Monday, May 30, 2011

Sing...Sing a Song

Oh, blog how I have missed thee. I have been so busy lately that something HAD to give and well, I guess I spun one too many plates and the blog went on hiatus (again!) for a little while.

I wish I had a built in notepad. Like when an idea strikes me while I'm in the middle of making dinner or teaching Sunday school or watching swimming lessons, I could just tap my right ear, speak my idea and it would be recorded for posterity (and later use as a blog entry). But alas, I have no built-in micro chip (that I know of) so when I think of any idea, I either have to write it down super fast (then lose the written note) or try REAL hard to emblazon the thought in my brain so I will remember it later.

Fact is...neither of these options works very well for me. So all those fab ideas I concocted whilst super-duper busy the last several weeks...yeah, that's right. They're gone. So I think I will just hop back on the old 30 Days bandwagon and pick up where I left off:

Day 10- Songs you listen to when you are....

When I am what? Stuck in an emotion? When I find 10 minutes to myself, alone, at home? I do listen to music but find the older I am, the less I am driven to listen to particular songs at particular times. I listen to what I like. As I review this list however, I see I am fervently stuck in the 90's. Many of the songs that really mean something to me...songs that awaken a place deep in my soul...come from that period. But not all of them. Some are new(er). I find I listen to new(er) music because of the young(er) people I work with. They tend to listen to the latest in alternative-type rock. I'm just along for the ride.

I do love Pandora internet radio. I have some 90's stations and some new(er) stations. I have some jazz and even a sneaky Christian music station. That's a nod to my friend Nate who claims Christian music is sneaky because it sounds good, you like it and then...BAM! turns out they are sneaking Christian lyrics in there. However, my favorite worship songs are unabashedly about Jesus.

So, here it is. My list of songs I listen to when I am...

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkin Head-XTC
Janglin'-Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

I Can Only Imagine-Mercy Me
Sour Times-Portishead
Love Will Come to You-Indigo Girls

Man in A Box-Alice In Chains
I Will Not Be Moved-Natalie Grant
Girlfriend-Matthew Sweet

Gray Cells Green-Neds Atomic Dustbin
Chasing Pavements-Adelle
Leave the Pieces-The Wreckers

How He Loves-David Crowder Band
Revelation Song-Phillips, Craig & Dean
Fall On Me - Kat Regester

Wide Open Spaces-Dixie Chicks
Crazy-Patsy Cline
Constant Craving-k.d. lang

So unless I figure out a way to get that notepad microchip installed, I will probably continue on my 30 day quest. Don't laugh because you know it's been nearly 7 months and I've only made it to number 10. See you soon with Day 11- Long term goals for this year/5 years from now/10 years from now.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oops! I did it again

Day 09 - Something you’re proud of in the recent weeks

For lack of something to write about in this specific category...I think I shall do the exact opposite: Something you're not so proud of in recent weeks. Get ready. This could be a long list.

Somewhere between trying to be all I can be and actually pulling off the "Mom of the Year" award I have failed. I failed to maintain the high level of housekeeping that would make the Flylady beam with pride. I have failed to maintain even the smallest effort at eating better. I have failed to control my temper and I have failed to keep up with the laundry. I have failed to color code my socks and I have failed at keeping up with this blog.

Okay, I don't really color code my socks. But you get the idea. I sometimes feel like I am walking around with a big red FAIL! stamped across my forehead.

When I think of all the things I didn't do I have to wonder: what the heck HAVE I been doing? If my list of things not accomplished continues this way...I don't know what I'm going to do! Maybe I am doing things without realizing what I'm doing. I remember reading that book Sybil when I was a teenager. Sybil had multiple personalities and would sometimes take off at night and lead a double life. She had no recollection of what she had done or where she had been but there would be evidence of her activity the next day. Maybe I'm like that. Except I'm having trouble finding the evidence.

I have been tempted on occasion to track my every waking minute to see just where the time goes. I've even downloaded a spread sheet and flowchart for just this purpose (I know you're shocked!) I have done this kind of thing in the workplace. What I learned from the experience is what I thought would only take me 20 minutes actually really took an hour.

So maybe that's the answer. Maybe I think I'm doing lots of things but it turns out it's really taking me much longer than I think so I am running out of time and not even realizing it.

To be fair, I really should fess up and share what I have been doing so maybe I can get to the bottom of this. Here's what I remember:

Monday: I'll be darned if I got one load of laundry started or got even one dish washed. I spent the evening at a VBS meeting. Very productive. I finalized plans for several of our teams and I got all the info I needed to order our craft supplies. I learned we have some very talented young people in the church and some resourceful more mature folks too. Oh wait. I might be a teensy bit proud of them.

Tuesday: I made baked ravioli and garlic bread. The pan might still be soaking in the sink. I then argued with She Bug about why she should eat said ravioli and she argued back that she doesn't understand why I cook food she does not like. I then shuttled Miss Bug and her brother to gymnastics. He watched, she did back hand springs and walk overs on an empty stomach. I worked on more VBS details until the gym coach came to the waiting room to get me. "She's doing so great. I use her as an example several times each class. You have to come see this." Oh wait. I might be a teensy bit proud of her.

Wednesday: I didn't get any laundry, dishes or VBS work done. The day started with Mr. Bug phoning me with news of a friend suffering a heart attack. Then Mr. Bug's mother found out she had a 75% blockage in her heart. Angioplasty cleared the blockage but she had to stay overnight in the hospital. The next morning as we were walking out the door, we got news of a close family friend who had suffered an accident that left him with a brain hemmorage. There seemed to be bad news everywhere and we were in a hurry. The Wee Bugs both said "we should stop for a minute and say some prayers." Oh wait. I might be a teensy bit proud of them.

