Archive for the ‘children’ Category

Messages to Our Daughters

Dear Jesus, Bless this post. This one could be a bit touchy.

Something is stirring in my head and my heart this morning. It is something of great importance. Something that could be met with an Aha! or with banishment by leadership. I will do my best to craft this post with wisdom and grace rather than finger pointing and accusation.

My daughters are weighing heavy on  my heart today. As I continue my read in Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter, I am realizing the many ways in which we continue to allow a subliminal message of less than to be delivered generation after generation to our daughters.

Even more disturbing is the realization that many a proud girl daddy is standing back approving the various practices that perpetuate this message delivery system. At the very least, we stand and watch in silence as it continues year after year after year.

We live in a society that elevates the status of men and their roles above that of women and those who work specifically with women and girls. Rural West Texas may be perpetuating that more than most.

Case in point: Education and Sports as it relates to leadership.

Look at the makeup of your school board. Ours is currently all male. At one time there were two of seven who happened to be female.

Look at the makeup of administration. How many superintendents are male? How many finance officers are male? How many curriculum/special programs personnel are male? How many principals are male? And finally, how many teachers, secretaries, and teaching assistants are male?

We are somewhat more progressive in this area than others. We do have a few females at the top. Yet it is still disturbing to me that so many of our teachers are female while such a significant part of our leadership is male. This perpetuates a stereotype that somehow males are more suited for leadership.

I had an opportunity to take a leadership role several years ago. I didn’t want it. I guess I helped perpetuate the patriarchal ideals. Maybe that’s why there is such an imbalance in leadership. Women just don’t want that level of responsibility and men do.

I’m not buying it.

I think it is more a case of how we stereotype people in those roles. Women in leadership are oftentimes seen as bitchy. Difficult. Emotional. Moody. Vindictive. Condescending.

Is this true?

Does being male somehow exclude a person from possessing these characteristics?

I would suggest that if two candidates were placed side by side with equal qualifications, similar personality traits, and everything else being absolutely the same, even a hiring committee made up entirely of women would choose the male. We are THAT conditioned to submit to male leadership. Unfortunately, I would probably be right there with the rest of that committee choosing a man.

So why is it that we are willing to submit to a man who is difficult, emotional, moody, vindictive, and condescending as acceptable leadership material, but those same perceived characteristics in a woman are grounds for running like hell?

Just ponder that for a bit, will you?

Think some more.

More.

Now take a breath.

Part two of my morning psychosis coming up next right after these words from my goddesses.

The Amazon Princess is about to shoot.

Cowgirl dominates the floor.

Teenage Goddess kicks some three-point butt.

The Tigress force-feeds her opponent a tasty snack.

These are the reasons I write.

These are the four amazing women who deserve so much more than a life in which men are seen as physically, intellectually, and spiritually superior simply because they were born with an external appendage.

Don’t get me wrong. I lOVE men. Men are awesome. I made these amazing beauties with one and I still like him alot. I like him in part because he empowers the women in his life. He is probably one of the best girl-daddy’s on this planet.

But he is a rare find.

Back to how education and sports condition girls and women into feeling like they are somehow less than boys and men.

We have a government mandate called Title IX. I haven’t read its fine print. Some people say it means there has to be equity between what is offered to boys and what is offered to girls when it comes to sports in an educational environment. Seems like everyone you talk to has a different take on it. Talk to a man and it means one thing. Talk to a woman and it means a heckuva lot more.

So yeah. We’ve got equity in sports. Because Uncle Sam says so.

Whatever.

How does equity exist when year after year the athletic program is run by someone whose primary job title involves creating a highly successful boys and mens sports program? I’m not suggesting that those men would consciously do something that would undermine the success of the girls’ program, but how is it humanly possible to avoid putting more energy and influence into the program for which YOU are held accountable to the public than you do towards a program that in some cases gets in the way of YOUR program?

Scheduling classes. Hiring staff. Content area teaching positions.

