Hallelujah Highway

Celebrating the Journey

Purple Crush~ Kristi

Purple Crush“When we send our kids to play organized sports—football, soccer, swimming, whatever—for most of us, it is not because we’re desperate for them to learn the intricacies of the sport.  What we really want them to learn is far more important: teamwork, perseverance, sportsmanship, the value of hard work, an ability to deal with adversity.  This kind of indirect learning is what some of us like to call a “head fake….  [the] head fake… teaches people things they don’t realize they’re learning until well into the process.”  (39)  from The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

I have placed my daughter in sports since she was eighteen months old.  At first, sports practices were spent chasing her on the soccer field in the mommy-and-me soccer program.  Then, we moved into basketball through parks and recreation.  Her first season was spent twirling on the sidelines, climbing the miniature basketball hoops, and trying to scale the curtain that separated the courts.  She would dribble down the court, pass, and commence her signature “baller-ina” antics.  The next basketball season she came back with a vengeance and was the most aggressive player on the court.  She decided she was going to take down anyone—boy or girl, friend or foe—who had the ball.

Over the years we have progressed into AYSO (soccer) and NJB (basketball)—both are leagues that are competitive, but not too competitive.  For some reason, age ten is the magic number where it seems reasonable for more competitive leagues, like club.  At this point, I want her to: enjoy the challenge of sports, have fun while learning the fundamentals, make good friends, and to falling in love with the game(s).  I am committed to reminding her she doesn’t have to be perfect player and developing her into a well-rounded athlete as I am not willing to focus her to one sport despite the teammates that do.

Last winter, she decided that she wanted to play softball.  We signed up at the local grocery store, tried out, and were placed on a team—Purple Crush.  I found the $200 to buy the helmet, left-handed glove, ball, and bat.

The first practice was a shock.  At the end of the first practice, her coach asked the huddle of girls, “What sized trophy do you want?  BIG or little?”  The girls screamed, “BIG!”  I knew participation ribbons and guaranteed playing time was gone.  This was a more competitive league, and Jaylah was entering the sport later than the other sports she has played.

Her coach was intense.  He demanded a level of focus from his players that was not in my daughter’s bouncy, energy-everywhere repertoire.  In fact, I decided when she was in first grade that my job was to enforce “focus” in her seven hour school day and I vowed that I would not scream at her in the after school activities for focus.  Her coach did and it was a daunting task to hold the protective momma bear at bay, especially at the game where he ripped her out of right field and benched her for not paying attention.  Her lips and shoulders sagged in shame as she sat in the dugout.  As a former athlete, I knew this was a valuable lesson, but I wanted to run in to the dugout, hug her with arms of acceptance, and whisper how awesome she was in her ear.

Her U8 (under 8) team was young and inexperienced.  We had two six-year olds moved up from tee-ball and most of the girls were seven.  Almost half of the girls were rookies.  The girls’ practices in the beginning looked like a good blooper reel.  The coach reprimanded the girls for not getting in front of the ball, not putting their gloves in the dirt, for not putting their back foot on the chalk of the back of the batter box, for throws that were ten feet to the left or right.  The assistant coaches ran hitting stations while the coach ran fielding practice.  A mom or dad would catch the pitchers.   Everyone worked hard—parents included—two times a week for two hours.

During the season, we lost more games than we won.  The girls were humble and kept working.   Slowly the girls stopped hacking at pitches that were over their heads and swinging at pitches that were in the strike zone.  The outfielders, my daughter included, started backing up the bases so when the ball was overthrown, a girl was there to chase it down.  The pitchers threw more strikes than balls.  We were improving, but not winning consistently.

The last two games of the regular season the girls bats came alive and we won.  A mom leaned over and said, “This is the perfect time for the girls to peak.”  Despite our peak, playoffs started with a disappointment.  We lost.  In the team meeting after the game, the girls wanted their team cheer to be “Championship!”  The coach snarled, “Yeah, the championship from the loser’s bracket” and changed the cheer.  The parents laughed.

But then, we started winning.  Three games in one long, arduous week.  We gave team after team their second defeat, which knocked them out of the playoffs.  The girls would show up, warm up, hit, field, run the heck out of the bases, and cheer for each other.  We started thinking, “What if we were champions out of the loser’s bracket?”  We were getting closer and closer.

