On the Me{n}U: My Horrible Mommy, Life-changing Moment

It happened. I planned for it. I practiced for it. I dreaded it. I hoped I would never have to face it. I feared every time I heard it happening to someone else.

But a horrible moment happened to me anyway.

I lost my five year old daughter at a water park!

lost

…thankfully, only for a moment.

But it is a moment that will last forever in my memory. I can close my eyes right now and relive the panic. Chest tightening as if embraced by King Kong. Pulse racing faster than an Olympic sprinter. Flashes of what if scenarios playing fast forward in my head…the worst scenarios a mother could think of. Praying like a madwoman both in my heart and on my lips to Almighty God in a way I never ever want to do again. All other faces blurred into nothingness as I searched for that one precious face that meant everything in that moment. A five minute moment felt like forever.

Have you had that moment?

A sliver of time that would change the course of your life afterwards forever. I know you have. Some are fantastic. One minute no baby, the next minute, BOOM! parenthood. One minute, high school student, next minute POW! Graduate.

Some are absolutely foul. A loss. A goodbye. A death.

image courtesy of artur84:freedigitalimages.net

image courtesy of artur84; freedigitalimages.net

Our greatest and worst moments marker our lives. They give definition and character to the story of our existence. My story, your story, is highlighted by our moments, whether we like them or not. And as much as I would love to erase the moment my daughter was lost from my memory, it is a part of me now and will be always. To someone at that water park, I am the mom who could not keep track of her daughter and irresponsibly lost her kid. (Ok, so it didn’t happen quite like that. But they don’t know that. She didn’t wander off. She just didn’t hold hands and in her following could not see us anymore. In that split second of panic, a guard asked if she was lost and took her to the security room just that fast. We were literally two feet away, but she couldn’t see us, so she was lost. And yes, I am STILL embarrassed by that fact.)

How do we embrace the moments in our lives that depict us negatively?

How do we make peace with the memories that reveal such dark times in our lives? What do we do if those memories outshine any good that we have ever encountered? I don’t profess to have the only wisdom on this matter, but I do know what helps me.

I try to remember that: moments

  1. Life is a journey. I can’t have ups without downs. And if I did, life would be dull

  2. Negative moments fuel the positive ones. If I can make it through, the joy that is to come will be that much sweeter.

  3. My worst moments connect me deeply in my relationships with others and with my Savior God. I am forced to be humble, to be vulnerable, to trust, and to receive outside of myself. What a great gift trouble can give if I can view it as such.

  4. Trials of life chip away at the rough and insensitive parts of my life and make me a better listener, more compassionate, more empathetic, and more humble. It’s a tool I can use in my life.

When I can remember these in the midst of sour moments, I can not only withstand them, I can incorporate them into memories with a deep respect.

If I can do that then you can choose to do that, too, because Me {n} U, we’re no different! We both have choices to make. Our circumstances may be different, but the power to choose is always ours.  And if we choose well, we can embrace lifetime changing moments and continue to remain

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On this week’s ME{N}U: Toast..French or Cajun? Timing is everything

MOST THINGS IN LIFE REQUIRE GOOD TIMING

I burn everything at least once. And my kids never let me forget about it. Bread is most often the casualty. Garlic bread, biscuits, toast…especially toast…they all have been singed under my not so watchful care. You may make a great french toast. I make a mean Cajun toast–blackened that is. The difference? Timing. Timing in cooking is indeed everything. Timing in life is everything.

photobucket.com

photobucket.com

What a difference a day makes

The timing of this post lies almost one week after my daughter’s twelfth birthday. (So forgive any non-sensical wording please. One tends to rebound slowly after dealing with ten to twelve preteen girls hopped up on sugar for several hours.) I love to wake my kids at the midnight that crests their big day. One day my precious girl was eleven and the next–boom–twelve. Just in the matter of a second. How many things in life hinge on one second? Babies are born. Lives are saved by a split second. But how many seconds of our day are wasted on nothingness because we are not paying attention? My assessment, from personal experience, one second too many.

Pay attention to timing

Toast quickly turns from buns to briquettes when we stop paying attention to timing. Life quickly slips by us in the same manner. Missed opportunities. Unseen milestones. Futures altered. Life to death. All in the matter of a moment.

Timing is too precious to forget about. 

I am still a novice in this blogosphere, but already I am keenly aware of a few timing lessons.

Timing can place me with the right people at just the right moment, if I pay attention.

Using time wisely will keep me productive and poised, if I pay attention.

Ill use of timing and its principles will cost me dearly with my goals and with my relationships.