The eyes of the top dawg can’t help but be first and foremost on HIS boys’ program.

Seriously.

When was the last time a school sports program in rural West Texas was run by the head of girls’ athletics? I would love to have some examples. I’m sure they exist. I’m just not familiar with them.

When in history has the search for a head girls’ coach of any sport involved the intense committee search the likes of which are seen when searching for a football coach?

And why is it that we often see almost double the number of boys coaches than girls coaches?

Bottom line, consciously or unconsciously, we value men and boys more than we do women and girls.

Don’t give me that crap about how special our girls are and how we protect them and keep them safe. Cowgirl can body slam your boy to the ground and make him cry any day of the week. She wants to be treated with respect and given the same opportunities the boys get.

And now I find my blogging time is waning and my rant is calming a bit. My challenge to you is to think  long and hard about the subliminal  messages we send to our girls in all areas of life, especially our sports and education. If you are a girl mama reading this, I know you’ll have some thoughts. If you are a girl daddy, and especially if you are in a position of leadership, I trust you will give significant consideration to and reflect about your decisions and how they perpetuate the second class status we are assigning to our young ladies.

It’s not about religion (although I can hammer that wagon mercilessly). It’s about telling our girls they are somehow less than….not as important….not worth as much money or effort…..

Is that really what you want them to hear?

Divine Feminine Girl Daddy Hubby Dude

I’m taking some time this morning to dig further into Sue Monk Kidd’s book, Dance of the Dissident Daughter. It is some really good stuff. Lots to process.

One of the most important things I have gleaned so far is how blessed I am to be in a relationship with a man who is very a-typical of the human male species.

The author talks about the expected rolls of women and how we usually end up being this and that and everything else taking care of not only the children in our lives, but the men in our lives, too.

I am not sure whether to be proud or feel guilty, but this is not something I struggle with. I don’t know if we are just the weirdo family or if my man got a raw deal. He certainly didn’t get his Italian mother in the exchange of vows. I think he got someone a lot more like my mother with a huge dose of “if you want it done, you’d better get on that one yourself!” and a splash of “where’s the mountain? Let’s conquer it!”

Case in point. I loved having my babies. I just didn’t enjoy the lack of sleep (along with a few other things). As a result, from a very early age, my children were empowered to get it for themselves, whatever IT might be. Hence there were babies in bed with us for a very long time. They couldn’t exactly crawl to their food supply, so I made it readily available without a ton of effort on my part.

By age four, my oldest was introduced to Mr. Toaster, Mrs. Butter, and Uncle Jelly. She was already operating electrical appliances. If the kid was going to get out of bed THAT ridiculously early on my only day to sleep late, she simply had to learn to take care of herself.

I rarely ask permission to go on a trip of some kind. Of course, I am not gone that often, but if my man isn’t going with me, it is simply a matter of remembering to tell him that I will be gone. There is no great drama. No wailing and moaning about how will we survive while mom is gone. Quite honestly, things always seem to run smoother with me out of the house. Chaos returns with me.

Not exactly what is considered normal for a traditional household.

I can’t really decide whether I’m okay with that or if it makes me feel inadequate. Hmm….

Okay. I’m over it.

Yes, they fend for themselves.

And my man does A LOT! He is probably the only reason my children survived passed their third month of life. Someone had to nurture them. It obviously wasn’t going to be me beyond supplying liquid sustenance.  This man can salvage a dying plant. He can take care of small animals. When I found him at age 29, he had plants and fish and candles and cats. I figured he was either a good catch for raising a family or he wasn’t overly interested in females. It took all of about two seconds to figure out the latter was NOT the case.

He also cooks, washes dishes, does laundry, vacuums, shampoos carpets, cleans up animal poo and kid barf, mows, landscapes, repairs, builds, does stupid science and art projects with my kids, fixes our vehicles, and performs taxi duties. I don’t tell him he has to do those things. He just does them. Because I don’t. At all. Unless there’s a blue moon. So once every couple of years maybe. He’s on his own. I show up for dinner. Maybe. And I tell him what an awesome guy he is. A lot. A whole lot. Like mucho a lot.

