Friday, June 13, 2008


I am always working on 3-4 things at a time. For example, I am reading two books, writing 3 books, publishing our family newsletter and working on material for this blog. I think that I have a new superfamily post ready, but in the meantime I would love for you to read an excerpt of a book that I am fiddlin' with. It is a life management type book and it covers prioritizing, refocusing and cutting off dependence and loyalty to things and people not crucial to your destiny. Let me know what you think. Be kind :-), its a rough draft........

“I am campaigning for myself for awhile…” This statement captured my attention and diverted my thought process for the days and weeks that followed.

It had begun as typical office fodder and spirited discussions among co-workers on our economy, the mortgage crises, gas prices and finally politics. It was not uncommon for one, if not all of us to be a part of the political process in some form or fashion. It could be petitions, attending meetings, researching candidates, reviewing news reports, or sending donations. All of us were advocates of not allowing things to just happen. We believed in being a part of the process to help bring about the outcome you desire. So, when Ilinda said that she “wasn’t really going to be involved in the presidential election”. The nature of this group wasn’t to just say “oh, ok". We prodded; we probed and questioned ourselves into an impromptu lecture on the importance of involvement and having your voice heard in the political process.

After we climbed off of our “social responsibility” soap box’, Ilinda softly explained that there were things she needed to do to work on her career that needed her attention. She reminded us that she has two young boys and a husband that needed her time. She stated that she was working on “her” life strategy now, not just helping to fulfill somebody else’s. She was not being selfish or standoffish. She even mentioned sending a donation to the candidate of her choice thus letting her money work as a voice for her. But her more valuable resources, her time, her energy, her thoughts and her presence had to be focused differently. She was her own campaign manager, strategist and PR consistently operating in the position of CEO of Ilinda, Inc”.

My sister and I were talking and sharing our woes about over committing ourselves and trying to fulfill the expectations of others while our to-do list got longer. We shared about how we found ourselves making poor choices so we wouldn’t let down “important” people that counted on us, but noticeably at the expense of the people that truly mattered. For example, I had spent a week before a trip to Cancun taking my daughter back and forth to auditions and call-backs for movie. She didn’t land the lead role, but she did get a great supporting role and taping was an all day marathon session scheduled for the day after I returned. I was responsible for her costume, hair, makeup, and transportation. I was so incredibly exhausted on the day of taping, I actually thought of what excuse I could come up with to not take her. I know…BAD MOMMY! I agree it was horrible, after the fact I couldn’t believe that I even thought it. Why? Because I know that if other issues came up that may have had nothing to do with family, for example my church, or my job, I would have dragged my tired self wherever it needed to be to help with the crisis for people who actually may not have noticed, appreciated or cared about the sacrifice. I made the right choice. I put the time into my daughter and I am so glad I didn’t miss the opportunity to see her shine. I was utterly wiped out, but her energy and appreciation rejuvenated me and yet made me ashamed.

Since when has the smile of a child taken a back seat to the half hearted kudos of a boss? When did it become ok to spend all afternoon in church, because it’s “church”, even though your wife needs you at home. Why does the phone call of a manager or leader evoke an immediate response when your husband’s call rings at an annoyance to you? Why do you know your company’s missions statement or your church’s vision, or your neighborhood block club goals and yet you have no idea what the mission, vision or goals are for your own life? Where is the same diligence that you spend grandstanding and campaigning for the dreams of other people when it comes time to move forward in what you should be doing for yourself and your family? Let’s face it, for some of us if our lives were a business we would be bankrupt. Or even a more chilling thought, if you were running for the office of “You”, you would lose.

What had happened was....

Usually, when someone starts a sentence off like this (my title), what's to follow isn't always what I want to hear. Besides the fact that's its horrible grammar, that statement "what had happened was..." usually indicates that this story may be fabricated or at the least exaggerated to the favor of the person telling the story. Well, that's not true in my case. I couldn't make up a story like this one on my BEST writer fiction moments. (insert announcer voice here) The story you are about to hear is true. The characters you will meet in these pages are actual people, not actors. Well, they are actors...kinda dramatic, over the top actors, if you want to know the truth. But their situations are real and so are the days of lives....(insert dramatic serial music here). But just like the lighthouse in this picture shines and gives direction in chaos, I pray that our lives give families hope. Hope that after the storm, life (and sometimes a GREAT life) moves on.

It all began back in 1996 when my divorce was finalized. Well, maybe before then, but I'll save that for the book, or the TV show. But anyway, I stood in an old court room with about 4 people in it including the judge. It was a stark contrast to the wedding I had 10 years prior. There were people everywhere, cheering me on, bearing gifts and eating that awesome honey baked ham. BAMN! The judge banged the gavel and pronounced me instead of "man and wife" something that sounded in my head like "severed". As in, cut away from your previous spouse with a rusty, ancient chainsaw. I am sure he said something politically correct like "marriage dissolved" or "legally divorced". But my heart heard severed and the jagged edges left by the sad ending to my marriage were bleeding profusely and it wasn't likely to me that I was going to survive. But with my children waiting on me to pick them up from school I had a purpose, be it ever so slight, to keep my head above water. For the next four years, I experienced some of the most horrendous hard times of my life. Battling dysfuctional relationships, watching my previous church home split apart, working two jobs, going to school, taking care of my kids and making extremely hard choices that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Truth of the matter is, old folks used to say "my soul looks back and wonders how I got over"...well I get it now... I understand why they would shake their heads in disbelief at the trials and tribulations that they overcame through the grace of God. As I type this and begin to reflect on specific days, times, issues, problems, disasters, I shake my head now and MY soul looks back and I got over. I am glad I know the answer to that. If I hadn't lasted long enough to find out the how's and why's...this story would get pretty boring and sad right about now.