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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A Resolution for You: A Revelation for Me

I was going to write about my displeasure of New Year’s resolutions. I still may. The year is young.

image courtesy of sscreations/freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of sscreations/freedigitalphotos.net

Instead, this is my third attempt at sharing my New Year’s revelation. It has everything to do with you. Despite my computer’s thwarting efforts, I insist on being victorious this time around. If you are reading non-jibberish, then please raise your glass or coffee mug as I have in a rousing toast: To Beating Technology!

Ok, back to the revelation of the resolution. Have you ever had a moment when you looked around at life and just said, what in the world? Things are so bad! I just had that moment. Looking at a book marketed for teens, I was blindsided by the mature subject matter, the flippant attitude towards life, and the absurd notion that EVERYBODY lives this way so I should just get used to it. What kind of future is waiting for my kids? Then the realities of life hit. I am all too familiar with the oozing darkness that covers lives with despair.

Death. Heartbreak. Loss. Abuse. Addiction.

Jealousy. Rage. Cruelty. Loneliness. Prejudice.

Betrayal. Desperation. Entrapment. Confusion. Pain.

 Real life is NOT  a cool tv show. Real pain does not need to be poked. It hurts bad enough as it is.

This stuff just isn’t peachie. But it is happening right now.

That thought sends me to a very uneasy place. As a matter of fact, this is how I feel: Hyperventilating beginning…panic ensuing…NEED. CHOCOLATE. NOW! Sad to say though not even chocolate brings adequate aid. I usually try to avoid thinking about the horror someone is facing right in the same moment I get to sit here and write about it. I feel helpless not being able to switch out that person’s life to help them avoid such mind-blowing pain. And if i can’t help, then I would rather not think about it. I would like to start my day over, eating my banana bread and looking at dressy fashions, imaging how great I would look in them (if I were 2o pounds lighter and just a couple years younger. Just a couple I say!) But I can’t. I am forced today to deal with issues.

That’s when I had my revelation. A New Year’s Resolution for you. Ok, not for you exactly but exactly with you in mind. Though I may not be able to physically transform lives–my cash flow situation will not get you out of debt (I am struggling to get my own self out of that!), I have no task force at my disposal to run down and lock up creeps, I can’t make anyone fall in love with you, I can’t bring anyone back from the dead (I am starting to sound like Aladdin’s genie)–let me tell you what I can do.

I. CAN. PRAY. FOR. YOU.

image courtesy of tungphoto: freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of tungphoto: freedigitalphotos.net

Don’t give me that face. I am not talking about making a wish to the heavens or hoping that the luck of the universe will help someone out. I am talking about the generous opportunity I have every day to go before the God of all and ask for His help. I didn’t ask you if you think He can do it. I didn’t even say He would answer how I want Him to. What I am saying is that He can. And if He can, and I can ask Him, then there is HOPE. The smallest light still pierces the blackest dark. This HOPE is a light. This HOPE I can give.

And this HOPE you can have.

I resolve this year instead of flighting from the darkness to fight it whenever I encounter it with His light. I HOPE this changes things for ME {N} U. I know that for me, it already has.

image courtesy of ponsulak: freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of ponsulak: freedigitalphotos.net

Pass me the chocolate and with HOPE let’s stay,

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This Week’s Just Desserts: Let me eat birthday cake!

Let me eat cake!

This post greets me near my next birthday and that means…BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Image curtesy of Idea go/freedigitalphotos.com

Image courtesy of Idea go/freedigitalphotos.com

My birthday is one of my favorite holidays (yes I said holiday and yes you should be able to stay home from work) because I really enjoy eating cake. As a matter of fact, when I became an official adult my rite of passage was to devour cake for breakfast. That’s right! My birthday, my rules! My birthday is the only day in the year set aside where:

  • I celebrate another milestone that is my life
  • I eat cake first at every meal
  • I become the object of celebration for anyone touched by my life

See why I enjoy them? But does anyone else see the problem here? I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with the word one.

Why do I celebrate life only ONE day?

I mean, we are alive each one of those  365 days in that year, right? I believe a quirky character with a need for good counseling and a hat fetish had it right when he partied for every happy un-birthday. Why are birthdays the only time I celebrate life when in reality each day is a gift (like the quote says, “that’s why it’s called the present”.)

Image curtesy of master isolated images/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of master isolated images/freedigitalphotos.net

At least that’s what the clingy stuck to my wall says. I wake up to that saying each morning, but I do not live like it. Do you? Aren’t you worth celebrating?  How do we stop talking about living life to the fullest and actually start living it?

I'm glad you asked!

Let’s start by eating CAKE.

C–Choose to Celebrate each day by giving thanks.

A heart full of gratitude can make even the worst day a bit better. Someone, somewhere has it far worse than you. Thankfulness doesn’t change our situations, but it doesn’t hurt either.