Just this morning because of misuse of time, this blog was delayed and if I had not caught myself, I could have missed a precious toddler moment. While trying to redeem my time and focus on finishing my work, I found myself literally pushing my toddler away from me. To my credit, he was about to jump over my head and onto my laptop which would not have been good for either of us. All he wanted, though, was to sit by me. His favorite line now is “Mommy, I need you.” Heart-melting  I know. Now add big brown eyes and curly brown hair…miss a moment with that! Not this Momma. That would be bad timing.

So, how’s your timing? 

Your life is made of many to do lists and deadlines, moments and madness, that you will have to journey  through. Time, your attention to it, how you use it, and how it uses you is something we all need to revisit in our lives. Don’t worry though. It’ll just take a second.

Taking my time and loving it. And always staying,

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On this week’s ME{N}U: New and Improved Lemonade for Life

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

What a dumb metaphor. I am sorry Mr. Elbert Hubbard circa 1915. This metaphor contains a huge flaw, besides being painfully quaint. When life gives me lemons, I usually just want to throw them back and yell, “I didn’t ask for any stupid lemons!” You probably already agree but what can we do? Life. Sometimes it brings bad things, sour things, distasteful things that we can’t throw back. But taking just lemons and making lemonade…bad idea. Let me explain my take on this by sharing with you a personal story first.

Taste this, Mommy!

My daughter made me lemonade once when she was ten. She was so proud on that hot day. “Here Mommy, I made it myself!” I should have taken the cue and braced myself. But I didn’t, and yup you guessed it.

http://studentministrygames.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/wednesdays-wild-game-pucker-up/

studentministrygames.wordpress.com/

It was nasssssty! 

My entire face shrunk in with a shrivel as I squeaked out, “Thanks, honey. You’re the best.” You know what the problem was? All lemons. No sugar. Bad combo.

You can’t make good lemonade with just lemons!

Understandably, life is not always pleasant. Bad times, aka lemons, always seem to sprout when and where we least want them. But the lemons are not the problems by themselves. It’s how we prepare the lemons that make the difference. Some of us pick the lemons just to suck on them. All we can do is suck the sour out of the situation. Tell everyone how bad it is. Express how it can never ever get better. Repeatedly. Confirm our suspicions on the fact that we have the worst problem ever. Lemons really do suck. I am tired of the face shrivel and overall displeasure of living in such a way. Aren’t you?

So let’s make that lemonade…a New and Improved lemonade.

First, cut up the lemons. Take your problem and cut it down to size. Most often any problem will overwhelm us if we continue to look at it as a mountain, but if we can break it down step by step, we can conquer Everest a bit at a time.freedigitalphotos.net, piyato

Next, add some water. Water for us can represent clarity and common sense. Both items in a crisis are very hard to deliver to oneself if you are the one in crisis. Get a friend, a wise friend (not the one that you only want to come around when he gets a double-dog dare). Share the problem with her and see if she can offer a sensible step or maybe even a whole different perspective. Word to the wise here: don’t use too much water or in our case don’t tell too many people or harass those one or two friends repeatedly just because you have some lemons. Remember, they’re just here to help. It’s your lemons. It’s your lemonade.

Sugar-1Thirdly, and most important in my world, ADD SOME SUGAR! For the love of all things sweet, add some sugar. Life is easier to handle when you can laugh at yourself or the situation. Give or serve someone else who is worse off than you are. Taking your eyes off of yourself can help you gain a greater perspective. Gratitude is also a way to sweeten an otherwise wearisome task. Have you ever tried to give thanks in every situation, no matter what? Challenging at times yes, but always an option…if you really want to make things better. Find a way to sweeten your situation.

Next to last, add some ice. Ice cools things down. Maybe in your life crisis, you need to step away from it. Let it cool down. Let yourself cool down. Take a vacation, even if it’s just a cold drink, to relax and refocus. I personally pray. I actually pray first which would be like adding the ice first which is fine to me because I love a good, cold lemonade. If you do pray, let me just suggest that you check out who you’re praying to. Prayer in itself is good; prayer to Someone who could actually make a difference is better.

Finally, shake or stir it up. Do something about it. You see the steps, now take them. A lot of times we want others to do our work for us or fix our problem or scrub our houses. Oops, sorry, the house comment was for another blog. Check Just Peachie’s 31 day challenges for that. Anyway, learn to become the key to your own success. And most often success comes by working at a task until it is done to perfection.

Kinda like lemonade. If you’re going to make it, make it good. I mean, you’re going to get lemons anyway, whether you like it or not. That really is life. You can’t throw those sour moments away, but you can make lemonade…some of the best lemonade you’ve ever had. You may be surprised just how sweet the outcome will be.

Try it today: Cut your life issue down to manageable parts, get a wise friend to help, find some sort of good in that moment in that situation, let it chill, then do something to work it out. You may just rediscover how good life can taste.freedigitalimages.net, dusky

You keep connecting and I’ll keep staying,

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