Did I mention his only vice is an addiction to cigarettes?  I stopped harassing him about that a long time ago. You’d smoke, too, if you were him.

So yeah. I may be coping with the effects of a male empowered world, but the catch I landed 20 years ago hasn’t oppressed my divine feminine spirit in the least.

And single guys? There are four women about to conquer the world who are growing up with the ideal that their daddy is just about as perfect as a man can get and telling them to do the dishes is unacceptable. They’ll do them if and only if they want to.

And they are some gorgeous, talented, and amazing women.

If you want their attention, you might want to come apprentice under my man for awhile.

They won’t be an easy catch.

Perspective of a Goddess in Training

I can’t resist posting a link to my eldest daughter’s blog. The title alone was intriguing. Her story relates to the battle that exists between conforming and telling her truth. In this case she conforms in person and tells her truth to the world. Kind of ironic.

 I Didn’t Get Dumped and Nobody Died

Miss John Deere Lives Here

I simply must get pictures of my other children, but they just don’t frequent my favorite photo spots as much as this one does.

Cowgirl thinks this is actually her Tonka Toy. As coincidence would have it, she was born quite close to Father’s Day, and occasionally her birthday lands on Hunky Farmer Boy‘s special day.

Last summer in the middle of a deluge, I ditched Saturday massage class and our crew headed the opposite direction in search of a Father’s Day lawn tractor. The existing lawn tractor was approaching 20 years old and there is only so much that bailing wire and parts stolen from another mower can do to extend the life of an old piece of equipment.

Cowgirl had her heart set on a green and yellow model, and after some research and price comparisons, we decided a John Deere LA175 would suit our needs and our budget for our modest acreage.

Of course any new “tractor” purchase requires a baseball cap. She managed to squeeze the salesman for a pink cap for her and little sis plus the traditional black farm cap for HFB.

Here’s where things get confusing. The green machine was actually Dad’s purchase on Dad’s credit card. That would suggest that any sister willing to learn to drive it and mow should have access to our version of four-wheelin’.

Not so. Cowgirl is quite the possessive one. If a sis wants to go for a spin, they are relegated to riding in the pull behind trailer. That works for Little Sis, but the 15 year old has some issues with Cowgirl’s constant claim to ownership. Cowgirl doesn’t have a problem with it at all. Stealing the key is a frequent strategy. After all, it was purchased for HER birthday. (No Cowgirl. It was actually HFB’s Father’s Day on which your birthday fell last year.) Okay, in all fairness, we might have gotten out of a $100 birthday party by bribing her with joint ownership.

Did I mention she mows this whole pasture? I guess that makes it hers after all.

The Clothes Line Murderer

This is my sweet man, Hunky Farmer Boy. He’s the lone source of testosterone amidst a sea of about five dozen females of various species. I think you’ve met previously.

This is Hunky Farmer Boy on his Tonka Toy. (This is where you hear the Tim the Toolman Taylor grunting sounds.)

Boys and Their Tonka Toys

My Hunky Farmer Boy with His Big Tonka Toy

For reasons never fully understood by me, HFB likes to use his Tonka Toy to pull things out of the ground. You’d think he’d get enough of that working as an electric lineman, but apparently not. Apparently, they put more poles in the ground than they get to pull out of the ground, leaving him somewhat unbalanced. So he has to spend his leisure time on the farm pulling stuff out of the ground. Big stuff. Or at least sorta big stuff. Most of the time, I’m okay with that, because as his director of operations (aka bossy britches wife), I am usually giving my approval to what he removes and often times I’m assisting in the process. Most of the time.

Sidenote: Men should never be allowed to function without a woman telling them what to do. It just isn’t natural, and truth be known, it’s dangerous. Someone could get hurt. Or worse. Get pee-ode. Like me.