A–Ask yourself how you can make this day memorable.

Every birthday, my mom stayed up late or got up early to make sure our birthday banners, balloons, and posters were plastered everywhere the minute we cracked open our eyes. That memory stays with me reminding me how I was special to someone, and now I do the same for my children and my husband.

K–Keep a theme song handy.

No, I’m not kidding. Birthdays, and most celebrations if you think about it, carry a tune with them. I enjoy going to a restaurant and hearing underpaid, overworked people wearily slur, I mean, sing to me, “Happy, happy birthday from all of us to you. We wish it was our birthday, so we could party, too!”  Theme songs make everything more celebratory. You don’t have to go around singing it but having a tune in your heart helps keep you positive and on the lookout for good things to happen. And a cheerful heart does your body good. Even the most ordinary day can surprise you with an extraordinary event so be on the lookout for it. And if it doesn’t come today, then maybe…”Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow…” (I bet you finished singing that in your head didn’t you! Good theme song.)

E–EAT CAKE!

Don’t drop your diets or blame your next ten pounds on me, trust me baby #5 left enough jiggling poundage behind for ME {N} U. But take a moment in your day to treat yourself. Your “cake” may be a run in the park (which is fine, but please don’t look down on us cake eaters and we won’t trip you). Your “cake” may be..well…actual cake! Whatever it is, enjoy it and gather someone else around to enjoy it with you.

Birthday Cake was never meant to be eaten alone.

Image curtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Birthday celebrations are always better surrounded by friends and loved ones. Maybe those surrounding you are not ideal, but they are in your life, quite possibly for a good reason. Find ways to bring more CAKE into your life and find good quality people with whom you can share.

You were created on purpose, for a purpose, so celebrate today…and every day!

image curtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalimages.net

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalimages.net

God made you on purpose. Your life was not a mistake and neither was mine. Every breath we take gives  us one more chance to see and do something no one else can do because there is no other you and there is no other me. We can not ever be duplicated to the exact same person. And YOU and I have something to offer this world. Our birthdays and unbirthdays are events excellent enough to celebrate so eat that cake up!  And save me a slice!

A Very Happy Unbirthday to ME {N} U,

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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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What’s new on the ME{N}U?

The Big Question: What’s new on the ME{N}U?

The answer: Everything.

Welcome to Just Peachie’s blog I affectionately call the ME{N})U!

Menu

Menu (Photo credit: Renée S. Suen)

Did you read that right? No, not the menu.

The ME{N}U…the Me and YOU!

We are here enjoying these words together because as you read, I leave a little of me here with you. So we’re together, me and you (ME{N}U). My hope is that when we are done, we will have connected (me and you), we will be inspired (me and you), we will think (me and you), we will learn (me and you) we will laugh, (me and you), and we will grow, (me and you.)

So what is on the ME{N}U?
Cornbread, collard greens, macaroni and cheese...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this ME{N}U, we’re going to focus on SOUL FOOD, but not the kind you eat. The kind you live. Now I will post food related things only because, let’s be honest, I like to eat! I am a hopeless pinterest addict and through so many others there is a recipe or food related item that will correspond to everything I write. I also believe that food and life go hand in hand. Birthdays bring cakes. Parties bring appetizers. Holidays bring calories…I mean food traditions. Life. Food. Together. Eat up both!

And who is this who decides the ME{N}U?

To quote one of my favorite movies, (imagine now an English accent) “Me! That’s Who!” I, Just Peachie, must warn you that I am no expert. I got me some edumacation (yes, I did that on purpose. I know how to use spell check). But I want to assure you that whatever comes from this site, comes from me, personally, and hopefully from…

YOU!

I want to hear what you have to say about life. What is life serving you up when we dish on topics? We all have something in common and something to bring into each other’s lives. Like a good meal, life is best when shared with others. That’s the beauty of blogging right?

Empty plate

(Photo credit: noodlepie)

So join me as I take bites of life, hopefully not more than I can chew, savor whatever it dishes, and serve tasty tidbits to you as well.

May life come at you new and afresh this week! Until then, we’ll try and stay,

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COMING SOON…THE NEW KID ON THE BLOG!

curtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

I am so excited to be the New Kid on the Blog Yes, I did go there. Yes, I was a teen girl in the 80s/90s. Yes, I know all the words to The Right Stuff. No I won’t sing it for you, but let’s hope I have just the right stuff for this blog! Hope you’ll join me for all things life-inspired and non-fattening

Telstar Test Launch

 (Photo credit: jurvetson)

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Launch date: Monday, April 29th.

I can’t promise you our talks won’t get personal at times, but I do promise to be real, to be honest, and to be present.

Together we will savor what life dishes and everything will be as it should be…

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