On a very warm, 95-degree Saturday morning, the girls showed up to play a six-inning championship game from the loser bracket.  Our team took an early lead.  4-1.  12-2.  Then, the other team started catching up.  At the bottom of the sixth inning, it was 12-11.  Bases were loaded and there were two outs.  The hitter hit and the girl playing second base caught the ball off the bounce and threw it to first base a few milliseconds before the runner hit the bag.  The throw was slightly off and the girl playing first base dropped it.  The other team won and crushed our ‘champions out of the loser’s bracket’ dreams.

At the team meeting after the game, the coaches and parents put on their sunglasses to hide the welled up tears of pride.  Our girls, huddled together in a circle of softball sisters, had improved so much.  My daughter learned how to throw a ball, which revealed an arm that could throw from right field to home plate with pretty good accuracy, and hold a bat that would not swing at pitches that were too high or too low.  Each girl had their little triumphs and improvements, which almost caused an upset.

I am grateful for the coaches who spent countless hours running drill after drill.  When one coach would yell at a girl, another would step in after, pull that girl aside, explain what they could have done differently, and build them back up.  I appreciate that the girls showed up to every practice and ran the same drills that reinforced the fundamentals with focus.  They played every game with heart and worked on implementing what they learned.  They supported one another with cheers and little dances.   I am thankful for the parents who drove 15-miles further to a field that would have room for all of the stations two to three times a week.  Each parent stepped up and had a job.  Some were snack bar moms and scorekeepers.  Some were team moms and some got the meaningful coaches gifts.  Some sat on a bucket and placed ball after ball on the tee.

This was the season that I have prayed for.  My daughter learned what it takes to be a part of a team with remarkable chemistry that never gave up, worked hard with focus, and had fun playing the game of softball.  Also, she felt the sting of a second place victory, but the satisfaction of knowing second place is an admirable place to be.  This team’s legacy will be the standard to which all other teams will be compared.  Congratulations on your 2nd place victory, Purple Crush!  I am beyond proud of you and your accomplishments.

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A softball sister hug with Coach Dan

Purple 2

Jaylah and her proud momma (after the championship game)

 

 

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Reprieve. Rest. Reflection. Revamping. ~ Kristi

Reprieve.

Rae and I went radio silent on Hallelujah Highway.  Not intentionally.  More of what Rae said: “I have a few pieces written, but I am not feeling them” and what I said: “I am so far up essay grading’s butt that I have nothing written.”

Then, the holidays hit.  We chose to be present with our families who get pushed to the back burner more times than we would like to admit as we juggle the responsibility of being working moms and writers.  We needed downtime to refuel because exhaustion gagged our muses.  We had no words.

Rest.

On our reprieve, I rested.  I numbed out on the couch watching reality TV while shoveling home baked Christmas goodies in my face.  I took nap after nap.  I read a book I actually wanted to read, not one I was required to read because it was a part of one of my classes.  I spent time with my extended family.  I was able to just be with them without writing, grading, or work deadlines looming.  I worked out.  I danced my butt off on New Year’s Eve.  I got a massage.  I visited friends and had deep, soul level conversations.  In other words, I turned off my computer and engaged with the world.  It was glorious.

Reflection.

As I rested, reflection summoned me to the summit of a figurative mountain.   If I looked behind me, I could see the journey of 2013.  There were places that were arduous, times I fell flat on my face, and many miraculous moments .  Mostly, I could see that despite the moment-to-moment grind of the climb, I had conquered the lessons of friendships that were fundamental to me changing, buying and moving into a new home, telling my daughter some hard, yet necessary truth about her life, daring to be more vulnerable and opening up to love—most radically, opening up to unprecedented level of self-love, choosing a new teaching assignment that has pushed me way out of my comfort zone, confronted some deep, deep fears and false beliefs, created a tribe of woman writers who have supported me and my writing, and prepared to say goodbye to the security of my second job.

Reflection asked me the hard questions.  How did I express love this year?  Did I forgive?  Did I stop—really stop—and enjoy life?  Did I seek out adventure and play?  How did I stretch myself to learn and grow? How did I share my good with the world?

Revamping.

As I figuratively stood at this summit and looked forward at 2014, I realized I didn’t want to make any resolutions.  I don’t want to be a slave to my goals or resolutions anymore.  I just want to enjoy the journey and enjoy the spaces between too many “have tos” and “musts.”

Our presence on the blog might be affected by the revamping.  Rae and I have decided to let our writing be more organic and less about making a Wednesday publication deadline.  For example, this post was almost complete last week, but I was helping a friend in crisis and didn’t have time to finish it.  This week I did, and here it is.  A week late.  [And the blog gods did not smite me!  LOL]

Hallelujah for the journey of 2014!