This is the back yard of my wellness center/vacation home. It’s six blocks from the four bedroom mansion where we sleep.

Backyard Lake with Clothesline Pole

Notice the bright yellow clothes line pole amidst the lake of our recent rains. Sorta hard to miss, isn’t it? I did that on purpose. I like clotheslines. I haven’t used one since I was…oh…say….10 years old, but I like clotheslines. It’s a strange obsession.

Did I mention I like clotheslines?

I’m not sure why I like clotheslines. Since the incident last night, I’ve been trying to analyze why I like clotheslines. I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s representative of a piece of my childhood. Maybe it’s part of my obsession with wanting to be self sufficient. Maybe I get some sort of sick humor out of watching a sexy 6’4″ hunk of man hang himself or bip his noggin’ on it.

Whatever it is, it is serious. I like my clothesline. I’ve begged for one at the mansion for years. Never got one. My wellness center/vacation house came with one pre-installed. Someone loves me.

Back to Tonka Toys.

Did I mention that HFB does not share my obsession with clotheslines?

It’s a detail relevant to our story here.

HFB has mentioned pulling it up a couple of times. The first time, it was because you couldn’t see it. So I painted it John Deere Yellow. As evidence by the photo above, you can see it now.

He’s hinted that the edges of the cross pieces are dangerously sharp and it needed to go. I diverted that conversation with a discussion of options for padding the ends of the poles.

Then I did something really dumb. I left him alone with his Tonka Toy on a beautiful spring afternoon while I went to relax my mind in the peaceful tranquility of yoga class.

Note to self: Bad idea.

We all arrived back at the mansion at about the same time. Conversation initiated. I had purchased some books at Barnes and Noble after my date with strength and peace. He had tilled, and mowed, and hammered, and pulled the clothes line up.

Hunky Farmer Boy with the Big Tonka Toy say what?

“You did WHAT??????????”

Now realize, that I don’t get mad at him. I just don’t. It just doesn’t happen. I pout occasionally when things don’t go my way (okay I pout every time things don’t go my way), but there just isn’t much in this world worth getting truly mad about.

Except extricated clotheslines. Apparently. Yeah.

He might as well have ripped my heart out of my chest, sacrificed my first born, and sold the horses.

“I thought we agreed to pull them up.”

“No. YOU agreed to pull them up.”

“We can set them up farther back out of the way.”

To myself: There’s a guy for ya. Who in their right mind wants the clothes line on the east forty, three hundred miles from the house?

To make matters worse, my girls were witness to this rare, almost unheard of episode of psychosis towards my sweet, hard working man. (I say those things to remind myself that I really do love him, murdered clothes line and all.)

And to make things worse still, #3 daughter, to whom I had preached just hours earlier about getting over her “mad” with her sister, a mad she had nursed for well over 24 hours, began to preach to me about how I needed to get over it like I told her to do.

Child, I birthed you. I can snuff you out. Better choose sides wisely. Besides, this is different. This is my precious CLOTHESLINE!!!!

Don’t you have a horse to ride or something?

And so the evening wore on. I grieved over my poor un-anesthetized clothesline being ripped from its ancient roots. I grieved over being mad at my sweet husband for something so…..<gulp>…trivial. I psycho-analyzed what kind of sick human could overlook a thousand other reasons to be angry in over 20 years, yet let Mr. Helpful rip out her precious clothesline and she blows an aneurysm.

I thought about his offer to “replant” it elsewhere in the yard. That made my chest tighten up with resentment. It doesn’t belong elsewhere in the yard. It belongs where it was. Where it’s been forever. It belongs right smack dab in the middle of the yard where every 6’4″ hunk that walks through can be tatooed with a divot in his forehead.

No. Just forget it. It’s gone. My precious yellow poles are gone. Send flowers. Memorials to the Murdered Clothes Line Association are also appreciated.

And then……

Finally…….

A moment of sanity.

Simple solution.

Mr. Tonka Toy could just put them back exactly like he found them.

EXACTLY.

