Oh Should! (should happens)

After my Mother’s Funeral I made a valiant attempt to thank all the people who had graciously spoken or sang on her behalf.  Most Importantly I wanted to thank her Friend Kathy who gave the most beautiful and gracious eulogy imaginable.

In the midst of my thanks I confessed all the my guilt over my Mother’s death, my mind was swirling was all the things I should have done.

She said something, funny, slightly vulgar, and profound: “Don’t should on yourself.”

But I do, all the time.  I’m constantly living in a pile of my own should.

Here are some examples:

  • I should develop a better morning routine for the kids that doesn’t involve turning on the tv in the first 20 minutes.
  • I should become a better gardener and pour more of my heart into the earth that way
  • I should keep a bit tighter reign on our budget
  • I should have said or done this when I was talking to her / him earlier.

The list goes on, and these shoulds pile on the guilt, inadequacy and the “less than.”

The other day we met my brother Brian and his wife Lisa at Craig’s Cruisers, a local arcade, mini golf, go kart place with an endless pizza buffet.  It was typical flashy childhood entertainment and the kids went crazy for it.

After the simulators and crane games I fixed their plates piled with pizza AND Mac n Cheese.  On a whim I stopped by the soda fountain and got them clear, fizzy glasses of sprite.  My husband’s mouth gaped when he saw me deliver the drinks and plop down with my own cherry coke, my first pop in almost 10 months.

I told him: “I don’t give a *!@# about what I should right now, I’m so tired, I’m on vacation.”

We sat in a room covered in children’s murals with 4 huge TVs showing “Finding Nemo”.  It was flashy, easy, kid heaven when in my mind we should have been throwing frisbees or reading books.  Yet, it was just what we needed in the exhaustion of that day, should be darned.

My shouldn’t was exactly what we needed.

We all have our should lists, the ones we make when play compare / contrast and feel like we’re coming up short.

Here’s what I’m learning about dealing with my pile of should.  Everyone on this planet has deeply rooted, God planted purpose, which must flourish in the assault of should the world flings at us.

We must use our true purpose as an umbrella against the should storm.

When you feel “should” creeping in when you see other’s people truly good pursuits, remind yourself that their passion it probably just your should.  If it keeps bugging you, bring it to God and ask him to put it in the right category.  90% of the time the should will flush away, although sometimes the spirit is at work.

Remember that you’re uniquely and perfectly crafted for your purpose, and not everyone else’s.

When do you find yourself should-ing on yourself?
Any wisdom on staying daisy fresh in the should storm?

Peace through Peach Jam

Lately I have been struggling with my story, my past and all the grisly details of suicide and funerals.

Some days, as you all well know, the devil gets the best of my inner monologue and I feel “less-than” and as my friends Hannah & Heather put it, “like a total hack.”

Today I can’t get through life without this antidepressant.
Today I am not a published author, I hardly made progress.
This morning I wept publicly at the coffee shop trying to write about my Mother’s death.
Over breakfast the kids screamed and I wondered if there would ever come a season of greater peace and less chaos.

It’s noon on an unexpectedly hard day and I’m going to focus on what is and all that I can do. I can’t publish today, I can’t get my daughter to pee in the potty or teach my son to wait for food without screaming and pulling my pants down with his impatient tugs.

but.

I can go let out my friends dog while they finish adoption paperwork in the city
I can make a bath of freezer jam and zucchini bread from beautiful local produce.
I can tell my husband that his support is everything
I can confess to God that I’m a mess and I need his grace
I can stop caring what the people in the coffee shop right now think as I cry over my laptop
I can read my daughter “Count on Donald” again, even though I hate it
I will leave 10 encouraging notes to friends, both online and local
I will write that friggin trash check so the truck continues to haul away our nasty diapers and coffee grounds.

I will see all of this as something real, though it is small, it is beautiful.  I can’t conquer mountains today, but I can take these little, life giving steps.

I refuse to be defined by what today is not, I will feel peace and purpose on all the beauty that today holds.

Peach Jam and children’s books are enough for me today, and this is a priceless thing.

Want to partner with me in sharing all that is and forgetting all that isn’t?

Slice off a piece of zucchini bread and smear it with peach jam as we believe that we can and tell the voices of “can’t” and “aren’t” to go to Hell where they belong.

***************
linking up with Joy in this Journey

Reflections of a Seminary Wife- Article for Asbury Alumni

In my former, pre-mom life I was an assistant to the Alumni office at Asbury Seminary while Kel was attending classes on campus in Wilmore, KY.  They’ve graciously asked me to write about what life is like for a seminary spouse and here is what I came up with:

The past life, Seminary “us” (note the office depot uniform on Kel)

I still remember with crisp clarity the day we pulled into Wilmore with our Uhaul in tow.  It was late July and exactly one week before our first anniversary.  We were babies on the marriage journey and in retrospect had only a vague idea what we were getting ourselves into.  We had no jobs, no income and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t burst into tears the first time I saw our beyond tiny, cinder block apartment.  My husband was beyond excited to be starting classes and I was struggling to figure out how I fit into this seminary journey.  I tried taking a few counseling classes and working toward my master’s degree but somehow I knew that our budget and schedule couldn’t accommodate both of us in Seminary at the same time.  So I put my career plans on hold for a while and was eventually blessed with an amazing job on staff at Asbury which provided me with a place and a purpose.

To read the rest of the article, go the Alumni Link  to finish it up.