Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Be Ye Humble

I don't know that I'm on a trajectory here with "Be Ye" posts, but I just learned something new about myself, and it could definitely fall under the heading "Be Ye Humble." What did I learn? I am not Superwoman. 

When life raises challenges, I am the woman who says "I can do it!" I run faster, work harder, sleep less ... and when I was younger, I crashed less often. Looking back on my life as a young mother, I realize what my son said when he described me as a "tank." He meant I accomplished a lot. And he's right. Of course he wasn't privy to the "woman in a puddle" moments when I collapsed in tears because I couldn't keep up with the home-based business and organic gardening and four children and home schooling and homemaking and writing books and being a church elder's wife and ... you get the idea. 

Well, folks, that was then and this is now and wow is it humbling to realize that you are no longer a tank. You're more of a motorized golf cart, just trying to get over the green ... and hoping someone else is maintaining the lawn. 

How does this relate to writing? Well, I just had to humble myself before my new editor and ask for a couple more weeks to finish the re-write. I HATE DOING THAT!!!! The fact that I wasn't being a slacker and that the necessity was due to a true family emergency didn't make it any better. I still hate doing that. I am, after all, the woman who accomplishes much. 

At any rate, I realized something about myself. A Superwoman complex can be nothing more than pride disguised as a virtue. Ouch. I realized that humbling myself and realizing my limitations wasn't sinful. In my case, humbling myself and realizing my limitations was necessary. 

I am of the "I am woman, hear me roar" generation. 
Well ... I am woman, hear me whimper is more like it these days.
And that's OK.
The limitations aren't because I'm lazy. 
They aren't because I don't work hard.
They aren't because I'm a failure.
They are because ... I am who I am in 2013.

I think realizing that is going to be freeing after I think about it a little while longer.
Then again, I live with imaginary friends, so accepting reality may take me a bit longer than the average bear. 

On the journey ... 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Be Ye Thankful

Parenting is hard, and as I've matured and my children have grown and begun their own families, I've realized that potty training wasn't, after all, the hardest thing I would ever do. Being Mom to five grown kids is hard, too, because the dynamic is different and I don't always know how to do this part of parenting. 

That's the disclaimer, because I'm about to mention something that made me sad this morning. I'm staying at a hotel that I love, and there's a breakfast buffet that is "to die for" in my opinion.
A wonderful array of choices that I have thought in the past would please every palate. 

Not so. At least not one child's. I was getting my second cup of coffee when I witnessed a very frustrated father leading an equally frustrated eight-year-old boy from place to place, repeating, "What about this?" "Oh, that looks good. Want some X?" "How about I make you a waffle?" "Look here ... all these cereals to choose from." And so on. 

The problem was, the boy wanted a doughnut. Period. And there were only pastries, croissants, bagels, cinnamon rolls, white bread, wheat bread, and English muffins being offered this morning. No doughnuts.

This child wasn't throwing a fit, but he wasn't going to accept a substitute, either. I pondered the situation as I came back up to my room where I've been working for the past couple of days doing my best to finish, really finish, a re-write. And I came to this conclusion: Thankfulness is something I need. If they don't have a doughnut on the menu, and I really really wanted a doughnut ... well ... I can still be thankful for what they do have, because there is abundance if I will open my eyes and see it

Now, what does the photograph I've uploaded have to do with doughnuts and thankfulness? Those kids have a pailful of pies. Just not the edible kind. They've been out on the Dakota prairie collecting cow pies to fuel their mother's cookstove, and that cookstove will do double-duty this winter by keeping the family from freezing to death. And they are smiling. 

Of course I'm making a leap to say they are happy to be doing it and that they model thankfulness. Maybe not. But seeing that photo makes me thankful this morning. 

When life gets hard, I often think about the people I write about. The women who had to strain snakes and frogs out of the well water before they could make their morning coffee. The ones who had to pump the water and heat it over an outdoor fire before they could do laundry. The ones who might never see or hear from the folks back home again after leaving to head west. And here I sit in my air-conditioned, centrally-heated hotel room with my internet live and my coffee maker and ... well. You get the idea. 

Thankfulness. The world needs more of it. I need more of it. 

It's Sunday. 
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. 
Praise Him all creatures here below. 
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.