Thursday: I was so tired I dozed off while the Wee Bugs were watching cartoons after school. I did not get dinner ready. I did not do any laundry. I did not do any dishes. I did not work on VBS. What I did do was lounge on the couch while Mr. Bug made dinner and reminded the Wee Bugs to do their homework. We watched Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. Then the Wee Bugs and I cuddled on the couch to watch American Idol together. Mr. Bug checked on two of our three hospitalized friends, cleaned up and sent me to bed with the wee ones at 9pm. Oh wait. I might be a teensy bit proud of him.

Friday: Well here it is Friday night. Mr. Bug is spending the night with his mother who is home from the hospital. Our heart attack friend is in stable condition and our brain hemmorage friend was released today also. The Wee Bugs are tucked in for the night and I learned an important lesson: it's not the dishes or the laundry or the dusting or the condition of our toilets that really makes a difference. What matters is that I live the life I was created to lead. It matters that I spend more time thinking about the state of my heart than the state of my kitchen. It matters that in a profound kind of way being proud of something is really like being grateful for something.

I am grateful for the church folks who are willing to give their time and talents.

I am grateful for the coach who teaches my daughter and for the daughter who takes advice and practices faithfully.

I am grateful that my children have listened and learned that at the first sign of stress we should stop. And pray.

I am grateful my husband picks up my slack and treats me like a princess sometimes.

I am grateful I serve a loving God who does not condemn me when I make silly mistakes like thinking I am a failure because I didn't get the laundry or dishes or whatever done.

Oops! I did it again. I set out to convince myself that I have failed and it turns out the only thing I have failed at is proving that I'm a failure.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

thinking too much

I know it's been a long time so don't fall over when you see this! Whilst I am recovering from an unexpected bought of bronchitis (is there ever an expected bought?) I thought I might put my time to good use...or at least do something beside wheeze and cough my fool head off!

So, without further's the latest in my installment of 30 Day Blog Posts (okay, more like 30 Week):

Day 8: Short Terms Goals for This Month and Why

I will admit the delay in posting was not entirely based on my internet connection problem. My friend Ang (over at hit the nail on the head the other day when she said "stop thinking about it so much!" In other words, quit over-processing the topic and get your butt in gear! So, my internet connection has been restored and I am attempting to just "get on with it".

1) Goal #1 - School. Well, it's May. So that means finishing the school year with a bang instead of a slow fizzle. Already The Bugs are getting antsy and want to let their guard down. The only good thing about all the rain we've been getting? It makes the kids less inclined to think it's already summer. When it's a soaking wet 42 degrees outside and Noah's working on the ark in the back yard, it's hard to get really excited about summer fun like the pool, riding bikes, sidewalk chalk and popsicles.

2) Goal #2 = VBS. It's coming. Soon. And I'm in charge. I seem to have difficulty getting volunteers for this fun summer-time event. I don't think that's necessarily a personal failure, I just think there's a lot to distract folks...especially in the summer. This year we are doing a program called "Chase The Light". I'm excited about it! It's sort of a Glee (for the G-rated set) meets summer camp experience introducing all the Misfits from the Bible whose lives were forever changed when they met Jesus. So, if you're not busy June 20-23 from me. I have a place for you!

3) Goal #3 - Get Back on the Wagon. So you're wondering about the old weight loss journey? Yeah, me too. I did visit the dietician twice and I did try some supplements that were, meh. Bleh. Blah. Not so tasty. I have to admit I have not really been paying attention these last few weeks. I will step up and put blame where blame is due: it's my evil co-workers who are determined to see how many sweets they can possibly bring to the office in one day! No, really it's all me. I'm the one who has to make the decision to make this work. Or not. It didn't help that my insurance company denied my dietician visits and now I have a $250 bill to pay.

4) Goal # 4 - Get Back to Reality. I mean real reality. Not just reality television. I am so keyed up about all the shows that are heading to a finish that my mind cannot keep up. I've always been a loyal follower of Amazing Race but this year the kids sucked me into Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. Now I also catch Undercover Boss and the last hour of Celebrity Apprectice (what happened this week?!?) We need a calendar just to keep up with which show is which night. Thank goodness things are coming to a close. But, wait...there's more! So You Think You Can Dance will kick off just as soon as these others are wrapped up. Would somebody please get me off this crazy reality merry-go-round?

5) Goal #5 - Get A Clue. There's always those other goals floating around in the back of my noggin. You know the ones that are always there but that are rarely ever ALL achieved at once? Work more on my marriage, try to be a better mom, spend more time with Jesus (and less time with the television-see Goal #4), cook more real food, floss more often, drink more water and the list goes on and on and on. Having more on my list doesn't make me a better person. Oh, wow...think I just found my clue!

So, there you have it. Installment number 8...just for you Ang. I didn't think about it, I just let it fly. So no guarantees as to the cohesiveness or readability. This is what you get when I just jump right in wherever my brain happens to be. So, I'm not going to think about it anymore...

Well, maybe I should write a little more. Or maybe I should just start over. Or maybe no one really wants to read what I have to say. Or maybe I will just not hit the PUBLISH button or, um, maybe I'm just thinking too much?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

much ado about nothing

So we are sorta between internet connections at home...thus the unexpected "Spinning My Plates" hiatus. So, please accept my apologies and bear with me while I try resolve our technical difficulties. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you

I immediately thought of my twin bugs and the shift in my thinking once I became a parent. But then I thought no, that's too cliche. Then I thought about Jesus and my relationship with Him and how that's impacted me but I couldn't find a picture that wasn't too hokey and funny looking. I thought about putting my hubby...then my family. My co-workers, my friends...all these people have had an impact on me. And all in a good way. But I looked at the subject again...impact doesn't necessarily mean good and could, in fact, be bad...very bad.

