It’s not mine. It’s a loaner. 

If I could, I’d put a huge sticker that reads just that, on each side of the car I’m currently driving.

Not because it’s so rusty that I’m at risk of falling through the floor boards if I go through drive through and eat an order of fries. Not because the paint is but a memory and the tires are as bald as an 85 year old Italian. (man or woman… it’s in our genes:P) Although- I have driven cars that fit those descriptions:)

It’s because it’s because it’s a *gasp* Mercedes. It’s new. And yes, it’s a loaner. It has a camera to make sure you don’t back into anything. Good thing, cause a fender bender would cost more to repair than I’ve ever earned in one year.

The thing is… I’m a christian.. and well… we mostly think that our things show a direct correlation between ones spiritual walk and ones wallet.

When it comes to cars we follow this equation: Beater= holy driver, Mercedes= selfish sinner.

And so… I feel like this loaner should have a nice clear disclaimer. Maybe, it’s because I’m too worried about what people think of me. (Hello- for the most part they don’t.) Maybe, it’s because I don’t think anyone should drive a car this pricey.. the money could/ should go to help orphans and widows… right?

But… what if it’s just another layer of judgmentalism? What if deep down, I believe that people with money are all selfish?

What if I’m wrong?

Dear Lord… money is something Christians almost never talk about… except to complain about how others spend it. God, I pray that you’d remove the log of judgment from my eye when it comes to cars and money…and Lord? I have to admit.. it’s a really nice car and I kind of like driving it… just for a little while….I hope that’s not sin….PS: Help me not wreck this stupid car.. it makes me nervous! Amen.

Questions:

Are there things that you see others purchase, drive or use that make you automatically wonder about their spiritual condition? Have you ever driven, owned or been given something extravagant that made you feel selfish? Do you think King Solomon felt guilty? King David? Would love to hear your thoughts…..Is there like some heirarchy of automotive selfishness?  Is a Chevy ok.. but a Lexus too much?  How bout a used one?  A Mercedes? A Rolls?

In just a few minutes, I’m heading out to the mall. Not for my typical mall run that involves coffee and bookstores and shoe shopping.  I’m going to do an experiment in judgment. I’ll be counting the number of times I make snap judgments about the people I see there. In one hour.

I’m nervous. Let’s just say, if my theory is right, and we all do this everyday… then, the same number of people  will (possibly)  be making snap judgments of me, while I sit there sipping a latte.

So just for fun, and maybe  a contest…. How many judgments (assumptions made about someone’s character based on their appearance or quickly observed behavior) will I make in one hour?

The experiment will work like this: I will move to 4 different locations around the mall during that hour- so I don’t stack the deck by sitting near any one particular store… (ummm yeah…. my Grandma shops at JC Penney and the goths all shop at Hot Topic… sooo too easy if I just sit there :P)

Post your guess in the comments-  I’ll pick up a little giveaway while I’m there:)

Edited to add— I’ll keep the comments open for this post until Midnight 9/17  *** the prize?

Hello Kitty Earbuds purchased at the mall, of course:)

if you send tweet a message linking here- or facebook post a link let me know and I’ll give you an entry for a second pair that will be drawn at random:)

The experiment went well- but I’ll be running it again- I only counted my negative judgments.. and I know I made positive ones too:) I also want to go on a busier day/ time and to a bigger mall… although I’m kind of scared of the results!


I do not care if the doctor thinks a walker is safer. I’m NOT going to use a walker- even for a little while. NO WAY. I said full of contempt, as  I wobbled past them.

I also don’t care if it has pretty pink and teal paisley or even leopard print, it’s still: a cane. People will think I’m handicapped. They will think this is permanent!  They’ll think there’s something wrong with me! (Forget the fact that there IS something wrong with me..)

Reluctantly, I picked up a cane and put it in my pharmacy cart anyway. (You know you’re in trouble if you need a cart at the pharmacy…) The pain in my knee was screaming that maybe I could use it just around the house.

Next, I headed towards the crutches… I don’t care if they do bruise my armpits to the color of eggplants. At least they look like I had a sports injury… not something more permanent. (Or like my weight blew out my kneee….. oy. It could happen…)  Besides.. I know how to walk on crutches without injuring myself….

