She tripped walking to the stage. The red and yellow fisher price record player was just big enough to make her already awkward steps, even more so.

Not a great start.

Still, she smiled. She turned the knob to wind the player. “tick tick tick” “raaaaaatchet” and then placing it as near the microphone as possible, she put on the plastic disc that was her “back up band.”

The music box tinkled out ” Jack and Jill” and her tiny, first grade voice joined in. She sang with the clinker notes and tiny voice you would expect. Then, smiling like an Idol finalist, she bowed and walked off stage to the applause of her school.

There may have been snickers. There may have been laughs. But, she never heard them. For that moment, she was a star. She’d performed in front of her whole school, and could see her parents smiling at the back of the gym.

That was all that mattered.

I know it did, because “she” was me. I remember being so excited to sing. I remember practicing so much my hand hurt from winding that record player. I remember feeling afraid to walk out on that stage and I remember a moment that I considered running off the stage right before I started that record.

Today, I’m yet again stepping out. I feel about as prepared as I was on that day in first grade. My tools feel just about as clunky, outdated and immature as that fisher price record player. I feel nervous, excited and unsure what to expect.

As I sit on a plane, flying to Denver to meet with staff @MOPS International, to better understand the structure and function of each one’s role so I can better serve as a Board member, I remember that first grader.

if she could do that, I can do this. So, I will.

“tick tick tick” “raaaaatchet.” That’s the sound of me winding up the skill set I have preparing to use them in a new setting. A Board member.

Dear Lord, I love you and thank you for calling me to serve MOPS International as a Board member. please prepare me and fill me- in your name I pray- amen

I leaned back against the door, hoping it would help block out the sound of the semi-truck, as it rumbled down the dirt road just beyond my front yard.

“Whaaaaaah!” My babies cry told me it hadn’t worked. I lifted him from the crib, praying he’d go back to sleep. I hushed and bounced him, as I made my way to the rocker/ recliner at the back of the house. “It’s quieter here.” I thought. Still hopeful that naptime wasn’t over.

The muscles in my legs strained to lift the footrest without making a sound. Just as his eyes started to close and I felt myself relax, the “thump, thump, bwah-thump” of the neighbors TV bass through the wall, made him pop his eyes open and signaled the official end of naptime. I wanted to scream. I wanted to pound on the wall and tell them to “TURN IT DOWN.” But it was 1:00 PM, and my TV was almost as loud as theirs… it wasn’t the neighbors, it was the duplex’s construction that was the problem.

“I hate living here.” (more…)

Dear Rebellious Pores and Persistent Pimples:

Don’t look around confused and innocent, like. You know who you are. Yes, you.

I am talking to  you, Rebellious Pores #1-6 billion and seven who have been pumping enough oil onto the surface of my skin for 30 years to power several third world nations.  And yes, you too, Persistent Pimple # 4,768,321. Location: A Sector, B Quadrant, 2.5.

Also known as: In the shadow of left nostril.

To you, I say: I am impressed with your consistency and perseverance . Or rather, with your evil, malicious, ugly, and (often) pain filled, doggedness.  You have been my (monthly) worthy adversaries for 30 years. I  know I am supposed to be a woman of grace.. and I do believe that God works all things together for good… but really?

I hate you and wish you’d be GONE.

You suck time, money and emotional energy like a hormonal leech. It’s been hard to convince my kids that their college tuition has been invested in my private war against your terrorism.  Terrorism?  Yes. Terrorism. Why? Because you do not attack on all fronts, like a traditional war. No.. you are more diabolical to my follicles.  YOU attack like a terrorist, in just the most vulnerable and tender spots: my right cheek, left nostril and the side of my nose.  Of course, occasionally you try to throw me off and attack my chin or forehead, but I’ve been tracking you like a beagle on bacon. You can’t fool me.

I worry that someday, Al Gore will wage a personal war against me.  Why? Am I paranoid?  No—The acids, lotions, vitamins, drying agents, and snake oils I’ve purchased to slay you, are the most plausible cause of  global warming, I’ve heard. It’s true, I am haunted by guilt and the imagined screams of polar bears, each time I apply them.

Despite their tortured cries-, apply them I do. I am a woman obsessed.   From Retin A to Pro (not so) active.  From Acids to lotions, with labels like potions, apply them, I do.

And I WILL.

Why?

Because, to you I ALSO say: I will prevail. There will be peace (at least) on my face.

I will not give up. I will fight you to menopause, and beyond!

Be warned.  I was recently blessed with luck.. and won one of these beauties in PINK!—and it’s got my name engraved on it..

This momma’s goin’ high-tech… prepare to DIE.

Signed-

hopingmyfacewillclearupbeforeIlooklikeasharpei

in michigan