I think quantifying "biggest" is quite difficult. I have been impacted by lots of things, in lots of ways. Was there one that was bigger than all the rest? biggest? hmmm...I'm thinking, I'm thinking. If I could turn back time and change one moment in my life it would definitely be that day in 1985 when I shattered my right knee cap. A few days short of my 16th birthday, if I could have just stepped down off that curb in a different way, in a different spot. That one moment in time has forever changed my life. I know that sounds melodramatic and possibly even a bit contrived. But from where I stand, that one thing, that motion, that step (or rather misstep) has had the biggest impact on me.

I never completed proper physical therapy. Maybe it was because my parents were too busy running their restaurant to get me there 3 times a week, maybe I was a petulant teenager who thought she knew better. Either way, my leg did not heal correctly and now some 26 years later I still can't use it properly.

Am I bitter? Perhaps. I don't spend lots of time thinking about it but when I look at my daily life most everything I do is shaped by the fact that my leg does not bend or extend fully. I have to sit with the seat back as far as possible in the car. Getting in the passenger side of most cars is tough. I sort of have to lean over into the driver side to get my leg in. That's not in and of itself a big deal...unless there's someone in the driver's seat. It's especially awkward to put my head on someone's lap if I am not intimately familiar with them...if you know what I mean.

I cannot sit in the backseat of a car. I cannot ride a bike or rollerskate. I cannot kneel. And now in my old age the deterioration caused by osteo arthritis is making life very difficult. I use a cane some times and I ride a buggy at the grocery store. I have a tough time getting up and down. I know I appear to be the laziest person in the world but really I'm not. I just know that getting up and down will hurt. I also know that standing will hurt and walking more than a few steps will also in fact be painful. Oh, I take meds and yes, they take the edge off...but short of getting a new knee I will not know physical activity without pain for the rest of my life. I have a handicapped placard hanging in my car and I feel more like 72 than 42.

Now, I know what you're thinking because my doctor thinks the same thing. If I wasn't overweight I probably wouldn't be having such a hard time. And that's probably true. But how do I change something that's been with me my whole life? I don't know how else to be. I have tried all manner of weight loss programs and I always come to the same end: it's easier to do nothing. That nothingness offers instant gratification. If I do nothing well then I can't fail at nothing.

But, it appears I am at critical mass (ha, ha). My family doctor has never given me a hard time about my weight. He knows my issues and he knows I am for the most part an otherwise healthy person. But, I made the mistake of going in for a check up. I had no complaints I was just there to get a prescription. That's when he sprung it on me, "I think it's time we do something about your weight."

So to make this long rambling story short(er), I have started on what is most likely the 467th journey to change myself. To recreate who I am from the inside out. I am seeking professional help and more than the number on the scale...I am watching and waiting for the loss of my body to bring a gain in my mobility. For when there is less of me there surely will be more getting around. I promise not to bore you with all the gory details. But you may find my writing makes a shift in perspective.

I'd like to invite you come along on this journey with me. I will need all the help I can get. I can't make promises but I can tell you that if I keep doing what I always did, I will get what I always got. And that's a whole lot of nothing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

that's really super, supergirl

Day 06- Favorite Super Hero and Why

Again with the difficult challenges! So difficult I missed my Tuesday posting deadline and here it is Friday. Thank goodness for a Snow Day so I can catch up! I don't know much about super heroes except what I've learned from 8-year old He-Bug. He (and his uncle) are particularly into super heroes. My interest, however, never went beyond wanting Wonder Woman Underoos as a kid.

I have seen quite a few super hero movies in recent years and at the risk of showing my ignorance I will confess that I'm not sure whether its a chunk of kryptonite or a radioactive spider that causes problems. According to He-Bug, I just have my movies all mixed up.

I've been thinking about this topic and even took a poll among the super hero inclined to see what really makes a super hero...well, super. I also took a quiz. You now, one of those "Which Super Hero Are You" quizzes. I didn't like the results.

After much research I have formed this hypothesis: what makes super heroes super is that they are larger than life. They can do things no ordinary human can do. They stand on the side of righteousness and work for truth, justice and the American way, right? Hmmm. Yeah, I guess I don't really have a favorite SUPER hero.

However, I have developed a deep affinity for one real-life hero. This hero is frequently called into action. She is quick to respond and eager to serve. She never stops until all the work is done and, unfortunately, she does not have a really cute costume. She is more than super...she is real. She's got every block on her calendar full, she kisses boo boos with one hand while wiping spills with the other. She teaches math and spelling all while folding laundry and keeping the whites truly white. She does dishes and pays bills. She stays up all night making cupcakes for the school bake sale. Who is this creature of habit and glutton for busy-ness? Why of course, she's Human Doing.

I have a soft spot in my heart for a band few people have probably even heard of...XTC. This British band helped me make it through the 90's. Their music is good, their lyrics are thought-provoking. You know, two great tastes that taste great together! They have a song dedicated to a super hero and well, it's not really a very nice song. Essentially the author is telling Supergirl that she stinks as a real hero. She's fantastic at saving the universe but when it comes to caring about the people who love and admire her, she's a big FAIL. In essence, she's a fake. She works really hard doing stuff all the time but when it comes to nurturing relationships...she's no hero. She's a big fat zero.

