The Glimpse … and Awards

With five kids, not only have the last few weeks been filled with projects, exams, plans, costumes, banquets and like … but award ceremonies. So far, I’ve attended 2 banquets and 3 ceremonies with 2 more to go.

At one of the award celebrations, a gal I don’t know very well tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, “This is your book!” She and her husband were sitting behind my friend and me, watching every kid but their own bound up the stage. “You know – I’m happy for you?” And she laughed – sort of.

She was right. Every parent in the large auditorium was doing their best to be happy for kid after kid racing up the stage-stairs to receive their medal(s). After the first round, the stair race began to sound like a musical-percussion concert as the medals of multiple award winners clanked against each other in time with their steps up the stairs and across the stage.

At the end of the night an older lady (maybe a grandmother or aunt) paused and comfort-patted me on the shoulder. “I’ve sat through many a one of these where my kid didn’t get an award either,” she said to us. I tried to insert, “I really don’t think I care if mine got an award” but couldn’t because she quickly proceeded to say how life has been okay for her award-less kid. But even as she was speaking, I had a hard time hearing. The truth is – I had been fine until she said something. Now, my thoughts were now racing. Should I care that mine didn’t award? Is it that obvious? If this lady noticed no-award, is everyone else looking?!

My word. The answer is NO. It’s all good. Award/no award – there’s more to life, everyone’s life!

Next – I could do nothing but laugh.

About the time I’m walking into the house with Snopes from one such award ceremony, a friend from San Antonion texted me this … a Glimpse pic:

FullSizeRender-1

an end cap? Get out! THANK you B&N!!

But this is what’s actually going on at my house:

real life

make-shift water damage control

A different sort of snapshot. Point of the story – there’s more to the story than the Glimpse. And usually it’s the stuff behind the glimpse that actually matters.

Snopes and I cracked up when we walked in the house to this sight. It was Jon’s effort to stave off any secondary issues with a small water leak that occurred this morning when a kid took a shower without pulling the curtain completely closed. Nothing like going upstairs to investigate a strange “dripping sound” only to discover a very happy leisure-shower-taker peeking out from around the door, wondering aloud “how could that have happened?” The kid and I stared at a ginormouse puddle making its way across the bedroom and through the floor before quickly moving from wonder to damage control.

The bad? A fairly major water issue had found its way downstairs to the point of dripping through the kitchen light fixture. The good: We have some great kids who are so far from perfect, but eager to help clean up life’s minor calamities. The good: I have an industrious/conscientious/creative(?) husband who is going to go the extra mile to make sure everything is spit-spot dry. (At the top of his counter stool/Charmin/Bounty tower is a heater capped off by a heater and a garbage sack with a hole directed at the wet fixture’s opening.) The good: laughter – because, whether in the form of an award (endcap) or a water leak, a glimpse never defines the whole.

There’s always more to the story. You never know how badly that winner-kid needed multiple awards. You never know what one can learn from not winning. And – we don’t have to look very far to find someone in need of an encouraging word because award/no-award doesn’t define anyone. THE best is fickle and elusive – never enough because the instant it’s seen/achieved, it moves or begs for more. THEIR/OUR best is where it’s at … nothing more/nothing less … really.

What a great reminder as I sit and will continue to sit through award ceremonies – and as I’m faced social media highlight-reel pics prolific this time of year- that focusing on a bigger picture than the moment actually makes celebrating others much easier and genuine.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

-Kay

For your viewing pleasure a couple clips from The Middle’s Mother’s Day espisode: Clip 1 just says it all – our expectations in relation to perceived reality can seem so off. And make us feel less than ourselves. This clip is about Mother’s Day. But it could be anything.

And I love that the preceding was followed by the rest of the story.

May Madness – Tournament Bracket

Despite my letter a couple weeks ago politely asking May to take a small break this year, the month has come on with its usual vigor. So rather than sink into the stress, why not have a little fun.

Welcome to the 1st Annual May Madness Office Pool … or since we know that our cars are our offices, the 1st Annual May Madness Car-Pool. This tournament’s first rounds have come and gone (May’s crazy that way.) And, we’re waiting for one last Elite 8 face-off to produce a winner in order to get to our Final Four.

Just to recap how the teams have fared thus far:

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Sweet 16 & Elite 8:

As was expected, Orthodontist Appointment lost out to No.1 Seed, Teacher Gifts. OA, normally overlooked and quite often forgotten, was thrilled to make it to the tournament this year. But highly favored TG quickly swept past the easily-rescheduled Appointment.

