Thanks, Man

Here’s my positive experiences journal entry of the day …

Couple holding hand at sun riseKevin.  That’s what my positive experience is for today. The presence of my husband who is perfect, for me. He came home quickly after cross fit to shower and go to work and found me sitting on the floor on the brink of tears, frustrated at the loss of a document that hadn’t been backed up and was lost after four precious hours of work.

That, coupled with the fact that I had experienced opposition from an obstinate child for about 15 minutes, just before he walked in, left me on the brink.

So, that’s when Kevin happened to come home.

Sometimes I worry that I’m too negative when he comes home because he, as my husband, is the one who I most often vent my frustration to. He sees the good, the bad, and the ugly side of me.  But, time after time, he takes me as I am and loves me unconditionally.  He even thinks I’m cute.  I can’t believe it!

Today he tried to help in a practical way, but when he realized the document was truly lost, he sat with me for a moment and then gave me a shoulder rub. This gesture of sympathy was balm to my wounds, even though I was not in a mood to show much appreciation for it at the time.

I love the way that man loves me, even when the day’s not pretty.

When I read negative comments by women who have been hurt by men, my heart goes out to them.  A good man makes a difference for the women in his life.  I will always love and respect my dad.  My dad is a good man.  I love and respect my husband, because he is faithful, kind and true.  These two good men have impacted me and I love them beyond words.  I am grateful.

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Our New Soldier

Heaven and earth must sometimes be moved in order for a mom with little kids to get a few days away. Today that happened and for a very compelling reason. I got to see my one and only brother graduate from basic training with the Marine Corps, in San Diego.

IMG_0926A big smile, a broader posture, and a new confidence greeted us in the form of my baby brother. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were dressing him up in our play costumes? Now he is dressed in uniform and looking good.

My dad’s voice broke as he prayed for our lunch. Life is at a crossroads and all of his five children were present for this special day. A thing to be thankful for. When will this happen again?  We won’t think of that today. For now we will simply hold on to this moment, enjoy it completely while it lasts, and then we shall tuck it away deeply into our folder of happy memories.

I’m so glad earth and heaven moved a little, so that I could experience this day with the people I love.

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IMG_0949While in San Diego we walked around Old Town in the cool of the evening. Mariachi band music was transported to our ears in the gentle breezes.  The range of colorful Mexican paraphernalia was displayed in small shops and beautifully tiled courtyards. Day of the Dead skeletons were everywhere, whimsically arranged with seeming smiles on their faces.

We were hunting for a snack or small meal IMG_0951
and I was intent on finding something authentically ethnic. Someone suggested a sandwich and my heart fell a little. It’s against my religion to eat sandwiches in the heart of an ethnic experience. Thankfully I talked everyone else into splitting some tamales and empanadas that were artfully displayed in a vendor’s beautiful case. The mariachi music continued to grace us while we spooned hot Mexican food into our hungry bellies.  A time to relish.

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My brother David’s graduation was on an overcast Friday morning. It’s nice having a tall brother. He was easy to spot in the sea of white caps.

IMG_0980Now that I have a brother serving our country, it changes me a little. I have always respected or military and I am very patriotic. But now I feel more vested. And when I think of the men and women serving our country I will now think of my brother and his friends whom I met today.

He will leave for Quantico for intelligence training. We are so proud of him. He has done this hard thing. He has been courageous. He has pledged his time and energy to service. In some ways he is changed but, mostly, my good, kind brother is simply a better and more confident version of himself.

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After driving back to Long Beach with my parents, youngest sister, and the new Marine, we let the Marine set the agenda. He deserved it. Right?

Well, The Agenda turned out to be mostly about Food.

He wanted to eat food he had craved for three months. For three months all of his foodIMG_0988 (1) fantasies had been denied to him. Since his release, he had already ingested pizza, wings, French fries, a soft pretzel and lemonade, Mexican food, and Oreos. What he really wanted for lunch was “Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles,” a greasy joint and allegedly President Obama’s favorite restaurant in town. Folks, this is the anti-Paleo restaurant, in case you were wondering.

I think I will need to eat only fruits, vegetables, and chicken breast for a week to make up for this transgression.

IMG_0991The good news is that we got to walk off some of this heavy food on the shoreline of beautiful Long Beach. People may wonder why I left this place to live in the Midwest. All I have to say is that every place has its pros and cons. Scenery here is pretty awesome, though …

Inspired by TED: Positive Experiences Journal

It’s not the kind of thing you readily admit at parties. It’s not cool. But here goes: I enjoy watching TED talks on Netflix.

Inspired by Shawn Achor’s TED Talk, which is apparently one of the top twenty most-viewed, I’m going to try to shoot for a short recounting of one positive experience in my day, every day, and will post here from time to time.

Day #1 – I Found My Kids

This positive experience came on the heels of a frantic one. My younger kids were lost for about five minutes. After my shower I couldn’t find them. I panicked and ran out to the pond beyond our backyard. I looked in the front yard, to no avail. I fought back tears and bad images and I prayed hard and fast. Then I saw two blonde heads bobbing up and down in the distance. The kids had decided to explore a new part of the neighborhood. After chewing them out for not telling me first, I hugged them tightly and sat on a bench to watch them play in the driveway. I have my children.  Other arms are empty today.  If this is not a blessing in my life, I don’t know what is.

Day #2 – Leaf-Crunching on the Trail

Forcing myself out of bed, especially after sleep interrupted by kids, is painful. But I have never regretted getting up early. Today I read a scripture meditation and then quietly slipped out of the house to walk for a mile on the nature trail behind our backyard, to contemplate and to pray. I am so lucky to have this trail where I can be surrounded by foliage and forget that I am actually in the middle of Midwestern suburbia. The crunching of fall leaves interrupted my thoughts. A delightful interruption. A rabbit skipped ahead of me for a minute and then darted into the brush. I breathed the crisp and still air. I am blessed. So blessed.

Temp-habitatDay #3 – I Met an Angel

I’m not sure I have ever met an angel here on earth but if I have it was today. He came in the form of a wiry, wrinkled man with snowy white hair. A volunteer for Habitat for Humanity furniture pick-up. I made small talk and noticed his eyes were very soulful and kind. He struggled to help the other volunteer lift our old couch. I wanted to help him but refrained for fear of embarrassing him. He lifted his end of the couch at last and I breathed in relief. Is donating this couch enough? Is it a cast off? Yes. Could I give more? I felt like donating the couch was not enough. I need to do more and give more. I felt very rich at that moment but like I am not doing enough, caught up in my own comfortable world so often. We give but is it enough? Rich is relative. I don’t feel rich on a daily basis. But I know we are compared to so many. We have much to give. Am I giving enough?  Thank you, would-be-angel, for reminding me to give sacrificially and not just out of my excess. This is a positive moment, to me, because it’s one that has opened my eyes, and my heart, a little wider.