This has always been one of my favorite songs. So when I started thinking about super heroes it immediately came to mind. Upon further reflection and digging deep into the lyrics, I see this song as a great warning. This is especially true of us mothers. We (I) become so absorbed in doing, that I rarely ever spend anytime just being. I am Human Doing.

This warning is especially time sensitive for me. My kids are past the "need me every single moment of their waking hours" stage and I see them hurdling closer and closer to the "won't give me the time of day" stage. I don't want to be so caught up in doing stuff that I wake up one morning and Mr. Bug says "yeah, that's really super, saved the universe but you forgot to watch our kids grow up."

So, there's my answer: Human Doing is my favorite hero because I so relate to her. But I'm going to try to learn a lesson or two from XTC's Supergirl.

til next time,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

living on the edge

A Picture of Somewhere I've Been

This was a particularly difficult challenge for me. I guess I am not very place oriented. Well, at least not a specific place or trip or vacation. I do feel a certain kinship with places that are in nature. I wouldn't call myself an outdoor person but I like to be in fresh air and sometimes that means just sitting in the back yard with my evening coffee (of course not this time of year!)

I have a thinking spot I visit when the weather allows. It's a secret place so I won't reveal the location (and I don't have a picture of it) but more impressive than the look of the place is the feeling it evokes in me. It's mostly quiet but there is a railroad nearby that sometimes intrudes on my solitude. There is small body of water and lots of trees and various woodland creatures. My favorite time to be there is when the weather is just beginning to get frosty. The leaves are still colorful and although I like being in the presence of nature I tend to stay in my car. Inside it's toasty warm and I have the windows down just enough to get a whiff of that autumn breeze. I am sometimes brought to tears when I think of the beauty and simplicity of nature. That the Creator had the foresight to make all these earthy tones and breathtaking colors. It puts a little tingle in my soul. I feel giddy and very loved when I am in my thinking spot.

However, there is another place that brings out some of these same feelings in me. It's a place that I have never been alone. I have only ever been to this place with Mr. Bug. We started going to this place before there was a Mr. or Mrs. in our relationship. I have seen it in different seasons each with its own unique look. Winter is perhaps the harshest time of year in this place. But also what some might call the most beautiful. It's as though time is standing still. I love how the ice is frozen in motion. A little eerie but somehow it’s also quite beautiful.

Then there's this view when the grass is green, the trees have leaves and the wind blows the waves towards the shore's edge. Who knew the city once known for its burning river had such a beautiful green space? This is Edgewater Park and we visit it whenever we get to Cleveland. There are usually groups of kids and grown ups flying kites...wind permitting. I am not talking about the 99 cent kite at the drugstore...I'm talking about the coolest box kites and hi-tech wind catching devices I have ever seen.

This place holds lots of memories for me and Mr. Bug. Before the He-Bug and She-Bug arrived we used to be the jetsetters. Making it to the nearest big city for a weekend jaunt whenever the whim struck. We never left the continent and actually only left the country once...but just long enough to drive through the tunnel to Windsor, Ontatrio. We started visiting this park in the mid '90's and I'm ashamed to say I don't think I've been there in the last 5 years. I have three favorite memories of this place. Nothing spectacular...just special moments that have stuck with me for the last 15 or so years.

Our first trip to Edgewater we walked along the rocky edge and set up shop just a little ways down from a Spanish-speaking family. We rolled up our pant legs but we were too far up to reach the water. We basked in the sun, held hands and enjoyed listening to our neighbors. I'm not sure where they were from but they were all fishing. And they were having a ball. They had a little radio playing music, picnic sandwiches and bottles of pop and I swear every member of the family from Great Uncle Pedro to the tiniest brown-skinned baby was there. I remember thinking there was no place like this in Columbus (where we lived at the time).

Another time (when my legs still worked...mostly) we climbed up a craggy rock formation that was covered in a spindly kind of brush. There was really no where to sit and be comfortable. We had brought a blanket but neither of us remembered to bring it from the car and we were too exhausted from the trip up to venture back down and up again. Should've known then that we were destined for out-of-shapeness! This spot was particularly secluded and I was really ticked when I realized we weren't going to be able to enjoy this spot for a little romantic interlude like in the know what I mean. The couple on the blanket rolls around in the dirt or grass or other nature spot. They look like they are having the time of their ahem, adult lives and you're thinking that CANNOT be comfortable. Yeah, trust me it isn't. And it's even worse without the blanket!

My third memory is from a warm, but not hot summer day when the breeze was blowing but not too hard. We were a little early for a hotel reservation so we were killing time. We headed to Edgewater and pulled into a spot that was on a grassy bluff overlooking the beach. We were a little jetlagged from our trip and decided to catch a few winks while we had the time. We both reclined our seats and started to snooze. I was not fully sleeping...just enjoying the hazy feeling of relaxation when something tickled my nose. I opened my eyes and found a a yellow leaf sitting on my chest. It had floated in on the breeze. Mr. Bug must not have been sleeping either. He looked over at me and said that must be a sign, a symbol of something special. I looked down at the beach while twirling the leaf in my hands. That's when I saw it...a wedding. On the beach! I felt like a spy peaking into their private moment. I'm sure they couldn't see us and we wouldn't hear them but we knew what was going on just by the looks of things...and it was something special. I still have that leaf in a little acrylic box stashed away with my other keepsakes.

From time to time I have wished to live on the coast and well, Cleveland is as close as this Ohio girl will ever get. There's a cool art deco house that peaks over the trees behind the park. I always thought it would be so cool to have that be able to watch the boats and waves, to enjoy the trees and greenery of be right on the edge.