In a welcomed win, Lunch with Friends edged out Celebrate Summer B-days to make it to the Elite Eight. Though Kids with Summer Birthdays absolutely get the shaft and should be celebrated during the school year, moms are standing strong. Holding on to the hope of all hopes that yes, they can and will find time in this crazy month of May to leisurely lunch with their friends. … We’ve just gotten news that Lunch With Friends planned a sneak move in effort to possibly beat out highly-favored Teacher Gifts! They’ve ditched “leisurely” and have opted instead for “quick-grab”. Referees are still reviewing the play.

Pedicure was no match for this year’s new entry End of Year ENO Party. Of course it was no surprise. Sandals will just have to wait as toes slip back winter shoes. But no one was sad to see the ENO Party handily win. EP organizers were no fools as they coupled the party with ENO hammocks – sneaking “leisurely” back into the mix. Leisurely, outside and most likely a park appeals to all involved.

Finishing out the left side of the bracket, Graduation Gifts fell quickly to Athletic Banquet. GG was just happy to make it to the tournament. Everyone knows gifts can be purchased and given in summer months. And as expected, Athletic Banquet sailed past newcomer ENO party and is waiting with great anticipation to see whether Lunch with Friends or Teacher Gifts will meet them in the next round.

THIS JUST IN: TEACHER GIFTS has pulled ahead to take the last Final Four spot. Refs called foul on Lunch With Friend’s and their quick-grab move. Sweet tea and chicken salad will just have to wait.

On the right side of the Draw, Camp Shopping is making a clean sweep. Fueled by kids ready for school to be over and parents secretly longing for some quiet moments at home, Camp Shopping is riding the wave. [Note: Camp Packing didn’t make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Should be interesting in a couple of weeks when the pair unavoidably meets.]

Healthcare providers everywhere were thrilled to see Mammogram making the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in history. But the ride didn’t last long. Calendar pressures and the surprise announcement “Mom – I need a costume – TOMORROW!” ended the appointment’s fine showing. It will accompany Orthodontist and Grad Gifts to a spot on June’s to-do list. Put it at the top people. It deserves it (and so do you.)

Mother’s Day, with it’s celebration at the beginning of May was easily trumped by Summer Sign-ups. But, even SS was no match for Camp Shopping who will meet School Projects in the Final Four.

Regardless which activity comes out on top of this mad-dash to summer, spectators and participants alike know that the force driving it all, yet never actually taking a spot in the bracket, is the CARPOOL itself. Because without a lot of driving from place to place to store to athletic event to school and back to school, none of it would be possible.

And this mom of a graduating Senior says enjoy every one of May’s crazy car-driving,trying-to-get-it-all-done-on-no-sleep minute because they go TOO FAST. Don’t for a second let May’s crazy take your eyes off all the good. And let’s celebrate the shoe-in winner of May Madness 2015: Teacher Gifts. Thanks for a great year of loving on our kids!

And thanks to all of you for walking this busy-time-of-the-year road with me. Here’s to finishing strong while taking time to savor along the way (and maybe sneaking in a quick-grab lunch with friends!)

-Kay

There’s more to the Jenner Lip-Challenge Lie

Hot news yesterday – Kylie Jenner confesses to using ‘lip fillers’ for plump pout as reported by countless media outlets.This from NY Daily News:

Her insecurity reflected through her fans, who tried their best to mimic her new look through the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, in which they suck on a shot glass or plastic cup for a few minutes to temporarily create the illusion of fuller lips, which are essentially engorged with blood. Some of Jenner’s devotees went so far they actually injured themselves.

Well, over the last few weeks when Jenner shared with the world her apparent secret to full lips, a lot of people cared and quickly jumped on the bandwagon to try their hand at beauty. Latching on to a free way for the common gal to be as beautiful, maybe as popular, as Jenner. But apparently, her beauty secret was a lie – which she just matter-of-factly revealed. There is so much wrong here.

Here’s Jenner:

kylie7f-6-webHere’s what happened to some of the challenge-taking girls: Kylie-Jenner-Lip-Challenge-LovebscottThe cost?: From Eonline:

“The new trend in trying to DIY lip plumping is quite concerning,”  Dendy Engelman, a dermatologic surgeon, tells Seventeen. “Not only can significant pain, swelling, and bruising result from these suction techniques, but there is potential risk for scarring and permanent disfigurement with repeated attempts.”

