Monday, November 25, 2013

Attitude is Everything

Dear Diary,

I have been at my new grade school job for about six weeks now.  I work only a few hours a day and in only one or two classrooms so my knowledge of who's who on the staff is is very limited.

My first week as the new kid on the block I practically smiled my ears off at anyone taller than 5 feet in my desire to be accepted, to make a good impression, and just because I like to be nice.

That included the crossing guard.  Upon entering school grounds there is a four-way stop manned by a lone crossing guard wearing a yellow reflective vest and holding her stop sign.  I get a good look at her because I have to stop there anyway. 

At some point during my first week I instinctively smiled and waved through my car window-- after coming to a complete stop of course.

Now it is six weeks later. 
About two weeks ago as I approached the intersection manned by our guard, I admit I groaned inwardly (IMG).  Here were the thoughts that went through my head.

Do I have to wave at her every morning now?
Smiling and waving every morning at this woman is getting so old.
I don't wanna have to do this every day.  I don't even have a good smile.
Does she even care that I wave to her?  I don't even know her name.
What if I just blow her off and look straight ahead.
I could just pretend I was very interested in the empty road in front of me and drive on by -- after I stop of course.

Whooooooaaaaaa, LJ. 
S-T-O-P those thoughts.

Months ago I had the opportunity to be a morning car door opener at my daughter's school.  I enjoyed the brief "hello" and "have a good day" moments with people I didn't even know.  Why would this be any different?  Why wouldn't this lady look forward to someone smiling and waving at her every morning?

With new determination, and with cheek muscles twitching like a racehorse in the starting gate, I approached the intersection, made eye contact with the crossing guard, grinned and waved at her amiably.

And it felt good. 
Somehow my little pep talk genuinely changed my heart about the issue and I now look forward to our little exchange of civility every morning. 

I can only hope she isn't thinking as my little silver car approaches the stop line,

Do I have to wave at her every morning now?
Smiling and waving every morning at this woman is going to get old real fast.......


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is Vanilla So Bad?

Dear Diary,

It's true: we are our own harshest critic.  We are harder on ourselves than others.  I see this in my children.  When it comes to self-critique, they can be pretty hard on themselves. 

And I am not immune either.

There is a game going around Facebook, where a friend is assigned a number that represents the number of Little Known Facts that person needs to reveal about himself.  I have been enjoying reading these revelations from friends, but dare not "like" anything for fear I will be assigned a number. 

I don't want to face facts.

I am pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of gal.  I am afraid I wouldn't come up with anything remotely worth anyone's time to read. 

I would sit and sit and stare dumbly at my computer screen, trying to come up with half a dozen little known trivia about myself that would be of slightest interest to anyone, and end up -- to borrow a great expression from a friend -- crying all over the keyboard.

My fear is: my life is not interesting enough. 
       Mission trips and movie stardom have yet to be realized. 

My fear is: my talents aren't talented enough.
        I can juggle; two balls at a time.  It impresses the preschoolers, but not many others.

My fear is: my skills aren't good enough.
        I can flare my nostrils, but I can't wiggle my ears.

My fear is: I am too vanilla. 
        There are no exciting secrets with vanilla.  No occassional chocolate chunk or caramel swirl to liven things up.

So, I avoid the game.
("Avoidance" and I are on too familiar terms I think.)

I don't mind vanilla. 
However I wouldn't complain if someday I fell into a vat of dark chocolate chunks or rainbow sprinkles.

Then I wouldn't have the fear to face the questions, or to share my delicious little nuggets of charisma.

Now where's the ice cream scoop? I'm getting hungry.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sweet Dreams!

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."   Walt Disney

Dear Diary,

I knew it would happen.

I ate two pieces of cake right before bedtime.

Moist, chocolate, single layer cake with no frosting, but baked with a few chocolate chips in the batter.

I figured eating two single pieces was like eating one double layer piece, right?

I think I was still digesting it this morning.

But more than that, I knew last night: My dreams would be very interesting!
And I did not disappoint.

In fact, I dreamt so much about folks from church and even a church service itself that when my alarm sounded, I thought it must be Sunday-- and why would I need to get up so early?

Then I chuckled this Tuesday morning and hit the snooze, remembering the crazy escapades of the night:
  • people bouncing on trampoline-roofed minivans,
  • a pastor preparing to preach a sermon entitled "Sweaters" while employing the high school youth to model Ugly Christmas Sweaters in the aisles as sermon illustrations.  Oh were they ugly!  (My alarm prevented me from hearing the sermon, so the Law/Gospel aspect is lost on me.)
I am a dreamer.  A night time dreamer.
And though Cinderella may croon "A dream is a wish your heart makes, when it's fast asleep," 
I really can't concur!

I suppose in my wakeful, daytime hours, I could spend more time uncovering and pursuing some dreams of another kind.  I have been blessed to be living my dream for 16 years:  raising my daughters. But time has a way of growing them to be the independent teens and tween they are.

So, Walt, while I am so thankful that night time dreams are not a wish your heart makes but sometimes are a byproduct of too much chocolate cake, I will endeaver to courageously pursue my wakeful ones, once I figure out what they are.

Sweet dreams!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Seeds vs. Nails

Dear Diary,

When they are in my mouth, I can't tell the difference.

Sure, one is pleasantly salty while the other is, well, hopefully plain.

I'm talking about pumpkin seeds and fingernails.

Come on, we've all chewed off a nail or two. 

You know how those nails feel in your mouth?
When you look for the nearest tissue box or garbage can?

It is the same with my indigestible pumpkin seeds,


Every year I try a new recipe, most which claim to be "tried and true."

I've gleaned, rinsed, dried/not dried.
I've seasoned, oiled, or buttered.
I've boiled, slow roasted, or flash baked.

They always turned out like fingernails. 
Only well seasoned with sea salt, and slightly more nutritious.

Admittedly, I've had some tasty batches, once cooled, right from of the oven. 

But to keep them longer than 12 hours means goodbye crispy, hello chewy.

Why, I asked myself this week, do I go through this painstaking, messy process every Halloween?

To pass on the nostalgia of unsuccessful pumpkin seed baking to my own kids?

Not a good enough reason.

Please remind me next year that it ain't worth it.

And pass me the Halloween candy.