Photo Credits: 1) Cleveland Daily Photo Blog, 2/18/07, 2) By Htarbor at

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the rest is still unwritten

Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have

Well...just one? This will be a bit of a challenge. There are so many to choose from...all different shapes, sizes and colors! Hmmm...well, to get started let me fill you in on a little secret. Are you ready? It's a doozie and one you would never in a million years guess about me...okay, here goes:

I'm overweight.

I know, I're shocked!

Of course this is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about habits. Obviously, I've got some issues with the wrong habits where this topic is concerned. And let me say for the record that I wish it were a big, fat secret (pun intended). I wish I could hide the fact that I have a love affair with food that goes beyond all reason. I wish I could hide the fact that my body has been ravaged by time, injury and disease. I wish I really was telling you something you didn't know. This habit I wish I didn't have: ignoring the fact that I am struggling to live up to my potential.

And, as I mentioned before...there's more where that came from.

I also wish I didn't have such a raging temper and seething anger. The Apostle Paul said it best in Romans 7:15, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Can I get an Amen?!? I am so caught up in doing what I don't want to do that I barely remember what it was that I actually WANTED to do in the first place! Human nature is a funny thing (thanks Adam and Eve for starting us down that slippery slope). I often try to reason with myself. I am not justifying my habit of quick temperedness, but rather trying to decide how in the heck did I get here when all I really wanted was to listen to, support, love, treasure, encourage and edify those around me. Maybe David Byrne and The Talking Heads were onto something with their song Once in a Lifetime. "Well...How did I get here?" and later, "My God, what have I done?" Yes, what have I done by unleashing this habit on those nearest and dearest to me?

I wish I had more time to spend purusing the depths of all my habits (bad or otherwise). But alas, time is not on my side. My wise blogging friend Ang reminded me that this process...this putting-it-all-out-there exposure should be first and for most for just one person: ME. A voyage of self-discovery if you will.

Answering these 30 Day Challenge questions has really forced me to take a step back and observe myself rather than just live in my own skin. It's not always easy and it's not always fun to be truthful. But it's just the beginning. And thanks to Natasha Bedingfield, Danielle Brisebois, and Wayne Rodriguez I'll leave you with these parting words:

No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

attached to another by feelings of affection

Author's Note: The Icemegeddon of 2011 konked out the internet for the day...hence my delay in posting on Tuesday as promised. So, without further delay...

These might be pictures of you...well, maybe if you're reading my blog and you happen to be one of the people pictured here. Then, yes, these are pictures of you. Otherwise, these are pictures of my friends. A rather ambiguous group. This "Pictures of Your Friends" challenge was a hard one for me. It was not specific as in "people who influenced you" or "friends who've seen you naked". There was no direction really...just pictures of your friends. There are so many people I want to include. I am very blessed in that I have always surrounded myself with people who have helped make me who I am. That doesn't always mean everyone I meet is a friend but it does mean I have learned to dicipher those who are keepers from those who are not.

I used to say I was a quality over quantity type person. But the truth is I have a great quantity of really great quality people in my life. Some I see more often than others and some have the privilege of being family as well as friends but in the end, they all have one thing in common. They are worth knowing. They are worth investing my time and energy into. They are sometimes nearby, sometimes far...but always close to my heart.

As She-Bug likes to say...this is my BFF #1. It cracks me up that she grades her BFF's by number. But I remember the mind of a second grader...and are we so far removed from all that? This is my sister, Stephanie. She's 4 years younger but we have been mistaken for twins at times. She is the first person I call in times of crisis and in times of bliss. She spoils my children rotten and she keeps me grounded...often protecting me from my worst enemy: myself.

This my beloved, Mr. Bug. We have known each other since the day he hand delivered a letter to me in response to my letter answering his personal ad. That was 1993. Wow...that seems like a loooooonnnggg time ago! I am very blessed to have this man in my life. He and I are NOT like peas and carrots...we are more like liverwurst and rutabegas. We're unconventional and almost always polar opposites. He tends to be the sensitive, caring big picture person. I am the cut-to-the-chase mired in the details person. God must have known we would need each other to exist in this world. We drive each other crazy and we would do anything for one another. Isn't that what successful marriage is all about?

This is me and my girls. Together with my sister (whose lovely manicured hands you see in the lower right) we are THE foursome. This is Kara and Lori. They are like family. Kara has been friends with my sister since they were sneaking around and lying about going to basketball games in high school. Kara is my sisters bestie. Lori has been friends with my sister since meeting her through a friend she worked with many moons ago. My sister is Godmother to Lori's son. It is no accident that both these women came into my life via my best friend. I love them like sisters.

This is my work family...err, uh friends. These are the people I spend most of my waking hours with. There are others not pictured...Ryan, Bud, Deedee, Sharon, Kymm...too many others to name. They really are like family. We all know each other's business which (for the most part) is a good thing. We encourge each other and bring out the best in each other. It was a pleasure to be part of the Graphics Team at DG for the last 6 years. And I owe a lot to these folks for giving me grace as I have made the transition to the sales department. They make my job easy. And they love Chipotle just as much as I do!

This is Kristy and Todd. We don't see each other much but they are two of my oldest and dearest friends. We have been friends since junior high/high school. We are like old socks...soft and comfortable...we just fit. We can pick up where we left off even if it's been six months or a year since we've physically seen each other. The advent of Facebook has made staying in touch easier but we still don't *see* each other much. And FB has put me in touch with folks I never thought I would talk to again. But still these two remain the people I look forward to seeing (with my eyes) and talking to (in person). They are pieces of my past that make occasional visits to my present. And they love sushi just as much as I do!