I don’t know about you, but those pictures make me sick to my stomach. I’m grieved at the core of my soul that girls would go so far as to damage their unique and true beauty in order to stake their claim by connecting with and trying to look like fame.

Here’s the rest of the story and why I dove into this toxic topic of comparison in I’m Happy for You (Sort of … not really): on the other side of what we’re duped into believing is beautiful or necessary or affirming – is a lie. Not only the lip-challenge, but all the other tricks of the trade. A lie that not only can cause literal physical pain, but much deeper emotional scarring. NONE of it is worth pursuing.

I have the conversation often with my daughters (especially on body image as they navigate the turbulent teen waters) but also with my boys (as they travel the same route – in the form of athletic accolades, cool, outward appearance – did you know men struggle with outward appearance issues as much as women?!) … and with myself! (My word, put the oxygen mask on myself first before trying to help those around.)

Here’s one of my conversations – an excerpt from the book that I hope will encourage you. And give you a mental reboot as you, your kids or friends are tempted by the world’s message that you have look a certain way to be okay. Because the truth is, we don’t. Even though we’re all just a flesh-wound away from Jr. High insecurities.

Each of us carries a mental mirror, a reflection of preconceived, often skewed ideas about how we look and how we should look. Our mental mirrors more often than not tell us lies that send a crushing blow to our contentment.

How is it that we give the mirror such power over us? In reality, it’s nothing more than a tool that functions in accordance with the law of reflection, which

“says that when a ray of light hits a surface, it bounces in a certain way, like a tennis ball thrown against a wall. …

With a mirror’s smooth surface, light reflects without disturbing the incoming image, which raises an interesting question: If mirrors preserve the images that hit them, why do they turn left into right and vice versa? Why not up and down? The truth is that a mirror doesn’t really reverse left and right. What mirrors switch is front and back, like a printing press or a rubber stamp. Imagine writing something on a sheet of paper in dark pen and then holding it up to a mirror. It looks backward, but it also looks the same as if you held it up to a lamp and looked at it from behind. Your mirror image is a light-print of you, not a reflection of you from the mirror’s perspective.

I love the concept of a “light-print” because that just might be the answer to my love/hate relationship with the mirror.

What if I switched mirrors? What if I considered my true reflection to be found in the way God sees me, not in how I see myself? What if I allowed my reflection to be informed by God’s light rather than the shifting light of societal values? Isn’t’ the message of each individual’s innate worth the one I really want to pass on to my kids? the one I should consider for myself?

My children entered life with a unique personality, on display almost the minute they were born. (Exhibit 1: a certain baby who came into the world on her terms after fourteen hours of hard labor continues to be nearly immune to the expectations of others.) So, too, their body types seemed predetermined to some extent. I’ve had to cajole and convince one of them that she’s 100 percent fine the way she is.

“Sweetheart, none of us look the same,” I struggled to explain. “Let me ask you a question.”

“Okay,” she said.

“Do you think I’m fat?” Okay, so I’m just going to say, that’s a scary question to float. My perception would tempt my thoughts to land on a pathetic yes. But I really do know better.

“No,” she said honestly. “You’re not fat.”

“All right,” I nodded. “Now stand me next to Mrs. Cash. Just for a minute think about her. Next to her am I fat?”

She didn’t say anything. Maybe afraid to hurt my feelings.

“Honey, Mrs. Cash and I have totally different bodies.” She is naturally thin. Her build is totally different from mine. “Her thinness has nothing to do with me. Her body type doesn’t affect whether or not I’m thin or fat. But sometimes we get stuck believing that a particular standard determines whether or not we are okay. And more times than not, that standard has nothing to do with us.”

She was thinking and digesting. I was wondering if any of it would stick. It’s hard being a young girl, especially in an era when people airbrush their own selfies to create higher cheekbones or thinner legs.

“You yourself said that I’m not fat,” I reminded her. “And neither are you.”

What if … we were to focus not on trying to fix the things that aren’t quite right but on appreciating the things we do have going for us.

(excerpt from the new release I’m Happy For You (Sort of … not really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison.)

What light is informing your reflection? Let’s ditch the lie and reach for Truth. Then share it with others in need who just might be sitting in the Starbucks or carpool line right next to you.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

-Kay

skinnyDon’t take that bait. Comparison has a nasty tendency to steal our joy.

A New Arrival

Today is a big day around our house. Well – it’s sort of a big day. It will probably come and just like any other day. Because life goes on. Carpools are run. AP Exams are taken. College decisions are still blurred a bit by indecision. Dinner will likely be take-out. And I will probably forget be somewhere or call someone back or quite possibly pick someone up. All that’s regular around here.

