Saturday, September 29, 2012

So, You Had a Bad Day...

Two things about this picture make me smile.

1)  It wasn't taken today.
2)  It was taken at Disney World, a.k.a. "The Happiest Place on Earth."

I miss having small children in my home...I'm not gonna' lie about that one.  I don't miss having small children melting down in my home...not gonna' lie about that one, either.

But, unless you've been living under a rock your entire life, you've probably noticed all sorts of people melting down at one point or another.  Old people, teenagers, pro athletes, the Cavewoman...

We typically melt because something is wrong.  We are experiencing a crisis.

We are having...a bad day.

One of my boys' favorite books was, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst.  I don't know Ms. Viorst and I'm not receiving any compensation for this plug, but if you don't have this in your personal library - get it.

Not only because it's great for children, but also because it helps us big people put things into perspective on occasion.

The screaming child in this picture, and his older brothers, were not strangers to thinking they often experienced "very bad days."  I hate to single him out, but Boy #2 could be especially dramatic. I have no idea who he got that from...

When he was in elementary school, I would often pick him up and before he even hit the backseat of my vehicle, I knew.  His face would have this look of despair that was unmistakable.  Very, bad day face.

I would try to pretend I hadn't noticed, "Hey, Keither!  How's it going?"  "Terrible!  I had the worst day ever! EVER!"

The first few times he pulled this, it worked.  My mom heart would break and I would try to figure out and fix.  Because I thought that's what a good mom did.  Figure out.  Fix.

Somehow, it didn't work at all.

Then I had a wise talk with my wise mom.  "Don't you remember those early days of high school when I would drop you off on my way to work?  You were such a mess!"  (That was my mom talking.)  Oh, yes, I remembered.  I would be freaking out about my hair not being perfect or not liking my outfit and then break into a rant of "worst day ever."  My mom?  Unflappable.

She would not say much at all, except, "I'll be waiting in the car.  Better get it together."

Once in the car...silence.  Or, worse yet, she would hum.  HUM!  Like she was happy and completely oblivious to the world crashing down around us!

As I slid out of the passenger seat, I would sadly glance back for one last crack at empathy.  "'Bye!  I'm not going to let you ruin my day!"  Seriously.  She said that.  My mother is a genius.

I hate to tell you guys out there in caveland, but sometimes, this is just what our little cave-darlings want.  Doting.  Sympathizing.  Catering.  Caving-in.  (Pun intended.)

But, sometimes what they need is reminders. 

The world still spins.  The sun shall rise again. God is on His throne.

I needed these reminders as a teenager - one who could be quite vain.  I need these reminders as a (cough!) young woman - one who has varicose veins.  And when shorts' season comes, has a mini-meltdown. (Now that I've made that public, maybe I won't be so pathetic next summer.)

I'm not stupid.  Well, not too stupid anyway.  I know some of you have a pile of life-garbage to deal with right now.  But, some of us...we just think we do.  And we let that thinking keep us from letting our light shine through the cracked pots we call our persons.

Be encouraged today.  All of us, at times, are pressed, crushed, persecuted.

Thankfully, with Christ, we can't be destroyed.  Thankfully, He - not mom - is the Master of Figure Out and Fix.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sore Shoulders

I could have posted pictures all day of these two…just like this.  Little Guy up on Dad’s shoulders. My third-born wasn’t only very young in those days, he was very little.

I remember practically throwing a party when he broke the 30-pound mark.  And he was already in school.  Big kid school…not preschool.

Little Guy, like all boys in my cave, experienced a late growth spurt and though I still see him as too little to be playing varsity football…there he is, and one of the bigger guys to boot.  Makes my mom-knees shake.  And my mom-tummy hurt.

When Little Guy was in every way little, he never could see.  I don’t mean he was physically blind, I mean he was constantly trying to see past kneecaps.  Fortunately, he had a dad who didn’t mind hoisting him up top.

Long before ads posed the question - “Can you hear me now?” - our family often heard Dad asking the baby, “Can you see it now?”  Sometimes it was a quick, “Yup!”  Other times, it almost became a game, “Nuh-uh, Daddy!  Over!  Tan’t see it!  Over, pwease!  Nope!  Utter way!  Wittle more…dare!  Dat’s it! I tan see it!”

I never asked him and I never heard him complain, but I’m thinking Caveman’s shoulders had to get sore…or at the very least, tired.  Add to that the times the kid got excited during a parade or fireworks spectacular, when I’m sure there were bruise marks left in the armpit area!  But, really, I never heard him gripe.  It came with the territory of being entrusted with new life…it’s what we do. 

We help others see.

My shoulders get sore sometimes.  My armpits have been kicked by flailing feet.  But, man, is it worth it.

Who are you hoisting up today?  Think about the people you get to help see.

You get to help them see God’s love, His goodness and their potential.

Wow, now that’s heavy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Pants

Obviously with pants like these, it's easy to get your happy on!

Don’t you wish it really was that easy?  Feeling blue?  Well, just find those denim wonders with the elastic around the ankles and BOOM!  Bliss!

Sad?  Go put your Cookie Monster slippers on and smile those troubles away!

Grumpy?  Dig out that “Frankie Say Relax” t-shirt from high school and cheer up!


While some things make me very happy initially…like a new fall-scented Yankee Candle or a big bowl of cookie dough…the “feeling” just doesn’t last that long.

Candles burn, cookie dough calories don’t.  Happy feeling…gone.

“Cavewoman, you are so weird,” you may be (okay, most likely are) thinking. “You’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks, and now you’re rambling on about happy pants and cookie dough.”

Well, my days are once again filled with children. Not my own, but “mine” in many ways.  As a teacher, looking around my public school classroom, I remember. And I am reminded.

I remember how easy it is to make a child happy.  Treats for reading quietly.  An extra five minutes at recess.  I also remember how “fleeting” the happiness coming from these things can be.

Now…reminded.  I am reminded that my own happiness often comes and goes.  Quickly.

I am reminded that I must differentiate between happiness and joy.  And I am reminded of my weaknesses.

The joy of the Lord is our strength.  For real.  Don't just take my word for's in the Bible...Nehemiah 8:10.

Happiness is affected by circumstance.

Circumstance is affected by joy.

May you wear the roomy and reassuring jacket of joy today…even if you can’t squeeze into your happy pants.