Life lessons I’ve learned from my hair…

I’m pretty sure that most would agree with me on this point – our hair usually doesn’t do what we want it to do. I️ was born with some THICK hair. My mom kept it short when I️ was little, because she just didn’t know what to do with it. I️ don’t blame her now, but I️ sure wanted it long when I️ was little – so much that I️ would put pantyhose on my head and swing it around like it was long hair – if you have never done this, try it, such a good time! But, when I️ did let my hair grow out, the tedious chore of brushing through that mop got old REALLY quick. I️ envied those with braids and buns and piggy tails. Although I️ soon found out that sitting still while my mom coated her hands with “dipity doo” and tried to work some magic was a tad bit like torture for me. Later, in 6th grade, everyone was feathering their hair. Hard as I️ tried, my hair would have nothing to do with it, resulting in a daily battle in front of the mirror.

In addition to being thick, my hair has a ton of volume. For years it was more of a “wave”. Just enough to NOT be straight. Just enough to make me mad. I️ found that using a flat iron worked well to control the beast – so I️ used one daily for years. While on a Spring Break trip with our family, after going into the ocean and letting the wind dry my hair – my children were taken aback. ‘‘You have curly hair?” It was a bit like I️ had just introduced them to a long lost sibling. What a secret to hide from your children! From that point on, no more flat iron… I️ was determined to let my hair be “natural”. At this point in time, to me, my hair looked like I️ had an old perm. Many declared it looked like I️ had created beach waves with a curling wand. Beach waves?! I felt more like I️ had been caught in the Big Kahuna and dragged in the sand a few miles. Yes, the grass is always greener – but I have learned a few lessons  through the years from my crazy hair that I’d like to share with you 🙂

* Less is more ~ With all of the new tools and products out there, it’s easy to get sucked in. Less frizz? Amen! Bouncy waves? I’ll take two! Relaxed curls with no stiffness? SOLD. Yet, I have found, that once you find something that works, stop. Don’t keep looking. Use what you have and let that be enough. You know, don’t re -invent the wheel and all that. What you have is enough. Being content is difficult but awesome!

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* Try new things ~ Sometimes, we need a little something different in our lives. The same ‘ole, same ‘ole just isn’t cutting it anymore. Don’t go all drastic and quit your job or shave your head, or tell your neighbors what you REALLY think (now THAT’S just crazy talk!) Change just a simple thing – and see what happens. Part your hair on a different side, add a braid, air dry if you normally blow dry. Small changes can do wonders for pulling you out of a funk!
* Celebrate small victories  ~ This is a favorite of mine. On special occasions and days that I’d truly love to look good, my hair turns out like a used mop. But, on any random Tuesday , when I had already vowed to stay home all day and do laundry, it’s as cute as can be. What to do? Don’t EVER waste cute hair! Go to the grocery store, go to the bank… BE SEEN – I mean, we really never know when this is going to happen again!

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* Ask for help ~ As with most things in life, if I see something that impresses me, I ask about it! If I see someone that has amazing hair, a beautiful headband,  or a style I admire – I inquire about it! What’s the worst that can happen?! Stick your neck out – being curious and asking questions is a good thing!

* Focus on the good ~ We all know that no matter how hard we try, there is usually something that isn’t “quite” right… the left side is curlier than the right side, the front dried funky, our barrette won’t stop sliding out – whatever! Focus on what is good! If the volume is there, but the style isn’t, grab a headband that matches your outfit and move on. If your hair is especially shiny, but won’t cooperate, slick it back into a pony and hit the road. Work with what you have 🙂

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* This, too, shall pass ~  I’m pretty sure we have all had one of “those” hair cuts. You know the one… the “ I can’t believe I sat in that chair and LET THIS HAPPEN!” one.  The cut that had us threatening to not leave the house for weeks. But guess what? We lived to tell! It grew! It probably took much longer than we’d like, but it did grow out! And we learned a lesson about a hair length that we Never. Want. Again.

In the end, just like life, we have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst with our hair.

Wishing all of you a good hair day – EVERYDAY!

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My word for 2017 ….

For several years now, I choose one word that I attempt to focus on throughout the year.I am not one to make resolutions – mostly because I prefer short term goals over long term goals (I get distracted entirely too easily). Having a word or concept to pay particular attention to for the entire year allows me the chance to look at the various ways and areas that the definition of the word works in my life. For me, it works.

In 2016, I chose the word release. I felt that it was time for me to start letting go. Of what, you may wonder? Of lots of things, starting with clutter – stuffed closets, overflowing drawers, unloved knick knacks and more. Once the physical “stuff” was taken care of, I shifted my priorities to feelings, relationships and expectations that needed to be released. This wasn’t as easy as taking a garbage bag into the closet, but it was even more important. Letting go of these things frees us from the heaviness it creates – a heavy heart has trouble finding happiness. I worked hard on paying attention to the things that were causing me stress and attempted to change the way I dealt with these people, issues or situations. At the end of 2016, when my book was delayed – I needed to release all of my anxiety that was created by this overwhelmingly frustrating event. I was forced to let go of my plans and dreams of selling during the Christmas season and change gears for the future. At first, I wondered if my word would serve me well for 12 whole months. In the end, I could have easily used this word for another entire year – but instead decided to build off of it.

