Real Life in Real Time

Randy and I have a phrase we like to use when we are talking (or texting) about something that intimidates us or makes us apprehensive. I wouldn’t call it an inside joke, exactly—it’s more like a code between the two of us.

We might be discussing a difficult conversation we’re about to have. A problem we can’t figure out. An assignment we don’t like. An appointment we’re dreading.

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One Way Fear Loses Its Paralyzing Power

As fears go, it was a little bit ridiculous.

I was afraid of yeast. More specifically, of baking with yeast.

You won’t find this fear on any list of documented phobias. I know—I looked.

But as irrational as it sounds, it was real for me.

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Fierce Encouragement

The last day of school had just ended, and Molly and I were waiting to say good-bye to her fifth-grade teacher.

The following year, my little girl and her sweet bunch of classmates would be heading off to middle school. It would be a huge transition, for sure.

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What Happens in the Stretching Seasons

A few years ago, after a particularly grueling season of family life followed by a respite, followed by the onset of another stressful season, a dear friend listened to me talk about what was happening and said five words I have never forgotten.

“Lois,” she said, “you’ve become quite flexible.”

Flexible. Now that’s a word I never would have used to describe myself even a few years earlier.

As I’ve written here on more than one occasion, I’m not fond of change. I tend to like things how they are, and it takes me awhile to adjust to different, even if I’m the one who initiated it.

My life hasn’t exactly cooperated with my preferences these last several years, however. Here’s a brief recap:

In early 2006, after 12 years in Arkansas, we moved to my home state of Kansas where Randy had accepted a new job. That job didn’t work out how he thought it would, so in the fall of 2008, he accepted a position with a different company. Soon thereafter, the stock market crashed and the construction industry in our area tanked.

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When Life’s Emotions Confuse and Overwhelm

In December, Lilly’s ballet school put on a special holiday production featuring vocal music and the Christmas story set to modern dance.

After one of the performances, I was talking to my 83-year-old father, who had been in the audience that afternoon. He told me he had noticed a lone woman in the crowd standing with her arms lifted high during a stirring rendition of “Oh Holy Night.”

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What I Learned This Winter (Awards Edition)

Yesterday was the official first day of spring. Instead of bemoaning the end of winter (which I have been known to do), let’s celebrate with a little end-of-the-season awards ceremony (just like the Oscars, only without the movies, celebrities, fancy dresses and political statements).

Best Substitute for Flowers on Valentine’s Day

As much as I love long-stemmed red roses, I told Randy that I’d rather receive a present I could keep for Valentine’s Day this year. So, along with a lovely card and the customary (not to mention mandatory) box of chocolates, he presented me with my new favorite houseplant: a Ponytail Palm.

For me, the thought that goes into a gift is almost as meaningful as the gift itself. And, oddly enough, the fact that the Ponytail Palm reminds Randy of my hair pushes the significance meter sky high on this one.

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