So, for the past 10 days, I’ve been switching between the two. Honestly- the crutches are better in a lot of ways, but I hate to admit the doctor was right- they fall down, constantly. Bending down to pick them up is a herculean effort against pain. Blah. The walker may be better, but I just can’t do it…I am vain. (I know, I know, who knew? Zip it.. I’m having a revelation, here…:P)

Being injured  has given me lots of time to reflect. (Update: Diagnosis  Tore some cartilage and a have a loverly stress fracture. 4 weeks on crutches for now, we’ll decide on a treatment plan for the cartilage, later. The plan will prolly not involve a cartilage piercing..it’s pretty much already there- minus the bling.  just sayin.’  ) Mostly, I’ve reflected on the “poor me” side of things. But yesterday, as I was working on my  “A Mile in Her Shoes” book proposal, I had a tug at my heart.

Am I prejudiced about people with permanent handicaps/special needs?

I didn’t think so… and yet, I did not want to be mistaken for one.

So-What’s my problem?  What if I had to limp like this permanently?  I’ve never been particularly graceful so there’s not a huge loss there… aside from the pain, would it really be that big a deal?

Here’s the ugliness I found while digging through my heart today with crutches and canes and walker aversions….

1) I hate being needy.  (My friends know this is NOT a news flash or a revelation) Being limited physically, is partly hard because it means I need HELP.  I do not like NEEDING help. I like GIVING help.

2) I hate being thought of as needy.  Yup, this is different. I want people to think I’m capable and independent.   I am currently: Not.  I need extra time to do everything. I can limp about for around 20 minutes then I need to prop and ice or heat the lameness… There are some things I can’t do, (or at least, that I shouldn’t) at all.

3) I guess the truth is I am prejudiced (to some degree) against those with handicaps. (I don’t even think that’s a PC term… I hope someone will school me on the proper word to use;) Not in the “I’m better than you- or I think you’re stupid” way…..more so, in the: “I think you need, and should accept my help,” kind of way.

Prejudiced? Well, if I prejudge others as needy (which I hate) I also pre-judge them as needing my help. Maybe even as expecting or wanting my help…I act like my help is a huge joy in their life because I’m so considerate…. (I am helpful.  I hold doors, I make eye contact when others avoid it… blah blah blah….) What if I’m really, just annoying? I hadn’t thought of that.

What if I’m not the only one who hates this feeling needy?  What if it would be better to ask, than to always try to be helpful? What if I accepted a “no thanks” to my offer of help with respect, instead of acting like the person is being stubborn? (Maybe they are. Maybe they aren’t. Maybe they are holding onto their independence, like I need/want to?)

I feel a little like I’m walking a tightrope, trying to balance doing what I can, and accepting help when I need to. It’s awkward. I lean too far from one extreme to the other. What if this is what’s it’s like for others… everyday?  It’s exhausting.

Here’s the thing: What if I always limp? (I won’t, I’m just thinking aloud here..) Am I less capable, because I have limitations?  Am I less valuable because I need help?

I don’t think so. The truth is none of us were made to be able to do it on our own. We were created to work together. We’re supposed to be interdependent, not independent.

I may be able to do less….. But, I think I’m starting to understand more… about what it’s like to limp a mile in the shoes of a mom who has special needs….

Questions:

Are you a special needs mom?  Do you feel other moms are prejudiced towards you?

What challenges do you face?

What frustrates you?

How can other moms be compassionate without being prejudiced?

Have you ever caught yourself pre-judging a mom with special needs? How can you catch your prejudices before they become bigotries? (*See my post: confessions of a mommy bigot)

Dear Lord, First, I thank you for helping me gain some perspective through this knee injury.  I pray for all the moms who struggle with pain and mobility issues everyday. I pray that we’d learn to respect our unique challenges without prejudice.  That we’d listen and learn from each other and earn to connect and love each other. Oh.. and Lord?  I’d really like to be able to walk without pain…. I ask you to continue the healing you’ve begun, and to help me stumble along the tightrope of doing what I can, and allowing others to help, Amen.

“Slap, Slap, slap, flap, flap, pinch, squeeze, groan.”

The sound of me, woggling. (To woggle: a verb that describes my: walk/run/wobble exercise technique.) It’s not pretty.  I woggle like a hippo crosses a bed of  hot coals. But, as many have pointed out: I’m doing it. One step, one block one mile, at a time, I’m heading toward heath.

This morning, that journey took me in a direction I wasn’t expecting.  My shins were hurting so much that no amount of stretching, or gait manipulation helped.  I started out with them wrapped- hoping the compression would keep the inflammation down. It didn’t. Around mile 2 I unwrapped them. By mile 4, my gait was so impaired, that other things started hurting.  The balls of my feet felt a little numb.   I felt less than stable in the knees.  All I could think was: I need to get these (very expensive and professionally chosen) shoes off my feet.