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Rupture. Then, Resilience~ Kristi

Rupture 2

 

My last post chronicled Rupture—a profound, emotional shattering of my expectations for my next (unborn) baby.  Rupture caused a week of barely sleeping, which left too many hours stewing in intense emotions in the dark.  Rupture left me sobbing the cry that contorts my face into the most unbecoming positions one night after work.  My daughter tried to offer comfort by hugging my sobbing shoulders with a worried, what-can-I-do-to -help look in her eyes—a true moment of mothering vulnerability.   Rupture forced me to walk into work the next day with red, puffy eyes that left my team teacher and students asking, “What happened to you?”

Rupture didn’t care.  Rupture forced me out of my ego’s version of the pulled together woman and placed me in a space of bottomless pain, darkness, and sadness.  Rupture needed to burst the awesome bubble I keep in order to avoid facing things I am unwilling to process.  Rupture needed me to feel the feelings of longing that I had suppressed for a long time.  Rupture needed me to evaluate my actions and make sure they were in alignment with the vision I held for my life.  Rupture was here to push me out of my comfort zone and into a space where I had no control.  All I could do was surrender and be.  I had to let Rupture rip through my life and obliterate what it needed to.

Rupture was like an erupting volcano.  Explosive. Hot.  Transformative.

Rupture was ugly and messy.

Rupture was necessary.

I had to trust that God had sent Rupture for my evolution and that Resilience would follow.

Some of the friends who read my essay reached out.  They could feel the pain and wanted to help.  They wanted to know what they could do, but I didn’t know.

A friend sat with me in my classroom after school and we talked about Rupture.  He pointed out the blessings of my life—I have a beautiful daughter and a peaceful home, I get to affect and influence over 170 students on a daily basis, and I have an amazing family and supportive friends.  All true!  I know this on a deep, intimate level, but it brought me no solace.

Over the years, I have learned my friends have different strengths, which serve me in various ways.  But, Rupture exposed Truth about two types of friends I have:

One type of friend needs me to be happy, alright, and in a good place.  This kind of friend needs me to be in my awesome bubble because they know how to connect with me there.  This connection is co-dependent because we feed off of my happiness and light.  They leave our interaction a little more uplifted, and I leave our interaction thankful that I didn’t have to be vulnerable.  I could just project happiness and light and not expose that I battle my darkness too.

Then, I have friends who will climb down into the muck and mire of my shitty-swamp and sit.  They know that my muck and mire has nothing to do with them.  It is a creation of my darkness.  As they sit, they hold lanterns of light that help illuminate the path out of my darkness.  They hold up mirrors that reflect my brilliance back to me when I forget.  They hold space for me to grow and pray for my evolvement.  Most importantly, they trust me to return out of the muck and mire because they know that Resilience follows Rupture.  They trust that God is working in me and allow me my process even if that means allowing me the privilege of Rupture.

Henri J.M. Nouwen writes:

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

Resilience has beaconed me from my shitty-swamp.  Like a white lotus flower, a symbol of “in-light-I-was-meant” (enlightenment), I have budded out of the dark muck and mire and bloomed towards the light.  In a season of thanks-giving and gratitude, I am beyond appreciative of my friends who don’t need me to be happy all the time, who allow me to be with my uncomfortable feelings, and who trust me and Resilience.  It takes courage to allow a beloved friend to be authentic, real, and genuine and not every friend has that gift.

Lotus

Resilience reminds me on a daily basis—if it is God’s Will, my next baby will be in God’s anointed time and not my appointed time.  I am not perfectly healed from Rupture as there is still heaviness on my heart from the thought of not having another child.  But, Rupture came to do what it was intended to do, which was to obliterate my expectations and Resilience is making room for God’s Will.

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Empty the Cup~ Kristi

Cup

 

Last week instead of the typical staff meeting, we had some professional development.  Dr. Ernie Mendes presented some principles from his book, Empty the Cup Before You Fill It Up.  One of the cornerstone concepts is simple:  in order for a teacher to teach a student, especially a teenager, he or she must understand that students are like a cup—full of raging hormones, overwhelming life experiences, and unprocessed emotions.  If an adult tries to pour knowledge or wisdom into a student’s already full cup, then it overflows and nothing is gained, which is completely counterproductive.  In order to educate a student, a teacher must give students a moment to release some of the feelings or emotions that keep their cups full.

