Sunday, November 01, 2015

This Is The One Precious Life, And It Doesn't Matter What Your Butt Looks Like.

It happened, y'all. Anne Lamott showed up, fully and present, unashamed to be scattered and spaced out.
One of her many mantras to herself is, "Even though you are scattered and spaced out, I fully love and accept you."

What would happen to us as people if we said, "I fully love and accept you" to ourselves everyday? Some people don't need that, clearly...but those who do...what a gift those words are.

She began speaking as if she wondered why we had all asked her here, bought all the tickets within 24 hours and then created the need for an overflow room. Her only answer was that maybe it's something about the way she talks that gives us a sense of relief...YOU THINK? YES, INDEED, ANNIE, YOU DO.

I was writing as fast as I could to record her every vowel, and these gems gave me and those around me a sense of relief tonight.

Anne said:

This is the one precious life, and it doesn't matter what your butt looks like.

Look up! You don't have to look at your feet. You don't have to look at your stomach. Yes, it sticks out. We got older. Sue us.

"Me too!" is the greatest theological line.

Do you want to be RIGHT, or KIND?

I make up almost all of my own problems, then I punish people around me and extract vengeance...but I make most of it up.

Where do we start? We start by stopping.

When we are in the abyss, Jesus doesn't say, "For Pete's sake, snap out of it."
He says, "Well why don't I come down there with you? I have a little bit of water to drink. It's not much..."

I insist on doing the grief, doing the angry.

You get to start over - it's the Christian tradition! You get to start over, just as soon as you remember that you do.

I have this family that lives with me...oh wait. MY family - my family lives with me...

Every single person's heart gets shattered in this life.

And I just said to God, "...WHATEVER."  (It's the fourth grader's prayer.)

God has to love you; that's God's matter how secretly awful you are.

For those of you beautiful people who are ready for more words and truth from Anne Lamott, she has written 15 books. Google her. Then pick a book. Then go to your library or an INDEPENDENT BOOK STORE owned by a local yokal who loves trees and fair wages, and pick out one of her books.
She is also fabulous to follow on Facebook and Twitter. Real stuff, y'all.
And it still doesn't matter what your butt looks like.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

DNR-JTI: Take 2

Do Not Reply - Just Take It: Take 2.

Dear Millienial Gen X-er Person Born Way After Me,
I know you can navigate between Email, Text and Twitter like they are the same beast, but I cannot. If you email me on the day I am checking my texts, you are going to have to wait. Consider the fleeting existence of the stamp. Like on an envelope. Made of paper. I cannot always tweet and text and email AND check the Facebook all on the same day. That's just way too much communication. Please join me and let's chop wood and haul water and remember what it is like to Be Present With Each Other.

Dear Trick-or-Treater,
I am sorry that I am No Fun. I affirm your creative costume. In the rain.

Dear Female Friend Who Sells Products To Bring Out My Inner Beauty,
Thank you so much for inviting me to your party. My skin definitely could use it. However I am the worst client ever because I habitually forget to wash my face. Also, I could never promote or sell your product because I would rather buy and donate and go into debt than ask anyone for anything I am afraid they may or may not want. I want to gift everything, like, all of your samples. I still think you are awesome.

Dear Unidentified Smell In My House,
Please go away. While I sleep tonight. As in, immediately.
My husband thinks that you are here because we currently have no pets. I think you are here because no one will help me clean (as in, load the dishwasher, take out the trash, do the laundry and then put it away). I am open to discussion and compromise. In the meantime, just go away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

For Halloween, I Will Be A Statue.

For Halloween 2015, I will be a statue.
Because I am paralyzed at the thought, notion, energy required and my absolute dread of candy and trick or treating.

So I read this about the child slaves in Africa harvesting the cocoa beans for my kids' cheap chocolate fetish this Halloween weekend.

I bought fair trade chocolate last year from Equal Exchange and no one ate it. At my house or our neighborhood Halloween gathering. I ended up donating it to a preschool. But no child slaves involved! And maybe fewer cavities!

Then I saw this safe chocolate list and read more about chocolate and slavery here.

At, I learned that:

If all of us together seek out fair-trade alternatives for our chocolate we are telling the chocolate industry that we will not tolerate the exploitation of children to produce cheap, abundant chocolate. We are voting with our dollars.

I love voting. Sometimes I have dollars. I want to do this.
I checked out some more resources about labor rights here and some slave free chocolate here and alternatives to consuming and passing out chocolate and candies here (for dentists!) and over here (for the troops!) and over here (for the allergies - love you, Evelyn!)
Overall, I feel frozen, a statue.
And I feel like a coward. So I am escaping to the woods this Halloween to figure things how to have "less of a negative impact" on the world, which is different than "trying to have a more positive impact" on the world. 
But I will work on both.

I still believe in chocolate and eating it.
If folks want to trick-or-treat, PLEASE DO.
I am not judging, I am struggling...and want YOU involved in my struggle.

I have just a few dollars and I want to vote well: Statue Style.