Walking barefoot, sounded amazing. Slightly risky and crazy.. but amazing.

So, I took off my shoes and flung them over my shoulder. “Ahhhhhhhh.” My toes uncurled and my feet and lower legs relaxed.

The first few steps were tentative.  I pawed at the ground gingerly, as if it would reach up and grab me by the ankles and pull me down toward my unprotected doom.  It didn’t. Actually, it felt pretty good. Good enough to move to the grass and run a bit. (Yes, barefoot. I’m a risk taker.) While running, I flashed back to being a kid.. I remembered running in the dew-damp grass without ever tiring or feeling sore the next day. I remembered feeling wind in my face while I ran and thinking it was good to be fast.

“CLUNK. POUND. POUND. PAIN.” I hit a driveway. Ouch.  I moved back over to the grass. “Ahhhhh, so much  better.” Every once in a while I hit a wet spot in the grass.. the cool water and grass combination felt wonderful. It was a free foot spa.

I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to run barefoot. (more…)

“Huff, puff.  Slap, slap. Huff, puff.  Slap, slap.” No, there wasn’t something dragging from the bumper of a passing car.

The sound of me, on the road this morning.  At mile: 4.

Which is when I lost my mind. I suddenly decided to try to run mile 4 (of 6) straight.

I argued with myself as I walked from mile 3.5-3.9…

Mile 3.5- “I wonder if I could run a mile straight?”  “Are you nuts?  You haven’t run a mile straight in 20 years.”  Mile 3.7 “Yeah, but I’ve been upping my intervals… and maybe I could!”  “I don’t think so. You’ll croak.”  Mile 3.9 But what if I DID it? THAT, would feel great.”  “Fine, give it a try, but if you die, don’t blame me.” Mile 4.0 “Oh, Lord”

As soon as Endomondo clicked over to mile 4… I started to run.  Not flat out- make yourself puke or break your neck…just a slow, easy pace.  After a couple hundred yards, (what I’d typically run as an interval) I thought about walking. Then I thought about knowing Id actually RUN a mile.  I kept going.

I came to a crosswalk. I crossed.  I thought about walking.  I didn’t. I ran.

I had to change playlists, I thought walking.  I didn’t, I kept running.

I made it .52 miles.  I thought about stopping.  I decided to stop looking at my mile tracker.

I cranked up U2 and tried to keep pace.  I did.

at .74 miles (I peeked:P) I looked at the road ahead.  The freeway overpass was coming up.  It was too close. Like- the top of it would be right  smack dab at about where this mile I decided to run, should end. It’s a long, high hill. It’s gravely and steep. I thought about walking.

I kept running. Toward it. I made it to the base of the hill. I peeked again. I thought “.88 miles is good.”  I can walk the hill. But it just didn’t feel quite like having “run a mile straight.”

I kept running.  I couldn’t get this close and quit.

“Huff, puff.  Slap, slap. Huff, puff.  Slap, slap.”

I’m pretty sure I looked more  like a slow-motion replay of a runner, than an actual real time runner. It doesn’t matter. When I got to the top of that overpass and my iphone announced “5 miles.” I knew I’d done it.  I was Rocky running the steps.  I was Carl Lewis or maybe more like Florence Griffith Joyner….(hey– we both have nails- don’t bring me down!) Ok– well maybe not like either one.

But, I was me. Running.  Not quitting when it got rough. But to the finish.

I did it.

This week’s theme has been confronting what I believed, were personal limitations.

I posted about taking a risk and allowing one of my book proposal ideas to be presented to a publisher.  *gulp* By someone else.  *gasp* When it isn’t perfect. *wheeze* When I wasn’t there to see or control it’s presentation. *slap* *huff* puff*.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I wanted to run. I wanted to back out.

I didn’t. But I wanted too.

I spent the day pretty freaked out. I wish I could say I had “perfect peace that passes all understanding.” I didn’t.  I ran scenarios in my head like a bad movie on repeat. (Think the Bear in the big Blue House Potty Video.. yeah.. that bad.)  I pictured  the publisher literally laughing at the mundane-ness and lameness of the idea… I pictured an editor a lot like Simon Cowell ripping it apart and asking “Did your friends tell you you could write?  If so, you need new friends.” I pictured the opposite.. “This is magnificent… sign this woman up, she’s got a voice that needs to be heard.  It’s fresh, relevant, reverantly irreverant, authentic and true…” I’m not sure which I was more afraid of. I was afraid I’d made the wrong decision and shouldn’t have ever answered that phone call. I was afraid I was about to be crushed like a bug.