I set out to experiment with this principle and let life prove or disprove its authority.  Over the last week, life has proved it overwhelmingly:

  • I was at a parent-teacher-counselor meeting and the mother mentioned that the student behaves and performs better at school whiles she is in counseling.  Why?  Because the counseling empties the student’s cup.
  • I recently took over some classes from a teacher who was promoted.  I could feel the overachievers’ anxiety about me taking over.  I teach differently.  I relate to them in a different way.  I graded differently.  My lesson plans dictated that I try to cram more information into their notes, but I could not get past the resistance I felt as it was like teaching to a brick wall.  I decided to talk to them.   I wanted to give them an opportunity to tell me about how they were adjusting and what they needed from me.  It was an opportunity for them to empty their cups.
  • I was sitting down with my team teacher and we were going to hash out our lesson plans.  We spent 30-45 minutes talking about events in our lives before we even got started.  We had to empty our cups.
  • My grade level team had a release day for collaboration and we spent a good chunk of time talking about what is working and not working professionally and our concerns with the transition to Common Core standards and assessment—another example of emptying the cup.
  • It was a night where exhaustion from the back-to-school cold reigned.  My daughter craved attention and connection.  Her solution to my coughing and hacking existence was a warm cup of tea.  She and I sat on my couch with our cups of tea and talked.  She told me about her dreams and the highlights of her day.  I did the same.  It was a moment of emptying our cups—figuratively and literally.

After observing life since the professional development, I venture to hypothesize that teenagers are not the only ones who benefit from emptying the cup—everybody does.

Let me clarify: Emptying the cup is not spewing personal drama into the world to seek redemption, validation, or attention.  (We may know someone who makes conversations about his or her drama all the time or we may see individuals on Facebook oversharing too much information.)  It is about slowing down the hustle and bustle of life, connecting with our feelings, finding a safe space and medium to express them, and being vulnerable enough to share.  Emptying the cup is about fostering connection, which humans crave because it is a basic human need, and intimacy, or into-me-you-see.

While this concept was applied to the classroom by Dr. Mendes, it has direct application to friendships, relatives, marriages and relationships, workplace interactions, and just the everyday connections we make with strangers.

My prayer for everyone today is:  May you experience a moment of grace where you feel safe to share your emotions, hopes, and desires with another.  May you courageously choose to be vulnerable and empty your cup.  If someone else chooses to empty theirs with you, may you reach out with empathy, compassion, and understanding.  May these small gestures make the world more connected, open, and a better place to just be.  Amen!

 

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9/11: Not Forgotten~ Coach D

9-11

One month after 9/11, I was scheduled to sing the National Anthem at an Anaheim Angels baseball game.

As I hob knobbed behind home plate, warming up my voice and shaking hands with people & players, I noticed a couple who was passing out buttons to people, cameramen, and Angel players.  I became curious as to what the buttons were all about, so I walked up to the couple and asked them about it.

It turned out that this couple had a daughter, who was a graduate student at Boston University.  The father went on to say that his daughter, Lisa Frost from Anaheim was on the way back to California from Boston when her plane crashed into the 2nd World Trade Center. They were placing buttons of their daughter on people to commemorate her life.

There was a 2nd button.  It was a picture of a Marine.  I asked Mr. Frost who it was.  He said it was Sgt. Stephen L. Bryson.  I asked who he was.  The dad said, “This man is my hero.”  “He was one of the first soldiers sent to Afghanistan and he died trying to kill the mother$%#@’s, that killed my daughter.”  His eyes started to well up.

Then Mrs. Frost, eyes full of tears began to tell me the story of Sgt. Bryson.  She said that Sgt. Bryson had recently had a little girl.  She was born 1 week after his death.

She went on to say that when she read about him in the paper, she felt the need to try to contact his widow, for she had lost a daughter, and the little baby lost a father.  She spoke with her on the phone. As they talked they found out that they lived only 3 blocks away from each other!

Now they see Mrs. Bryson and the baby all the time, and have actually “adopted” her and the child as their “Family.”

I was frozen for a moment for I wasn’t expecting to hear this type of story minutes before singing the anthem in front of 55,000 people.

Finally I found the courage to ask another question.  “I’m I father of a 9 year old daughter.  She’s right there preparing to videotape my rendition of the Anthem.” “Do you have any advice for me?”  Mr. Frost called my daughter over and introduced himself.  Then he looked up at me, grabbed my shirt and said, “LOVE HER!” Then he began shaking me and repeating those words over and over again, “LOVE HER….LOVE HER…!” I said, “OK.”

I asked Mrs. Frost if it would be ok to wear the buttons of Lisa and Sgt. Bryson when I sang the anthem.  She looked at me…. didn’t say a word.  Then she began to pin the buttons, side by side, over my heart. Tears of pride streamed down her cheeks.  She patted me on the shoulder and said, “Break a leg.”