In concrete.

That’ll teach him to pull up my baby with is big Tonka Toy.

And in a few years when I decide I want that danged clothesline somewhere else because I’m tired of strangling myself on the way to pick tomatoes, I’ll be more than happy to acknowledge that he tried to move the thing years earlier, but had to put it back IN CONCRETE no less because the nutcase he married had some weird survivalist obsession with a stupid clothesline.

Because if Mama ain’t happy, no one gets to be happy!

Oh, and Hunky Farmer Boy is grounded from his big Tonka Toy.

That’s all I have to say ’bout that.

This Woman Knows Her Business

After spending the better part of two months dreading the upcoming horse show season, it arrived kicking and screaming early Saturday morning.

It was preceded by an insanely expensive shopping spree at Cavender’s where every last penny of Daughter #3’s stock show money (plus plenty of mine) was surrendered to their cash register.

And at that moment….the moment when this kid of mine put on the clothes, I was on fire and ready to go. The dread was gone. The proud mama kicked in. This kid totally rocks when it comes to horses. I haven’t quite figured out where she got it, but she definitely got it.

And she rocks the look. Time to clean my shotgun. Boys, back away from the Rodeo Princess.

Ignore the messy room. We have priorities at our place, and keeping bedrooms spic and span doesn’t happen to be one of them. Looking like a million bucks in the show arena is much higher on the list of most important priorities.

And while my cell phone photography skills leave much to be desired, you will most likely get the picture as to her talents. This kid is absolutely fearless…..at least when it comes to horses. That doesn’t mean she isn’t careful. She just isn’t afraid. Of anything. Except failure. She hates failure. More on that in a minute. Oh, and hats. She’s not a fan of the hat requirement.

Dang, she looks good on a horse.

Readers, meet Shorty. Shorty…our readers. Shorty is a roping horse. Fourteen years he spent roping, working cattle, chasing down the little boogers, and taking care of his cowboy. Then he came to our barn. Never saw a show ring before he met Amber, but she needed his speed, and I needed his lack of insane price tag. The combination meant that someone had to teach him a thing or two, and it wasn’t going to be me. That pretty much left one person to take on the challenge–a then ten year old kid who’d only been riding about year. Did I mention, she’s still only eleven? Five feet eight inches of eleven year old determined to teach a horse named Shorty how this gig works.

And have mercy, has this kid taught Shorty a thing or two! She has taught him how to setup and stand for showmanship.

She and Shorty totally rock the grade gelding class. Of course Shorty was once registered. Some poor sap made his ex really mad and she burned the papers. As a result, we have a rockin’ grade gelding. At 15, he’s still impressing judges every time he enters the arena. That gorgeous tail and mane? My beauty shop skills. Conditioner by Aussie. You should be very impressed.

She taught him how to swerve around barrels and poles and stakes. (Those pics are just too blurry to even post.)

And she is desperately working to convince Shorty of the value of giving her the correct lead when loping in Western Pleasure and Horsemanship. He’s beginning to catch on, but it’s been slow and frustrating to get there.

This is the “Mom, why do you make me show him in Western Pleasure when you know we suck at it?” posture. What can I say? The kid HATES failure. Especially when she knows she’s doomed to lose before she ever enters the arena. I told her it isn’t about winning this event. It’s about showing her mama, her uncle, and the other local dads who know of this horse’s (lack of) previous experiences that while those other kids can ride the one with power steering and an automatic transmission and win, she’s capable of driving the standard with no power steering and making it all work in spite of a stiff clutch. Yes, the starts and stops and turns are a bit rough, but they get better everytime she takes him in that ring, because she’s got what it takes. No, she doesn’t get the ribbon, yet who’s the better driver?

“Mom, you’re weird.”

Ideals are nice, but losing still sucks.

