Thursday, February 28, 2013

rose-colored glasses are so-oo 2011...

These thoughts are egregiously hijacked from people who... well... aren't me. Family, friends, Jesus... hopefully not in that order. :)

Lots and lots of years ago, I was in a musical. It was a low-to-no budget production and there were some things that were sacrificed (like maybe safety). One day when we were on stage rehearsing, a board worked its way loose from one of the really tall props and fell onto a girl's head. I remember watching it topple and fall toward this poor girl, it all felt like slow motion. I absolutely had time to push her, holler, try to catch the board - SOMETHING - but I didn't.

I was frozen.

I think back to this sometimes. I so wish this wasn't a reflection of my personality, but it totally is. I see something bad happening, and I'm seized with this pathetic paralysis, caught in indecision until the crisis has passed and the point is moot. I hate it so much, so I decided about a year ago to do something about it! I decided to defy my natural instinct and act. It didn't matter if at the moment my life was good and theirs was bad, I would choose to see the need and try to find a way to help. I happen to have landed in a church with a whole lot of like-minded people when it comes to this, and I LOVE it. Here are some things I am learning from them and from others.

1. Empathize and give yourself permission to act even when what the hurting person is experiencing is more than you can wrap your mind around.

2. Get practical and do what you can do. Cook food, give rides, bring coffee, cry with them. Don't say "Let me know if there's anything I can do," and expect that to actually be helpful.

3. If you just don't know what to say, listen and let your words be few. You don't need to be a licensed psychologist to be there for them. Put your arms around them and shut the heck up.

3. If you do know what to say, wait for the right way and the right time to give your input. People in traumatic situations don't need to be bossed.

4. Let others help, too. It's not about you or me. For some reason, it can be really tempting to 'hog' the hurting person when you're positioned close to them. Maybe it's ego? I don't know, but I think I'm learning how important it is to let others come in and bless in ways they are gifted to bless.

I can't end a post like this without a shameless plug for be(LOVE)ed, a group I am honored to be a part of. They ROCK at caring for people in practical ways during times of sickness, loss, or other need. If you're looking to be a blessing, find other people who are doing it and MOVE with them. I'm looking forward to intentionally "move with the movers!"

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Wearing your husband's clothes (and other slippery slopes)

"Can I wear a pair of your dress socks?"

These are actual, non-dramatized words I spoke to my husband a few days ago. As I uttered them, I just knew I had hit a new low. There were two things that brought me comfort, though. First, said socks did not even come close to fitting me - the proper heel of the sock stuck out awkwardly mid-calf. Second, I did have a legitimate need. Upon assessing my sock-drawer situation, I realized I have exactly ONE pair of 'dress' socks, and ZERO pairs of the brown persuasion. I almost had rationalized how completely not-weird it was for me to wear my husband's socks, when, without missing a beat, Aaron cheerfully and non-judgmentally said, "Sure!" This had become so commonplace in our relationship that he didn't even bat an eye.

It's official. I have a problem.

I'm actually kind of normal. I have my very own closet as well as my very own dresser, which contain clothes that both fit me and belong to me. I just find myself increasingly turning my back on my own clothes and going to my husband's closet. It started years ago with one innocent item, a Chicago Bears hoodie he first offered me when we were ALMOST dating. You know the story...the girl is all, "oh dear me, it's just so-oo cold in here" so the guy offers her his big, manly sweatshirt. The girl conveniently 'forgets' to give it back until he officially asks her out,  (in retrospect, she realizes he probably just did this in an effort to get his shirt back) at which point she might as well just keep it forever because they will be married and she will need it as a maternity shirt before he can even blink... I'm sure it makes perfect sense to you that this hoodie now possesses some nostalgic power over me and I keep returning to it. One time, Aaron put it in the Goodwill pile. Upon finding me crouched in the dark closet, clutching it and hissing "my preciousss...", he promptly returned it to its hanger. He's a good man.

I guess this probably WAS cute when we were dating. I paired his shirt with my size 4 ultra low-rise Aeropostle jeans, sitting snugly on hips that resembled those of an 11-year-old boy. It's somehow not as endearing now when the other half of my outfit is the pants I slept in, resting a comfortable seven-and-a-half inches above the hips that have borne two children. Go ahead and throw in whatever-I-fed-Landon-last smeared on my chin and eye makeup from yesterday that appears to be making its pilgrimage from my eyes to my cheekbones. I imagine I must look like a live recreation of Lindsay Lohan mug shots... with birthing hips...

(I just need to admit here, my flair for the dramatic MAY have caused me to exaggerate some of that.) 

I will always-and-forever remember one bridal shower I went to where one of the bridesmaids was offering some words of wisdom. She talked about how her mom would make sure her hair was fluffed (I'm assuming this was in a fluffy-hair era) and she put on fresh lipstick just before her dad came home from work. I think that's so sweet! How awesome would it be to reclaim this slippery slope and work harder to look cute for my sweet hubby when he gets home? It won't always happen, but, by golly, today I will NOT have pumpkin puree on my face when he walks through the door... because I love that man!