Is that all? No, I'm sure there are others I have forgotten to mention. I love that I can keep in touch with other high shool friends: Jeff W., Dawn V., Tom H., and old college friends: Chris T., Sara H., and Sandi F. Sometimes when I talk with these folks on FB it's like I'm right back there. I am 16 or 18 or 20 again. They keep me young these friends. No matter how often we chat nor how in depth we get I still get to call them friends...because after all, I am attached to them by feelings of affection.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

sneak a peak

There are a few little housekeeping issues I'd like to take care of here at Spinning My Plates.

I have decided in an effort to keep myself on task (and to avoid leaving my loyal readers hanging) I will commit to making a post every Tuesday. I am making no promises about what time on Tuesday but as always I will post a link on Facebook when the post is up. If you want to be sure there's a new post when you pop in, you should check in on Wednesdays :-)

And speaking of loyal readers...I hate to admit it but I need a little pat on the back every once in a while. I really appreciate all the comments I've been getting on Facebook but unless you comment I am not sure just who is out there reading my two cents on the world. If you are a regular reader or even if you are just checking things out once in awhile...would you do me the favor of becoming a follower? There's a handy dandy link located on the right side bar. That just let's me know who's out there...and that what I have to say actually means something to someone. You don't have to comment but at least I will know you're out there.

So, here's your sneak peak at this week's post: according to the 30 Day Challenge it's supposed to be Pictures of Your Friends. I'm thinking this might be a bit challenging for me. I'm not sure I have photos of everyone I want to list. But in any case, I will do my best.

More later,

Friday, January 21, 2011

service with a smile

Day 02- The meaning behind your Blog name

Well, considering I had the name decided long before I had the guts to take the plunge into blogdom I guess the name must have a lot of meaning. Spinning My Plates is, to be short, sweet and to the point...a Polaroid snapshot of my life. It's all those pieces and parts that make up this wonderous, amusing and yes, I'll say it...sometimes a pain in the rump life. But it's my life. Mine, mine, all mine. I am not unhappy doing what I do although the look of concentration on my face may be deceiving. I am sometimes so caught up in the mechanics of keeping it all together that I miss the beauty of the fact that all the elements of my life are whirling together in a collective ballet of insertia.

I was, for a long time in my life, alone. I was 28 when I married my husband. Until then my life consisted of pretty much just taking care of myself. Oh, sure I was still a daughter and sister but I had always been those things. It just came naturally to fulfill those roles. But being on my own made me somewhat...what's the word? Oh, yeah. Selfish. I learned a lot about myself before I got married or had kids. For this I am glad. I learned that I like to be alone sometimes...that hanging out in a clean living room with a candle burning, book in one hand and good coffee in the other holds much more pleasure for me than going to a bar or other public place. This is the ME plate. Think of this as a divided dish; comprised of 4 sections that are rarely equal: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.

Mr. Bug and I waited a long while to get married. It took us four years to find out how to live for another person, to put our own desires on hold sometimes for the sake of being a couple. Then we got married and we did this strange dance of holding things together. Giving a little, taking a lot. Suddenly it was not just me. I had to consider how my decisions affected someone else. This is the US plate.

Five years later, after a lot of frustration and even more prayer, along came He-Bug and She-Bug, two little things that have changed my life more profoundly than I could ever imagine. I became responsible for keeping two additional human beings alive...yikes! I had to be wise, judged, coached, strong, selfLESS and so many other things. And I still have to do all those things. But I love it. This is the MOM plate.

Where do we go from here?

After those 3 rather large dinner plates, I have some salad plates spinning out there. There's the FAMILY plate that is really important to me but that I sometimes pay less attention to in order to achieve all the things in my care. I adore the time I have with my 61-year-old mom, my almost-still-a-newlywed sister and the other assorted nuts that fill out the extended family tree.

There's the CAREER plate that seems way less important than it did when I was single and had nothing else to live for.

There's my HOBBY plate that consists of scrapbooking and outlet for creativity and a chance to get away and spend time with the gals in my circle.

There's the CHURCH plate. This is a bit of a confusing one. It is a plate all unto itself because I have commitments that I have stepped up to fulfill. I like serving and love being a part of church family. But this is not my JESUS plate. More on that later.

There's the SCHOOL plate that is directly related to the MOM plate. It includes school activities and extra curriculars. Of course I have this plate because I am a mom but being a mom is a much bigger job than just volunteering for the PTO.

There's the FRIEND plate teetering on the brink of being smashed to bits. I have really let my close women friendships go to pot. And the funny thing is I didn't even know it until I started thinking about some of the questions in this blog challenge. Who am I closest to? I hereby publically apologize to all my favorite gal pals for dropping the ball. What can I got in the way. I think I'll see if I can get that plate spinning at a better pace.

There's the VOLUNTEER plate. This one is sometimes whirling at break neck speed and others it's a laxidasical rotation in danger of coming to rest. I put time into causes that I believe in and where my gifts can best be used. I'm a bossy know-it-all, I admit it. But that's not a bad thing if you're organizing a fundraiser or trying to round up volunteers.

Let's that all?

Well, that's all I have to keep spinning. I mean I pretend to have it all together but really that credit goes to Jesus. Once I learned to turn it all over to Him (and yes, I do steal it back from time to time) I realized I am not really the one in charge here. I am not the commanding officer. I am not the manager on duty. I am quite simply... a servant. Think of me as a waitress at God's Diner. He's back there slinging the hash, creating the best delights for the people. All I do is carry my plates and give service with a smile.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

too late to turn back now

Taking a cue from Ang over at Random Ramblings, I have decided to try a 30-day Blog Challenge. Let me say for the record that this will not be 30 consecutive just ain't gonna happen. I have plenty on my plate (get that? plate. hah!) without the added pressure of blogging everyday.

