My Kids Can Be Selfish and So Can I: Three Ideas for Building "Otherness" (And #GritUp Writer's Collective)
It's August already. How did that happen? Time flies as the beach beckons, complete with an oversized umbrella and a glass of sweet tea. Many of us have been on the wedding circuit these past few months. Rather than traveling the Tour de Nuptiale, perhaps you've celebrated an anniversary recently. Summertime brings more than its share of opportunities to examine our own relationships as we lend our support to others'.
There are nine of us women. The colors in our eyes are varied - shades of chocolate browns, hazels, greens, and the brightest blues. Our bodies are agile, slow-moving, thin, tall, round, and petite. Our ages range from eighty-seven to eleven. We’re grandmothers, mothers, and young women waiting to discover the rest of our lives.
I call us family.
Here we are. Face hidden beneath my straw hat, tiny dots of sun sneak through the spaces of the finely woven material. I'm sprawled on my back, half-daydreaming and eyelids heavy, when I feel his hand rest on my arm. It took a couple of days for my husband and I to discover our old "relaxed" selves, but we're here now. Present. Counting no time except beats between each wave lapping the shoreline. This is our view for the day and I'm convinced it's a glimpse of heaven.
We've discussed stress together in the past. We've explored topics like our brain chemistry, families, prayer tips, symptoms of stress, and stress eating. This time, I'm taking a different angle, so here are three (over-looked) reasons that you need to get away...
It’s spring break here in Wilmington and we’re entering week three (year-round schedule). Though I always dread the first few days of our routine change - the boys bickering over games, taking turns, and having constant "fairness" disputes - by the end we’re in sync, and I hate to send them back to class.
This time, the transition looks different. As our kids hit the books, my husband and I will slip away to celebrate our first ten years together. A gaggle of incoming family will be in charge at the Gemelli house so that a couple of tired parents can find rest under a palm tree or two.
Like many of you, the majority of my time is spent as mom, wife, and whatever else is asked of me. Over the years, it’s been easy to lose sight of the simple woman I’ve always been - a daydreaming daughter of God, enthralled with the dialed-down, simple life that used to come naturally.
Returning to her is a purposeful practice that I’ve adopted over the years. As I pack my suitcase and envision my impending escape from responsibility, I remember the words of April Lakata Cao. Her wind-through-the-hair reminder is one that I come back to time and time again. It's about the little things imprinted in our memories, the smells, the freedom, the mistakes, and living to the full.
Here’s hoping that you’ll be inspired to spend time with the you who gets lost in the shuffle too.
Light up the room,
When I was nineteen I had a jacked-up Jeep with big tires. I bought it that way, trading in my sensible, tan, automatic Corolla for a stick-shift Wrangler. To this day I don’t know what possessed me, but I drove that green monster off the lot, lurching and stalling along the way. (Did I mention I had no idea how to drive a stick?)
I never made it home. I ran out of gas on a hill and panicked when I couldn’t figure out how to stop from rolling backwards.
How often do we climb a mountain only to forget where we came from?
Valentine's has come on gone. For some of us, it was a love-filled occasion, and for others, just another day. Sadly, some of us might have received our welcome to the broken hearts club this year. If that was you, here's a empathic wince and an over-the-internet fist bump of solidarity. Regardless of how your 2017 has gone so far, we can all relate to the sting of walking away from a relationship, feeling irritated with a friend or family member, or replaying hurts from the past over and over in our minds.
Maybe you're having a rebuttal thought right now - I've never been one to hold a grudge. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising. So many of us miss the symptoms of unforgiveness that we never consider it to be one of the root causes of stress and suffering.
This week we're working to clobber those hidden woes, so here are a few questions that we can ask ourselves to begin...
Please join together in welcoming Carrie Boos to the Gritty Pearl this week. Carrie is a dear friend, a fierce woman of faith, and a survivor of parents' worst fears. We trust that her story will fill you with hope and embolden you to face your own giants.
I can remember the worst day of my life like it was yesterday. I was 34-years-old, seven months pregnant with my third girl, and working in my classroom. Throughout an anxious day of teaching, I'd been waiting for a call from my doctor. When it finally came, my life was turned upside down.
I’m sorry, you have cancer. It's spread.
She couldn't focus. In fact, she couldn't even function. She just sat there at her desk, crying off and on throughout the day. Just 7-years-old and buried under the belief that the president-elect hated her, she was devastated. While others celebrated the passing of the torch in the White House, young *Mya couldn't help but to wonder how her friends could be so happy. This was the man who said that she and her family were bad people. At least, that's what she'd been told...
The story is true and it happened in the days following the election. I know this young lady personally and others like her. This week we're talking about our adult responsibility to teach children about the world in terms that are both appropriate for their age, and sensitive to their hearts. Welcome to the conversation...
No bumper stickers ornament my truck. Confession: I just can't be trusted with them. No Jesus fish. Family stick figures. Church symbols. Product names. We do have a soccer magnet that my kids like to move around the side panels, but the sport's known for attracting hotheads. I guess if I make a traffic no-no then, I told ya so.
The dog leash is wound tightly around my wrist. Her little body begins to shake the moment the bus comes lumbering around the corner, eventually rolling to a stop. She chases her tail, excited and anticipating boy cuddles after a long school day apart. Oversized backpack slung over his shoulder and a coat hanging off one elbow, my youngest meanders down the bus steps, hollering final goodbye's to his friends. He doesn't notice that his brother isn't following behind like usual. Chattering. Gathering things that have likely dropped on the floor during the ride. I think of a million reasons for a delay by my social butterfly.
But then, he appears. Eyes welling with tears, he stumbles down the stairs and throws himself into a bear hug, burying his face in my jacket. Alarmed, I guide his eyes up to mine and give him a questioning look. "She said our house looks stupid, Mom. She thinks we're funny and she made fun of Jesus."
Believer. Wife. Mom. Writer. Marriage and Family Therapist. Accidental Speaker. Crossfitter and Total Book Nerd.
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PEOPLE I FOLLOW:
BECAUSE I LEARN:
BECAUSE I LAUGH:
Elizabeth Laing Thompson
Liz Curtis Higgs
BECAUSE I ADVOCATE:
Juli Slattery at Authentic Intimacy
BECAUSE I CRY (HAPPILY):
Inspiring Writing Groups:
Suzanne Eller's #LiveFreeThrusday
Holley Gerth's #CoffeeForYourHeart
Kelly Balarie's #RaraLinkup
Jennifer Duke Lee's #TellHisStory
Susan Mead's #DanceWithJesus