Happy-ish Halloween, y'all!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Do Not Respond-Just Take It. (DNR-JTI)

Jimmy Fallon apparently has a Thank You note section to his show...from which Jen Hatmaker draws much delight in the sarcasm department and shares in her book For The Love...and I have been inspired by the Thank You Note project here...but realized my sound-bite bits of gratitude are more in the vein of Do Not Respond - Just Take It (DNR-JTI).

Here are my top five for the moment:

Dear Friend I Am Thinking About At The Moment,
I'm sorry your husband is such a jerk face. I agree with you that this is most likely a phase and when his work load shifts, he will return to reality. In the meantime, I hope you can call on the memories of when you fell in love with him and you thought you would never eat, sleep or breathe again. And then there was that time y'all were at a social outing and you looked across the room at him and your first thought was I want to be with him forever in that safe and wonderful and magical way.  DNR-JTI.

Dear Friend In Transition,
I have no idea what to say, text, or email you. I am here, irrelevant and present. I will cry and pump my fists at the sky with you. But I got nothing. Let's talk or type tomorrow. DNR-JTI.

Dear New Mom Friend,
I am bringing you food. It may or may not be good. Hopefully you will be too tired and traumatized by parenthood to notice. But the effort is so full of love. When you are done leaking out of every orifice, let me know and we can go for a walk and you can complain about everything under the universe without judgment. That may be a really long walk, and I will take each step with you. DNR-JTI.

Dear Person At The Grocery Store Market Place,
Everything you are looking at on your phone and paper list is so important. This aisle is only so wide. And even though my child eating her free cookie looks like a known quantity, I can assure you that she is about to explode with that ferocity only exhaustion can ignite. So excuse me when I move your cart so I can collect 34 things in under 29 seconds and get back in the car where I can buckle her in. Srsly, excuse me. You are awesome. DNR-JTI.

Dear Family Which I Started With Some Serious Vows At A Wedding And Then Three Serious Child Births,
You people need to contribute more. On every front. But I love y'all so much I have a hard time articulating in which way I need you to contribute. I am working on NOT using profanity, so if you would recognize that while I request that you pick up all of your belongings which I am about to donate (as in you have 8 minutes) then I would really appreciate it from the bottom of my confused heart. I love you. DNR-JTI.

Amen and Love and Namaste and All That,

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sister Face with Glennon Doyle Melton

Tonight I arrived 71 minutes early to hear the author, Truth-teller, Hope-spreader Glennon Doyle Melton speak (thank you, Raegan, for the early arrival and great seats).

Here's the view for those 71:

My dear, wise friend Angela often tells me things and recommends authors before I am ready for them. She recommended Glennon to me several times (at least 8) before I read one of her blog posts which began something like this:
"You guys, I don't have much time to write, but I just saw my therapist and it was awesome I have to share with you because YOU KNOW how much therapy costs and if I share with you and it helps then paying that much was worth it."

Do you know how many hot spot buttons she hits with that one run-on sentence?  I was in love.

I started following her blog and then got her book and then read it a few times then drove it over to some friend's houses to make sure they could touch it and see it then read it...
I was, indeed, encouraged and relieved and inspired.

Tonight was my first time to see her not on a screen and to hear her not through speakers.

She brought her sister, who manages her schedule or something, and I always think to myself, "I wish I had brought my sister." Good job, Glennon.

First thing when it was over, I got a picture with Glennon's younger sister and we are making the Sistering Face.

Glennon writes here about the process of Sistering in carpentry, and she talked about it tonight. And when she was done with the explanation of this amazing process she made this face:

So sister and I did the Sistering Face. I am on the right. Obviously.

I kept thinking about this one time when my real life family was taking a group picture and my real life sister and I were standing next to each other, supporting each other (as in Sistering Like Carpenters) and she said, "Okay, silly face one!"
To which I thought, "Oh we are all going to make a silly face in this one family picture since we just took a posed, smiley-faced one."
Stupid thought on my sister part. I was the only one to make a silly face in that protrait. I got Sister Punk'd...which is so worth it now that there is an official Sister Face.

Then I got to Sister Face with Glennon!

And Rachel photobombed us in the back! Because she's a sister too! 

At the end of her talk, I think ALL of us felt like sisters. And I hope we keep using our faces to show it.

In the meantime, here are some of the notes I took, because sharing therapy is always the right thing to do:

1. Laughter is the proof of hope.

2. Be aware of when you reject an invitation from God.

3. Progress is not a line for anyone. It is a spiral staircase; we keep coming around and around.

4. You have to choose between being Real & Loved and being Perfect & Admired. Nothing hurts as much as not being known.

5. Be a witness to other people's "Easy Buttons" (places of denial) and a tight judge of your own.

6. See other women as masterpieces, not mirrors.


8. Our entire economy is based on you feeling like crap...that you will never have enough of all that stuff you don't need.

9. (To her therapist) That sounds really you have any more pills?

10. Forgiveness is not always a once and's a spiral staircase too.

Thank you Glennon Doyle Melton and Sister.  We will carry your torch through Birmingham and keep encouraging Truth-tellers and Hope-spreaders.