay the back-stories of each attraction with incredible detail. I wonder if Walt had any idea of the inspiration and happiness he was creating. I am sure he had an inkling but could he have known the magnitude?

It is the sheer abundance of joy on my kids faces that reminds me what it is like to be a kid at Disneyland. Yes, we will go back sooner rather than later. And, in between our visits we will live with the magic of Disney in our hearts. And, I hope as they grow my kids maintain that love of believing the unbelievable and dreaming the impossible. Because, truly, the unbelievable keeps us reaching for the stars and achieving what we thought was impossible.