The not-so-regular is what makes today the tiniest bit special. And I want to THANK you guys so much for bearing with me during the process and more than anything for walking the road with me.

I’ve heard folks say that publishing a book is like having a baby – which I guess is true. But in our house, there’s one thing that is VERY different than the majority of births in our home – this addition has a name. (Believe it or not, one can actually leave the hospital with “Name” left blank on a birth certificate! Which we did on multiple occasions.)

Even in the naming of this project, I didn’t have to go it alone. Which has made the process of writing it a true pleasure. This book is not only my story, but your story (which many of you literally shared to be in print.) Thanks to you, none of us has to travel the challenging road of contemplating or taming the issue of comparison alone.

And, I’m excited to officially introduce the latest addition – out and available TODAY.

I'm Happy for You 2From the back cover:

Tired of performing? Feeling weighed down by the pressure to be Pinteresting? Does your friend’s wardrobe, body, marriage, paycheck, vacation plans, or photoshoot-worthy home décor leave you wishing your life looked more like that?

 You’re not alone.

With its focus on smarter, faster, thinner, and ever-better, our cultural obsession with comparison is undercutting relationships and sapping contentment. Our friends become our audience (or judges), and our titles, activities, even kids become part of our brand. Factor in social media’s constant reminder of what everyone else is doing, and no wonder we feel drained, discontent, and isolated.

Thankfully, we don’t have to live this way!

What I like best is the not alone part. So, thanks for walking this one with me. And for putting up with me. Especially this week as I harass you here and on social media in obligatory promotional efforts. Which I don’t love, but I will happily do because I am as passionate about the topic of comparison as I was (still am) about the topic of entitlement that spurred Cleaning House.

Because, every time we compare ourselves – whether to others, to societal standards, to measuring up, to expectations, to … fill in the blank – our focus is on ourselves and we lose something. With relatively new venues, like social media, comparison seems to be on steroids. It’s hard to escape – not only for us, but for those for whom we care – especially our kids. It touches everyone, and it’s not new.

Which is where together is SO important. I loved that a friend of mine who might have gotten an early copy emailed me this:

Hi Lady!  Just a note to tell you that I started reading your new book!  I finished Ch2…and love it!  So true about comparison stealing my joy.  Can’t tell you how many times FACEBOOK has given me that tinge of jealousy…envy..etc etc etc.  I typically flip through it in carpool/dentist office/ etc.  Yesterday I was about to do it….and decided to move it to it’s own very last page on my apps….and that way I can prepare my brain to be on HIGH ALERT for comparison envy! 

I love that. What a practical way to quick-check our mindset before taking a stroll down High-light-reel Lane, a road that tempts us to think that what others have or are doing somehow defines us. It doesn’t. Social media isn’t the issue; our relationship with it is. With my mind in the right place, I can actually have fun catching up with and celebrating  friends.

And thus the name. I’m Happy for You. If I can get beyond (Sort of … not really) and actually mean it, my eyes move from me to others – in a healthy way. Which really is the secret sauce of life, something along the lines of the Greatest Commandment (loving others).

Blah-de-blah-blah-blah. Tired of me yet? I’ll stop. But be warned. I might be insufferable this week with a little pulling back the curtain on comparison stuff.

Anyway, I hope you feel inspired to check it out. And should you like it, and feel moved to write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads I sure won’t stop you.

Now the obligatory links (cringe) – The book is available for purchase from any of the following e-retailers or your preferred local bookstore.

(For those in my neck of the woods – Rick & Susan Lewis are just up the street from us at Logos Bookstore in Snider Plaza. I just might have some special treats at the check-out counter for anyone who stops there this week :)

AND – should you feel moved to accompany me down the weird road of book promotion, I’d sure love the company. See below.

Most importantly … THANK YOU! I really mean it. I just can’t imagine, and would never want to, go it alone.

:) Kay

 

Social Media Share-ables: calling out rather than fueling comparison.

I hope these memes can help us laugh at it all. Here are a few with a couple more to come. Click (might have to download/save) and share (or connect with me) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or kaywyma on Instagram and share from there. (Remember, I’m technologically-challenged, too – so I may or may not have a clue about the ease of doing any of those things!)

Slide2skinnyParental One-upmanship

Tomorrow (which might mean Thursday :) I’ll have a link to a fun sneak-peek.

Until then….