I waited.  I didn’t hear anything.  I had the feeling that: “no news is bad news…” I ate cookies, and a peanut butter sandwich with m&m’s to console myself, and got ready for bed.

I checked my email one more time. There was something in my inbox.

It wasn’t what I’d expected. No Simon Cowell or raving review.

Ideas were presented… but not mine. I was disappointed and relieved.  I also kind of wanted to cry. It wasn’t sadness.. it was all that energy wasted in fear.

I didn’t do much the next day, to be honest.  Maybe I was wallowing.

But then, this morning.  I ran a mile. STRAIGHT.

I didn’t think  could do it, but I did.

You know what?  Sure.. the idea didn’t get presented, like I’d thought it would.  BUT.  I let it GO. I didn’t let my fear say “NO. It’s not perfect, you’re not good enough or ready.” When the mile tracker of my life gave me the opportunity to go ahead and see if I could run that mile.  I ran it. Scared and messy as it was.

I did it.

The race isn’t over. I’m not done running or writing. I’m just getting started.  I have a feeling I’m going to find out there are lots of miles that I thought would be too hard.  Lots of hills I think are too high, and lots of things I think I can’t do, I also think I will find out that I can. If I try.

And so can you.

I hope you find courage in the race before you.  I hope you go ahead and try to run that mile.. let that idea go out into the world… take that risk.

You just might find out you can, too.

I’m not settling for standing on the side lines… I want to run in this race we call life…   I’m running to win. Not running to beat you.. but to run with you. I don’t have to win… but I’m learning that I do have to run as IF to win… by giving it all I have.

Come on.  Let’s go!

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Cor 9:24

Besides…I guess.. if I want to write about “A Mile In Her Shoes” I ought to do one in mine.. huh?  Well, I guess I just did:)

I’m a mommy-bigot.   I hate it, but, it’s true.

oh my it's real

For the most part my bigotry is centered on mommy’s choices, preferences and lifestyles. I am prejudiced.  A bigot of Mommy-sorts. (I pre-judge others.)

It’s like I have a Google indexing program running in my brain.  For the most part my Google-fu is amazing… but it’s way off, when it comes to moms.

It works like this: I see a mom, sum her up in a searchable word (SAHM, Working, Home Schooler, Tatted.. etc) and my brain pops up a list of  “top results” (prejudices/assumptions/related searches) And “related” searches….

Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes, not so much.  They look a little like this:

Goth-mom- Top Results: Possibly a Mompire, prefers black fingernail polish, reads Edgar Allen Poe to children at bedtime.

Related searches: Bat baby mobiles, faux fang pacifiers. Current reading: Potty Training after Dark…. (more…)

“Whaaaaa! Whaaaaa! Whaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!”

In my dream the sound was a siren. I was getting pulled over for speeding. In real life, the sound was my newborn and his siren cry was pulling me out of bed for a feeding.

I ricocheted down the dark hallway like a pinball.  “Bump. Bang. Bump. Bang.” (Which could be lyrics to a Black Eyed Peas song.. but alas, they are not.  They are  the sound of a mom- literally bouncing off the walls.) A Great Salt Lake of tears streamed down my face.  Not from the pain of ricocheting off walls… but from the pain of sheer exhaustion.

“You can do this.. you’ve done it before…this season of mothering doesn’t last long and  you’ll miss it when it’s over.  It’ll be ok.” I mumbled as I bounced.  I considered slapping myself for being unsympathetic. Instead, I argued back:“I don’t care how long it lasts.. or if I’ll miss it eventually…I’m TIRED, NOW.  I need sleep or I’ll lose it!” ( Just a tip… a sign that you’ve already lost it.. is when you are arguing with yourself and feel fully justified in slapping yourself. )

I took a deep breath before I picked up my little hunger siren.. I mean, my newborn.  Together we headed for our nursing spot on the couch. I wondered if I’d be able to go back to sleep when we were finished… (ok- I desperately hoped we would.) I had to force my eyes to focus on the glowing read out on the stove top: 4:43 a.m. “I need to get up to get the other kids ready for school by 5:30.”  While settling into the miraculous comfort of nursing…I struggled to do the time-math… “It takes 45 minutes to nurse…so I’ll have  …UGH.  2 minutes to sleep. There is no point going back to bed.”

Which is the last thing I remember before being awakened by my middle schooler. “Mom, Am I going to school today?” He asked-in a tone that communicated he was hoping the answer would be: “No.”

I looked at the cable box...”Crap. We’re gonna be late.”

It was 7:15. “UGH.” Somehow (more…)