I needed to hear that, for I was so caught up in the moment that I didn’t think I could regain my poise to sing. That brought a smile to my face.

I asked them if I could dedicate my rendition of the anthem to Lisa and Sgt. Bryson. They couldn’t answer me.  They just cried and nodded “yes”.

As the public address announcer called out my name, “Coach D”, I never felt prouder to be an American.

After the rendition, I immediately went over to my daughter, who was standing a few feet in front of me with the video camera. I hugged her, and told her, “I LOVE YOU!”

Mr. Frost just nodded and smiled.

As I look back on that moment I sometimes think about the fact that 55,000 people were at that game.  Yet no one knew this story was taking place right in front of them.

There are other stories.

 I ask that you not forget the Lisa Frost/ Sgt. Bryson story.

A follow up to Mr. and Mrs. Frost’s story:

Unfortunately, a few years after 9-11, Mrs. Frost went into a deep depression, began taking heavy prescription drugs and alcohol.  Mr. and Mrs. Frost divorced, yet remain friends.  A couple of years ago Mr. Frost stopped by her house to drop off some food and found her unconscious in her swimming pool. Thankfully, he got there in time and was able to save her…

Losing a child…one is never quite the same…

Coach DGlenn Dumas, “Coach D”, is a Career and Technical Education instructor that teaches Computers, Retail Marketing and Careers. He has been teaching for 16 years.  “Coach D” also has an educational CD called “Winning with Times Tables”, where he teaches kids their multiplication tables through music.

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A Day of Silence

9-11

We usually post on Wednesday, but we would like to honor this day by remaining silent.  We want to remember the victims, the rescuers, and the military men and women whose lives have not been the same since.  As we move through our day, we will continually pray for peace.

We, at Hallelujah Highway, shall never forget.

 

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The Passive Aggressive Girl’s Guide to the Universe (again)~ Rae

For our one year anniversary I am reposting one of my favorite Pieces. I had so much fun writing this post! Plus it really caused me to do some soul-searching and I definitely grew because of it. That is not to say that I am no longer A PAQ- because I totally still am!!!

PAQ2

The last few weeks I have been dealing with anger. Not the passionate rage of an injustice that demands action but rather the sneaky little, snippy annoyances that build and Build and BUILD. Everything gets under my skin and it all propagates, gathering up like a storm from The Wizard of Oz. Little things like the tone I think I read in an email, to the fact that there is no toilet paper on the holder (Doesn’t that make you want to scream?) start to drive me slowly insane.  Confession time: I do not handle anger well but most people would never know it.  I tend to smile and nod, while secretly plotting my revenge upon which I will most likely never act. Instead, next time that person who made me livid asks me for a favor – oh I will do it, but maybe a little bit slower than I could. HA, that will show them!!! Then one day, when I can’t take it any more so I explode in a rant that my poor husband has to listen to over the fact there is no Diet Coke in the fridge.  He doesn’t even drink Diet Coke….

I now proclaim myself the Queen of the Passive Aggressive Universe.

To prove my sovereignty of this magical kingdom I will share a tale of my passive aggressive past that haunts me still.

20 years ago (dude- that makes me sound old) I worked my way through college as a “Formal Wear Consultant” at the local tuxedo shop inside Sears. This was a fabulous job. I was able to work around my college classes and mostly I dealt with joyful scenarios such as weddings and proms (However, I do now contain copiousness amounts of useless information about Tuxedos. Also, I have serious issues with gentlemen’s pants length- the back of the hem should fall to where the heel meets the shoes, Guys- WHERE THE HEEL MEETS THE SHOES!).

So one day while I was busy formally attiring the world, the Security Nazi, I mean “Loss Prevention Specialist”, rushed into the tuxedo domain and pointed his finger at me announcing that we needed to talk. Realize please, I was in the middle of helping customers.  My mind raced all over the place. I thought oh no, who died? What happened that could cause this beast of a man (and he was huge) to need to speak with little ole me? I was worried sure, but not scared, because I knew the perfectionist in me would never allow me to do less than stellar work. My heart trembled, because I just knew a tragedy MUST have befallen someone I knew.

He escorted me to his lair, I mean office. There he proceeded to read me the riot act and write me up with an official looking document that would be placed in my “Permanent Employee File”. ME? I never even had detention in high school.  My head spun and I gasped for air. What could I have possibly done to make him this angry and put my glittering employee record in jeopardy? Had I been caught shop lifting, one might wonder? Was I rude to a customer? Oh no my comrade, my heinous crime against humanity involved parking. That’s right; you read that correctly, “PARKING”.