Then, the speed events roll around late in the evening. Barrels, poles, and stakes. And now that she’s the oldest in her division instead of one of the “babies”, she’s proving herself to be a force with which to be reckoned. There must be some sort of adrenaline rush when riding a horse that fast. All I can think of is the pain rush. Not this kid. The faster, the better, except when going around something like a barrel, then we prefer to slow things down just a bit. It keeps her inside the arena rather than in the stands with the crowd as almost happened last year when she started sliding off and that “roping” horse just stopped dead in his tracks. That’s what roping horses do, you know…stop when the cowboy starts to jump off????? That was a valuable lesson in centrifugal force. Or centripital….or some kind of Newton thing.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhKH2vE-oUU]

And now she wants a youngster. She thinks she’s got what it takes to takes train a futurity horse. I think she does, too. Please click the Paypal button now to donate to our Feed Amber’s Horses fund.

I complained to her red-headed uncle (who I blame for starting us in this expensive hobby and who says his hair isn’t red) about how slow this kid is when I want her to hurry up and do something. He proceded to inform me that this annoying behavior of not getting wound up or in a hurry about anything is precisely what makes her so amazing with animals. I’m thinking it’s the same behavior that makes her avoid housework in favor of getting grit in her ears mowing six acres on a John Deere LA175 mower. Ride, Forest, Ride!

Plus, she wants to learn to work cattle on a ranch. Enough of this pretend junk at a kid horse show. She wants the real deal. Ridin’ and ropin’ and stuff. And did I mention that she’s brought up the “C” word? Yeah..cutting. Red-headed uncle says I don’t have the denero to fly with that crowd.

Anyone want to adopt her for the summer? You won’t be sorry.

Intuition + Self Care + Intuition + Intuition = Perfection

Yesterday, I took the day off. I had good reason, but I could have easily pushed through and gone to work. Munchkin would have been fine at home by herself resting.

But I didn’t. Something inside of me said to stay home. Rest. Be with my kid. Read. Write. Rest. Cook. Rest. Eat. Rest.

I listened.

Wow! That’s a little A-Typical for me.

Plus, as 4:00 PM on Tuesday afternoon rolled around I typically would have donned yoga garb and headed to Amarillo for class. But I didn’t. I really didn’t want to.

Again, I listened.

And it was a good thing.

At 5:50 PM, a very nice lady called me. She was in significant pain. She was desperate for some relief. Any other day, I would have been in Amarillo, unable to help her.

But I wasn’t. I was here. I was rested. I was nourished. I met her at the wellness center and helped her body find some relief.

Intuition heard. Perfection achieved.

We wrapped things up and I sent her on her way, noticing storm clouds getting quite close. I quickly changed the massage linens, threw some things in the massage washer, tidied up, and headed back to the house as the lightning danced across the sky.

It was absolutely beautiful and majestic and powerful. Sacred energy from above.

Back at home, my preteen weather monitors greeted me with the current radar information. Intense rotation and tornadoes spotted from Happy to Amarillo.

I would have been in the midst of that had I gone to Amarillo. But I didn’t. I wasn’t. I was safe at home.

Again….Intuition heard. Perfection achieved.

Then as I was reflecting back on my days activities, I remembered an exchange on Facebook with a blogger whom I follow. I read her post yesterday, which was an unusually long one for her. I don’t know that I’ve ever commented on her writing. I’m more of a lurker. However, I left my comments for her on FB, and pretty much forgot about it.

Then I got a private message. She responded to me that my comments had been absolutely right. She shared the details. She was excited. I was excited for her. We exchanged some information and more encouragement.

Yet again….Intuition heard. Perfection Achieved.

Note to self: Listen to intuition more often. Especially when it says take the day to just chill out. Cool and amazing things happen when the space is made available for them.

We Interrupt the Regularly Scheduled Schedule for a Little Bit of Self Care

I am home today, ditching work/school. Funny thing about it….it was an easy decision. Usually it is an agonizing decision and unless I or a child is on our “deathbed”, off to work I trudge. Sometimes even a child on her “deathbed” couldn’t convince me to use those precious leave days. Often Dad has been relegated to stay home or the kids tough it out by themselves.