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For 2017, I chose the word acceptance. I figured that since I had devoted a year to cleansing my life from negative habits, people and situations that I could not control, I should follow up with a year of learning how to live with what I can not change – and making the best of it. In June of 2017, my first born is graduating from high school. This is something that consumes my thoughts and much of my energy right now as we fill out college application, cap and gown forms, take senior pictures and plan for his graduation party. In the back of my mind, I fully understand (logically) that he is growing up . I hear his deep voice, see his facial hair and watch him drive away in his car as he heads to work. Yet – I haven’t fully accepted it. I think I am still in denial. I need to focus on how proud I am of him and his accomplishments, instead of how sad I am that he is leaving. Time will help, and so will seeing his excitement about his college days ahead of him. It’s all a matter of accepting it, right?  Being a parent is sort of crappy like that.

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Acceptance is also important in regards to how I manage the areas of my life that just aren’t “my favorite”. I think we all have things and people we absolutely must deal with that we wish we could JUST. NOT. The thought alone makes us cringe, but it doesn’t make the issue or relationship go away. So now what? ACCEPTANCE. To be clear – the definition of acceptance is “the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered” (according to the online dictionary). No where does it state that I have to LIKE it in order to ACCEPT it….right? My goal is to accept a few of the things that I can not control (like my babies growing up and leaving me) and search for the good – something positive – something that will make me smile and not pull my hair out. We can all use a bit more sunshine and a few less clouds. My wish for you is that you find a word that helps you in more ways than one this year. Please let me know what your word is once you know it – I love to hear how my friends are working to improve their lives!

All of my eggs…

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I have the best conversations with my friends. And a lot of them happen when I am on the elliptical. This is good for several reasons. First, I can schedule these chats ahead of time, as in “Hey , I’ll be on the elliptical at 9, want to chat me up?” Second, and most importantly, it takes my mind off of the God awful activity that it is my goal to do 40 minutes a day, four times a week. Talking to a bestie helps me to shift my focus from *NOT DYING* to solving all of the world’s problems – as long as we can wrap it all up before my cool down.

ANYWHO- the other day I had one of those great conversations, this time about being the Mom of a teenager. This particular friend and I were sharing stories about being a bit lonely in our homemaker roles. We shared feelings about how we feel that our postion has been downsized, and we are not ready for it, nor happy about it. This Mothering gig is a confusing one, we spend over a decade on these babes teaching them to be self sufficient. Then, they want to go out into the real world and be independent. The nerve.

I know, I know, we are still necessary- vital, I would even say- for a smooth running household. A home that contains a well fed and clothed family still provides “chores” for it’s Mama, even if the children are over 10 years of age. But, it’s different. At least it feels different. There are days when I literally feel like the hired help- although I don’t ever collect a paycheck. There are days when the only time I hear “Mom” said with any urgency is when “Have you seen my red shirt?!” or “Can you give me a ride?” is the question. It’s almost as if  the work that I do is important, but not me. Not every day, but sometimes. Sounds pretty pathetic when it’s written down, but it’s the truth – and I’m guessing that I am not alone in this thought process.

Back in the day, I was their world. I decided their menu, their schedule and picked their outfits – and most of their friends, for that matter! They played and wanted me to join them. They cried and wanted me to comfort them. They had a great experience and needed to tell me all about it – admittedly, I am still needed for this {THANK GOD!}. I was more than a chef/driver/laundry doer. I was a companion. I wasn’t AN option, I was the ONLY option. I guess that is what I miss the most. The little hands reaching for my cheeks as I read to them. The little feet following me everywhere… except to the bathroom. That was gross and awkward.

I was warned by many to not “put all of my eggs into one basket”. In other words, I couldn’t expect for my husband and family to be the only things in my life to bring me joy. I completely understand this logic, but I also know that for 20 years now, being a Wifey has made me very happy. And the 17+ years of parenting has also left me quite fulfilled (and exasperated, exhausted and utterly dazed at times). I refuse to take those eggs out of my basket. I have, instead, started adding more eggs… writing more, speaking engagements, teaching religious education, a weekly Bible study, TAKING NAPS. I have more time now that my children can bathe, dress and feed themselves. Time that was once allocated to their care and safety can now be spent reading a book (that has nothing to do with parenting!).

I know that God has things planned in a certain order, as in written in Ecclesiastes  3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”. It was necessary for me to first be the nose-wiping, meal-making, booboo-kissing Mom in order  for them to trust the homework-helping, friendship-fixing, college-selecting Mom that I am today. There is joy and pain in every season, but God is also in each season, which means I can handle it and even {maybe} thrive in it. I pray the very same for you, as well. So – if you still wish to chat about it, I’ll be on the elliptical tomorrow at 8 AM – give me a call!