I had not parked in the official parking zone of the Sears parking lot. And why- you ask- would Miss I Follow All the Rules not park in the appropriate place? Frankly because, I didn’t know that there was a designated parking area. The company I worked for rented space from Sears. Not being an official employee of Sears, I had never received the employee training that included the very important detailed section on parking rules and regulations. I pleaded my case: I didn’t know. I hadn’t even parked in the front parking spaces thereby stealing prime spaces from customers. The lot was huge and never full. He remained un-swayed and didn’t show an ounce of mercy. He took me out on a walk of shame to the parking lot to physically point out where I should have parked. He made quite a show of gesturing at the lines on the ground. He seemed to have a talent for pointing. I even wondered if showing mastery of pointing was part of the employee interview process for his position.  “Here” he snarled, “Not here” he pointed. I struggled to hold in the tears that threatened to fall as I promised, swore on my dog that I would park appropriately from now on.  And I did… for about 2 weeks…

Then my distress and dishonor turned to wrath. The kind of passive aggressive ire I am a Jedi master in. By golly, I showed him. For the rest of my tenure at the Tuxedo shop (4 years) I parked exactly ONE space over from where he had indicated on that dreadful day. There were no official lines or landmarks that separated the employee area from the rest of the lot. It was more a general area in the back of the lot. Nevertheless, I remembered exactly where he had pointed (repeatedly) and parked one spot to the wrong side of it. I smiled a little bit every time I did it to.  Honestly, I am smiling right now as I remembering my satisfaction of winning that battle, at least in my head.

Obviously if 20 years later I can still remember this event vividly, it reveals that I have not let this issue go and just how poorly I deal with my anger. Also with the last few weeks weighing heavily on me, I knew I needed help.  I decided to do some research and compare “The Passive Aggressive Queen’s Guide to the Universe” that I live by (and wrote) to the more mainstream healthy approaches to dealing with anger to see how much therapy I am really going to need.

My Comparison:

According to the article “The Dos and Don’ts of Dealing with Anger” there are 13 ways to handle anger well.

“The Dos and Don’ts of Dealing with Anger”`

  1. Do Count To 10 (Or 100)
  2. Do Forgive
  3. Do Distract Yourself
  4. Do Take A Deep Breath
  5. Don’t Deny That You’re Angry
  6. Do Write About It
  7. Don’t Stomp Or Storm
  8. Do Exercise
  9. Do Practice Compassion
  10. Don’t Send An Email When You’re Angry
  11. Do Try To Be Grateful
  12. Do Talk, But Not Right Away
  13. Do Consider Prayer

According to “The Passive Aggressive Queen’s Guide to the Universe” I am annoyed that there are 13 items on the list. Isn’t that unlucky? What happened to the magical number of 10 for lists of self-help?  Furthermore, my obsessive compulsive self also does not appreciate the way the list switches back and forth from DOs and Don’ts without a pattern. Either list all the DOs first and follow with the Don’ts or switch off every other one- DO, Don’t, DO, Don’t etc… Come on people. My annoyance level =13.

The Passive Aggressive Queen’s Guide to the Universe

  1. What if a Passive Aggressive Queen (PAQ) counts to 3000 and still wants to stick a fork in someone’s eye? Instead PAQs will count 10 ways to get even that the person will never realize came from the PAQ.
  2. PAQs forgive the person who annoyed them. Maybe. Someday.
  3. Squirrel. PAQs can distract others from the real issue with finesse (UP movie reference).
  4. Oh PAQs can breathe it usually gets faster and faster like an evil genius of epic proportions or a woman in labor.
  5. PAQs Deny, Deny, Deny and SMILE.
  6. Ok, well here I seem to be in agreement, even if it is years later.
  7. PAQs throw grandiose hissy fits behind closed doors.
  8. PAQs ask- would I have to put down my cupcake? If so I am out.
  9. Dang it- I admire compassion. Just not for my parking lot nemesis. He gets NONE.
  10. Emails are the perfect passive aggressive response for a PAQ. It’s fantastic since we do not even have to be in the same room as the enemy. (Seriously, I definitely need to stop sending emails while angry. I always regret it later)
  11. PAQs are always grateful I have so much in my life to be grateful for: a wonderful family, great friends, a good job. I am also grateful parking lot brigadier never caught on to my diabolical plan.
  12. Avoid, Avoid, Avoid. Passive Aggressive Queens don’t ever talk about why they are angry. Well at least not about the REAL issue.
  13. MAN- now God has called me out. I hear you Lord; I hear you. I will try to work on this about myself. AND I will stop parking in that same dang spot every time I go to Sears even now. Let it go my fellow PAQs, let it go.
  14. (I just couldn’t leave it on an uneven number) EVENTUALLY PAQs realize they need to deal with themselves and their approaches to anger. Of course everyone gets peeved and stressed, that is normal. It is how a person deals with it that makes her either a Passive Aggressive Queen or just a Queen.