So without further ado, here is my first topic:

Day 01 - A picture of you and 10 interesting facts about yourself

1. My grandfather won the lottery when I was in second grade....$250,000. Big bucks back then.

2. I am the oldest of 3. I have a sister who is 4 years younger and a brother that is 8 years younger.

3. I met my husband through a personal ad...his not mine. I answered his ad by letter and the rest, as they say, is history.

4. I have always wanted to learn to play the cello.

5. I used to be a vegatarian and would be happy to do it again (except for cooking separate meals and all that jazz.)

6. I have been diagnosed with several congenital bone deformities including Madalung's Deformity in my wrists (my ulna's too short...yeah, that's what she said), Parr's Defect (missing a portion of my L5 vertebra) and most recently Coxa Profunda (my hip sockets are too deep...which apparently is an open invitation for severe osteo arthritis to take up residence in my pelvis.)

7. I love Japanese food and British television but not necessarily at the same time.

8. I am a slave to procrastination...but I'll tell you more about that later.

9. I wish I could go back in time to January 16, 1985 and change the course of history. (Shattered my right knee cap that day and things have never been the same.)

10. Tomorrow is my birthday and I intend to treat it like any other day: being grateful for all that I have, all that I am and all that I hope to achieve by the grace of God.

Wow! 10 already? I could do this all night! There are so many other things I want you to know. Well, not just you but you know, the world. I want there to be something left behind when I leave this world...something that says I cared about people, loved life (for the most part) and tried to teach my kids as much as possible about not repeating my mistakes. I spend way too much time second guessing myself...worried that I forgot to do the right thing or failed to avoid the wrong thing or that maybe my slip is showing...that maybe my soft, vulnerable emotions are hanging out for everyone to see.

oh, well...too late to turn back now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the best of servants

“A habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.” — Nathaniel Emmons

Thanks to simple mom (over at, I've been thinking about my habits. Can we ever put the notion of a habit to good use? You know, the act of doing something so mindlessly that we don't even realize we are doing it. Can we really learn new habits? Simple Mom posed this same sort of question on her blog post. She writes:

"Kaizen is a Japanese word that basically means continuous but very small change. This idea can really increase the momentum needed for habit change, because it works up to change gradually - kinda like baby steps.

I’m not into zen at all, but I don’t think this is necessarily a spiritual concept. The truth found in the Bible - “you reap what you sow” - can actually be applied here as well. If you choose to continually cultivate soil and plant good seeds, your reward is a good crop.

And how this Japanese word applies to the analogy is this - a farmer doesn’t fertilize the soil, prepare the land for planting, plant the seeds, water the soil, and continue nursing his crop until it’s ready for harvest all in one day. He does these things a bit at a time, and after patience, work, and forbearance, he is rewarded with a bountiful crop."

I've been mulling over this little thing called kaizen because I have been thinking about making some changes in my eating habits. A few years ago I stopped eating sugar and using kaizen is how I did it. I didn't give everything up overnight but little by little I made changes...changes that lead to a 25 lb. weight loss over several weeks. I have always battled with my weight (really, always, since my earliest memory) and I cannot be sure how many times I have lost 25, 40 or even more lbs. only to gain it back again.

In addition to eliminating sugar, I also began to plan my food everyday. It is a simple concept but one that never occurred to me before I started doing it. I have kept food journals several times in my life and they always felt like a burden…a big ball and chain to carry around. It was like someone was lurking over my shoulder watching every bite because I knew if I ate it I had to write it down. I would even resort to lying and cheating on my own journal! I always felt so guilty when I ate something I shouldn't have. This dysfunctional relationship never lasted long and sooner rather than later, I would give up the journal and the diet.

When I was writing a food plan everyday, I always wrote the plan BEFORE I ever ate a single thing. Usually I wrote the plan before I went to bed so I was ready for the next day. I tried to choose things that I knew I had on hand. Finally there was no more guilt for eating things I shouldn't and after doing it for 6 months, writing my daily food plan became a habit. Or so I thought.

Somehow, some way I fell off the perverbial wagon. And it happened in the same way it started...little by little. I let in a little sugar here and a little sugar there. I got too busy and didn't write my food plan for a day or two and then it was over. My success was replaced by that slow moving tortoise called failure. It didn't happen overnight but at some point it was wasn't a habit anymore and the old behaviors were back in my life.

I'm not sure why I have had this same pattern of failure in all periods of my life but I sure would like to break the cycle. To find freedom in doing something that works and then making it a habit. A habit that sticks around longer than six months and proves to be the best of servants rather than the worst of masters.

Friday, January 7, 2011

are we there yet?

I have been giving my friend B. a hard time about counting down the days until Spring. His fervor for longer days, budding trees and warmth from that glowing orb in the sky is quite extraordinary. Personally, I found his attitude a little too anti-Christmas for my taste. However, now that the holidays have passed...I'm thinking he just might be onto something.

Our house has been plagued by one illness after another for the last several weeks. It started way back in December the day before Christmas break for the kids. He-bug got up in the middle of the night with the upset stomach. He made it to the trash can in the hallway but missed on his second try and christened the wall in our bedroom. Five days later I lost my voice and had the worst throbbing-below-my-eyes headache ever. A quick trip to the doc, 5 days of antibiotics and some nasal spray later I was pretty much back to normal. Then on Jan. 1 She-bug started vomiting in the middle of the night and continued for a good 4-5 hours. We spent the next day in bed sleeping it off and then Jan. 5 He-bug started the v-word (again) at 5 in the morning. He spent the better part of the day with his head in a by his side doing what I could...which amounted to nothing. I could only watch and feel sorry for him.