You can submit my nomination for Mother of the Year award now. I know….I’m a shoe-in.

But today was different. Yesterday saw some sort of stomach annoyance attempt to derail ME. I was tougher. I ingested my good gut bugs. I drank my kefir. I endured the labor-like waves of muscle spasm that would occasionally slap me into reality. I sat in my corner of the office away from anyone else, answering the phone, answering emails, and making only one out-of-the-office delivery. After all, it wasn’t that bad, just annoying…..all day….and still annoying this morning.

Then munchkin #4 comes stumbling into the living room this morning crying and holding the trashcan. What’s up with this thing? Preying on poor innocent children. Is she dying? No, not really. Same thing….labor pains. They come and go. Those things suck, especially when there isn’t a tax deduction when it’s over.

Then I looked outside. Cold and cloudy. That was all I needed. This would be my day to rest, read, write, cook, and take care of the only kid I have left who still willingly curls up in my lap. Time for some self care. Time for prioritizing appropriately for once. Time to release.

First order of business? Ginger tea with raw honey. Such spicy sweetness on an agitated digestive system. I was never one for ginger snaps or crystallized ginger, but ginger tea is nice. Must be all that other stuff they put in there to disguise the peppery ginger. Munchkin liked it, too.

Second on the list? Clean up the kitchen. Ugh. Unfortunately I’m not sick enough to get out of that one. It actually wasn’t that bad this morning (by our standards), so I was done fairly quickly.

Food? What’s one to eat when everything that touches the inside of your digestive system triggers the cramp from hell? Nothing. But we might as well wash that pesky little bug right out of our gut, right? That means soup. Broth. Maybe some nutritious veggies. A little bit of starch. This recipe. Hope it tastes as good as it sounds. I doubled the garlic. Everything should have double the garlic. Garlic kills bugs…and artery clogging stuff….and cold viruses….and friendships, but only if you forget a breath mint.

Now to find a good bread recipe for the bread machine. Whoever invented bread machines should win a Nobel prize for something. Those things are awesome. I’m thinking my egg bread recipe wins….because I have lots of those…..eggs that is. Thirty something laying hens pretty much ensures that I don’t run out of eggs and egg bread.

I suspect bread is one step removed from Elmer’s glue, but it is so flippin’ good. Especially hot. Especially with melted butter dripping through its little bread pores. Yeah. I’m thinking that’s not exactly on the top ten list of healthiest foods.

That’s just too bad. This is self-care day. The soup is mega healthy. It’ll wash down the bread and butter, and the Herculean peristalsis activity will probably remove them both prior to absorption, so it’s all good.

Truth Telling and Confused German Shephards

I admit it. Telling the truth is hard for me. No, no. It’s not that I am a pathological liar. Although I think I probably was….when I was five. But I grew out of that by the time I was about….uh…..married? And I only used it to get what I wanted……and keep my tail out of trouble. I usually got what I wanted, but I was lousy at that second part.

While lying isn’t a problem for me anymore, telling the truth, my truth, is painfully difficult. And apparently I am not alone.

Last night, I enjoyed a very nice teleconference with Ronna Detrick on Truth Telling in Extravagant Ways. She told the Bible story of the woman who annointed Jesus feet with expensive perfume and washed them with her hair. I’ve never before felt a kinship with this woman. I mean, according to everyone else who tells the story (everyone I’ve ever listened to anyway) she was the town prostitute: a very very naughty woman who had to be forgiven of MUCH sin. Hence all the theatrics. MUCH sin requires much drama and emotion and displays of affection.

Ronna told the story of a woman who was perceived by the community in a certain way, but who went to Jesus and told her truth extravagantly. She went to him and allowed her emotion to shine through…extravagantly. She revealed what was most true for her…extravagantly. She acknowledged her own feelings and reveled in the feeling at the feet of the most loving and kind teacher…extravagantly.