Be a Queen (or King) my friends. Be a Queen to your love ones and your enemies.

And for Pete’s sake watch where you park.

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My Concept of My Daughter~ Kristi

My Concept

Dear Reader,

This was the very first post I wrote for Hallelujah Highway.  I didn’t publish it and I cannot tell you exactly why.  I love this post because it captures the biggest mothering lesson I learned this past year.  I see how much my relationship with my daughter has changed since I wrote this post.  Thank you for the opportunity to pull it out of my writing vault and share it.

Love,

Kristi

~~~~~

“You can’t have your daughter as long as you have a concept of her. When you get rid of the concept, you meet your daughter for the first time. That’s the way this works.” Byron Kate’s Facebook post on 8/12/12

I was at a children’s museum with another mom with children about my daughter’s age.  While we were talking, I looked over to her daughter who was daintily playing in the grocery store.  She was checking out the foods she had placed in her basket.  The other mom’s daughter is the epitome of girl- hair bows, rosy framed glasses, pink, dresses, dolls, princesses, etc.  She even walks on her tippy toes, which gives her this floating grace.  Her voice is melodious and sweet.  The things she says melts your heart.

I leaned over and half-heartedly joked, “When I heard I was having a girl, I thought I was going to have a girl like your daughter.”  She laughed and stated, “And, I thought I was having a girl like your daughter.”  At that exact moment, my daughter dashed out of the theater area where she had wrangled all the kids in the area to put on a play in full costumes and screamed with her booming voice, “Hi, Mom!”  She raced like a blur towards the athletic area to pretend she was in the Olympics.  Her arms and legs flailed every which way.  It was a burst of my daughter’s energy— loud, big, and “I-make-my-presence-known.”

I love my daughter beyond words, but she is not dainty.  She is not soft.  She is not the epitome of girl.  She is a rough and tumble tomboy.  She is a take charge leader.  Her voice is loud and big, but so is her heart.  She likes her dresses, dolls, and hair bows, but most of the time, the girl is ROCKING a paint stained t-shirt from her painting with reckless abandonment escapades, some jeans, and worn through tennis shoes because she can’t keep her shoes new or clean for more than 3-minutes.  She is head strong, loves attention, and has very definite ideas on how things should run.  She can be found telling people – young and old- what to do or how to do it because she is smart and has figured out EXACTLY how things are supposed to be done.    When her teachers come up to me and say, “Guess what your daughter said (or did) today?” I cringe and brace myself.  I start planning my apology.

I will openly and honestly admit that my daughter is very much like me.  I have been loud and awkward for most of my life.  As I age, my intention is to find peace, soften, and let go of my brash ways (except for my signature f-bombs—those will probably stay!).  My daughter’s strong presence in her little six-year-old world contradicts the peace and softness I seek and that causes me great consternation. But, there are things about my daughter’s strength that I greatly admire.  My daughter advocates for herself.  She will ask for things she needs or wants.  I don’t and I wish I did that for myself more.  Yet, I find myself still correcting her in hopes of softening her and making her more of what I want in myself and a girl.

I had a powerful mommy moment a few weeks ago where I realized, on a soul level, that God sent this little girl to do BIG things.  Her loud, active, rough and tumble personality will be used to make the world she influences a better place.  She will be the voice that challenges societal norms and systems that no longer serve others.  She has the chutzpah to make a difference in the world or to hold her own amongst the “big dogs” in life.  My concept of the girl I thought I was getting is only impeding God’s calling for her life.  As Byron Katie describes above, I must let go of the concept of my daughter.  I must let her develop into the being that God made.  I must surrender and let her spirit unfold.

I am not saying this is easy as it requires me to strip myself of the concepts I hold for myself and her, but I am willing to be a work in progress.  I am willing to meet my daughter for the first time over and over and over again until I see who she really is- not who I want her to be.

Hallelujah for my thunderous, loving, amazing, bold, generous, sweet daughter!  Hallelujah for this awareness!  Hallelujah for the learning about myself through the relationship with my daughter and for meeting my daughter for the first time over and over and over!

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Spouting Truth vs. Speaking Truth ~ Kristi

Truth2

I love people who tell truths that shift personal, institutional, or societal paradigms because they are too revolutionary to ignore.  I was raised in a family where telling the truth was the standard.  The women who I consider to be soul sisters tell the truth.  I respect colleagues who speak truth.  I read authors that speak truth.