In addition to all this, Mr. Bug had a fever, intestinal difficulties and some tooth trouble. We all have suffered in way or another. Finally on Thursday I thought we were past it all. Mr. Bug had his rosy cheeks back, She-bug was full of spirit and He-bug was eating solid food again. Then, later in the evening I started to lose my voice...again! I am now froggy throated and quite tired of being sick and tired.

I have decided I need to invent an anti-germ know, similar to the flea bomb. Set a big can of Lysol down in the middle of each story of the house, set it off and leave for a few hours. Maybe then we would be free of all these germs.

So to that end, I draw this conclusion: winter stinks. Cold, wet and germy is not my idea of fun. To my pal B. I say, please forgive me for giving you such grief. You are on the right track. Counting down the days 'til Spring is a great idea. All I have to say is...are we there yet?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

great expectations

So my first foray into the blogoshere wasn't so bad. Unlike some of my friends who are doing Project 365 photo blogs...I actually have to come up with words to fill my space...a tall order, I expect, on some days. The new year has brought with it a big batch of expectations. For instance: I expect it to be a better year financially, I expect the kids will behave better, I expect the house will be cleaner, I expect the laundry will finally be caught up. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I expect that so many things in my life will just magically get better after midnight on Jan. 1?

The back to school routine started yesterday and the morning was a total fail. We did not pack lunches, I did not send lunch money, He-bug (that's blogger code for my son) did not get his daily medication, She-bug (yes, you guessed it...code for daughter) was personally wounded that we left the house 15 minutes late and Mr. Bug (the hubster) was a bit behind on scraping the windows of the vehicles. All in all I was ready to walk back in the house and flop down...clothes, briefcase, coat and all...right in the middle of the bed and forget the day had ever begun.

So, being the industrious person I am, I only went to bed last night after making every effort to be prepared for a better morning. I expected it would be a better day. So when the clock went off this morning the first thing I did was spend a few minutes praying...asking for peace, wisdom, strength and the super human ability to smile while getting the slow poke He-bug & She-bug to get a move on! I am delighted to say that for the most part there was major improvement. We had our lunches already packed (no need for milk money since we packed juice pouches with lunch-yay us!), She-bug, the timekeeper, was very pleased when we headed to the van at exactly 7:10 and He-bug actually took his pill.

I expected the pill would work...only better this time. It's a new (bigger) dose of meds that help him concentrate and exhibit some form of impulse control. So far, second grade has been a bit of a challenge for him. At the doctor's direction we decided to start this new dose in the new year. From the beginning (which began near the end of first grade) we have been cautiously optimistic. The meds helped immensely in first grade...not so much in second. In addition to the meds we have had the healing prayers of wise people poured out on the He-bug. And, finally we see improvement.

Remember Monday's failed morning routine? He-bug missing his meds meant he struggled all day...thanks to this mama-bug's hurried post-holidaze. He didn't complain but when it came time for homework later than evening...there was a major melt down. Whining, crying and nashing of teeth ensued. This is not unusual. He-bug's meds wear out in the late afternoon leaving evening wide open for all sorts of issues...I am used to this struggle. Ok, maybe I had been used to it...but two weeks off makes a mama very forgetful.

So tonight when it was time for the dreaded H word, I expected there would be a similar experience to yesterday. I was plesantly surprised. He-bug brought his back pack to the table, took out his folder, separated the homework from the 3,000 other papers he brings home everyday and proceded to get a pencil. Then he informed me he would need a ruler to complete this assignment and promptly found one. The he sat down and completed the first four questions without any assistance from me. [insert amazed, glazed look from Junebug here!]

I expected the worst and got, well...nearly the best homework experience we have had in almost three years of doing homework. I presume the stronger meds are lasting longer and I have faith that He-bug is being healed...even if in little bits and pieces. I praised him 'til his little face turned red and planted as many kisses as a mother can on a squirmy eight-year old boy. I expect tomorrow will bring an equal if not better experience. Now that's a great expectation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

comparing myself

am I the only person on the planet that doesn't have a blog? well, okay I know what you're saying...junebug you are writing on a blog this very moment. ah, yes. so true. but this is the first post that will ever make it to be least I think I will publish it.

who knew 20 years ago that we would have the ability to publish at will? to live in our own little worlds, talking about whatever we want to feed our need to be the center of the universe and then make it public for the entire universe to read? I mean I still remember rubber cement and tool line tape. That's how we published in the old days.

I read several blogs on a semi-irregular basis. They have a variety of topics but most have the same thing in common...they are very personal. They are sometimes written from the author's deepest, darkest nooks and crannies. I sometimes feel like I'm intruding. Other times they read like a highly creative and intensely descriptive resume. I find myself comparing my life with their life and coming up short. I wonder how do they have the time to do this (blog entries) everyday? I can barely manage to keep my family fed and (clean) clothed on a daily basis. I go to bed thinking about tomorrow and I wake up worried about the day and it's always the same worry: there is not enough time.

so I treacherously enter this new world. should I start a blog I cannot keep up (like so many I visit that haven't been updated for weeks or months)? should I bump something from my life to make room for me to spend time writing about myself and my family (you know like give up doing laundry or cooking)? whatever I decide I fear I will still feel left out...I will not be "one" of them whose lives appear to be always smooth-sailing, filled with hours of creative thinking and spectacularly organized and clean houses. oh, wait there I go comparing myself again.