And for the first time, I had a reason to relate to this woman. She didn’t swallow up her emotions. She didn’t tell herself that he wouldn’t have time for her or that he wouldn’t be interested in her. She just went for it. She let him know exactly how she felt. She made her needs known. She told her truth, and she did it extravagantly.

I’ve raised (am raising) four of the most beautiful, courageous, and strong women. Power oozes from their veins. And yet, in some ways, I feel as though I am failing them. That strength, that determination, that “push through no matter what it takes” feminism has left them almost powerless to tell their truth. I can’t take all the credit for this. I assign plenty of blame to the expectations of middle class society.

Drama and hysterics are unwelcome around here. Rational, thoughtful conversation is prized. Not questioning the system is highly valued. Don’t be a trouble-maker is the undercurrent.

Truth-telling is rarely neat and tidy and free of drama. In our clan, there is a family gene for crying. Too often, truth-telling equals buckets of tears, and we all despise those tears. It means throats that seize up and swollen mascara-smeared eyes, and since men tend to look at a woman in tears with the confused German shephard look, it’s just better off avoided.

Unfortunately it also means passion pushed down, dreams set aside, stress bottled up, and unfairness allowed to go unchecked. It means resentment that boils and bubbles inside and eats away at our bodies. It means conflicted emotion and a feeling of being powerless. And it means walls get built around our hearts. Impenetrable walls. It sucks.

But why do we do it? Why do we squash our truth so completely in order to keep the peace, get along with everyone, and avoid conflict? Is it just not worth it? Is there some horrible fate that awaits our truth-telling?

Yes, and my girls have seen it happen to me over and over and over. They have watched as I have spoken my true passion only to spend the next several days, weeks, and months trying to pick up the pieces. They have seen the consequences of a world that does not value truth-telling. They know well the persecution and the childish back-stabbing that adults are capable of inflicting on non-conformers. And it sucks.

So how do I communicate to them that is is worth it to speak their truth? How do I model the benefits of owning and making known the “know-that-you-know-what-you-know” that’s inside? How can I show them that the tears are a part of the process and it’s okay to let them spill? How can I let them see that opening up and being who they really are is not only respectful, but admirable? How can I help them accept the fact that the disapproval of others towards our truth is not our problem, but that of the other person?

Guess I’d better model telling my own truth with confidence and emotion so they can see me grow stronger in the process.

Ronna, how big’s the couch in your office? Got space for five?

Natural-ly, Powerful-ly, Amazingly Smiley

Several months ago, I worked through a book by Danielle LaPorte called Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design. I rock when I am living 80% Natural, 20% Powerful. You’ll have to read it understand what that means. Trust me, it’s cool mojo.

This time of year really makes me want to step up to the plate and be authentically natural and supremely powerful. The new life, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and yes, even the wind. I thought it would be a fabulous time to share some things that make my world Natural-ly, Powerful-ly Amazingly Smiley.

Just think about the raw power it takes for one of these to push through the soil, stretching, climbing, digging, and POP! No makeup, no skin care routine. Just plenty of raw natural beauty.


Times 20 (-ish)


Can tulips shave? These beauties have a five o’clock shadow that’s just a bit obnoxious!

And then there are these tulips……

Nothing says natural powerful like flying pony tails, tiger socks, and being a foot taller than every other nine year old.

And if that doesn’t suffice……..

Smoking everyone down the court and banking it off the glass right through the net is pretty powerful. So is being a foot off the floor AND a foot taller than anyone else this side of the Amazon. See a pattern taking shape?

And what could be more naturally powerful than a beautiful day of sun……..

And raw feminine power smacking a tennis ball. I pity the poor dudes on the other side of that net!

If that’s not enough natural power, how ’bout some man-made power laced with some hunky man power?

Yeah….I know. I’ve used this shot before. What can I say? This man on this tractor, says natural powerful on a level that sends me into orbit….with no rocket boosters necessary.

I think I hear a tractor. Better head to the farm. Somebody needs me. <wink-nudge-wink-grin>


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