Recently, I realize there are two categories of people who tell truth— people who spout truth and people who tell truth.  The fundamental difference: the intention of the truth telling.

A person who spouts truth does so to serve him or herself. 

A person who speaks truth does so to serve the receiver.

A person who spouts truth does so with little to no consideration of the person receiving the truth or the consequences of telling the truth.

A person who speaks truth is fully aware of the power that truth carries and waits patiently for the universe to provide the perfect, right moment to speak truth so that the receiver’s heart and mind is open to take it in for consideration.

A person spouting the truth does so in a self-righteous way—one that is riddled with judgment. 

A person who speaks the truth lets the truth be a reflection of unconditional love and acceptance.     

 A person who spouts truth uses truth like a weapon in a power play that places him or her in a position of superiority. 

A person who speaks truth can sit with the receiver as the truth is absorbed and integrated.

A person who spouts truth needs to be right in order to be validated because spouting truth is his or her identity. 

A person who speaks truth trusts the receiver to know what is best for him or her.  There is little to no attachment to how the truth manifests in the receiver’s life.

A person who spouts truth thinks they have THE ANSWER.

A person who speaks truth understands that answers show up in many different forms and honors variety.

A person who spouts truth listens to another human being with an agenda.  They are looking for their truth in the world and in others.

A person who speaks truth just listens.  When the time is right to speak, it will organically arise. 

A person who spouts truth makes no room for other truths. 

A person who speaks truth understand that others’ truths are just that—their truth, which is not a reflection of who they are.

A person who spouts truth listens to the voice of the ego.

A person who speaks truth listens to the voice of the heart.

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Dear Loneliness~ Kristi

Shadow 2

Dear Loneliness,

You, my Achilles’ heel, are an unwelcomed visitor. Usually, I am a happy, optimistic person who trusts the process of Life and has faith that all is in Divine Order. When you enter into my awareness, my radiance dwindles and the void multiples. I try to focus on superfluous things in order to distract myself from you lurking in the shadows. I try to focus elsewhere as I know that what I focus on expands. I fill my life with doing too much in hope there is no room for you.

Yet, you find me in the moments of solitude. You find me as I sit alone on the sidelines of my daughter’s soccer games. Or, on Friday nights as I lay exhausted on my couch from a full week of activities. Or, picking out a Christmas tree. Or, while on vacation.  Or, out at my daughter’s school carnival.  Speaking of my girl, she senses your presence despite my attempts to hide you behind the “everything is ok” mask.  In her seven-year old way, she tries to figure out what to do with your empty space.  She looks to me for answers and I don’t have any.  We just stand there, hand-in-hand, and bravely continue forward on our journey together.

Loneliness, those moments are intended for communing and fellowshipping with life. I do not want to plot and plan how I will out run, hide, or distract myself from the misnomers you whisper. My mind loves to listen and internalize your lies. Lies like: “See, no one loves you;” “There is something wrong with you and that is why you are still single;” and “Your life sucks because being alone sucks.” My mind, the one of finite human understanding, loves to obsess and ruminate on you. You are the perceived problem and my mind seeks solutions.

Loneliness, I have accepted less than I deserve because of the fear of your companionship. I have stayed with men that are not “the one” because I didn’t have the courage to move into solitude because that meant you would have the upper hand in our long and hard fought battle. Due to your presence, I have doubted that my soul mate exists and have fallen in love with men with a lesser connection out of fear that a deeper, more soul level connection would not manifest.

I am tired of fighting you; therefore, I surrender myself to you.

Since you remain as a constant in my life, you are here for a reason. Instead of being at war with you, I allow you to craft me into the woman I am destined to be. I pray to embody the lesson you are here to teach. Let me figure out a way to coexist with you.  I must learn how to coexist with you because I know you will continue to show up until I do.

My first attempt to do so is to date you. If you are here, I will woo you. I will put on my heels and dress.  I will do my makeup and hair.  I will court you. I welcome you to accompany me in life as you are no longer my unwelcomed enemy. I accept that you are my oldest companion and I am at peace with your existence.

In full surrender,

Kristi, the single momma

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