Lolly’s House…

Being a grandmother…now, three times over, the holidays take on a bigger significance for me.  After becoming a mother many, many years ago, things shifted to being about the children…my children. Holidays became a whirlwind of happiness and exhaustion!  Now, my children’s generation is experiencing that whirlwind first-hand, and I’m able to plan for each event with a little more energy since I don’t have to be up at night for the 3am feedings…

Even though I still have one child at home, I’m trying to find my new role as the supporter and enabler. My house is transitioning from “Mom’s House” to “Lolly’s House”.  But what does that mean for me as a woman…a person?

I’ve never looked at becoming a grandmother as a lesser-role. As far as responsibility and influence go, it’s like the rest of my life: as my age increases, so should my wisdom and influence…

And if that’s the case, then I have an increased responsibility to use that influence not just in my immediate family, but also everywhere I have a voice.

I think many women struggle to find their voice or their place as their nest becomes more and more empty. For me, I choose to tackle this by constantly filling my nest…

Every year my nest gets fuller, rather than emptier.  I could have never had biological children at all and I still could grow my nest and increase my influence.  

All women have a voice and a place regardless of their motherhood status.

So, how does this paradigm shift in my life affect my every day?  How does it affect my view of the holidays?

Well, of course, my role as “Lolly” is enriched by thinking about the holidays through the eyes of my grandchildren, but what if I didn’t have all these kids to help me find my role?

Halloween clarifies this for me every year.

If you know me, you know that I’m not a big celebrator of Halloween… The creepy and the scary is just not my thing.  In fact, when my kids were little, we basically just pretended that the day didn’t exist.  

Left to my own devices and in my own comfortability, I would just turn the lights out and act like no one is home…

But as I’ve gotten older and my influence has increased, I have begun to look at the world around me less from the perspective of my own comfort and more from the perspective of others.

Hospitality has become something that I cherish.  It’s become like an art-form for me.  So I don’t really feel that I have the luxury to not think about others during the holidays…

It’s not just about me anymore.

Nothing brings this fact into focus more than Halloween.

If it’s truly about others and making them feel loved and cherished, then I have to take a second look at this holiday.  The truth is that there is no other day of the year that people of all kinds come eagerly to my door…they bring their most precious possession: their children to my door and allow me to “ooh” and “aw” over their costumes, they let me give their little ones gifts in the form of treats…

They ask me to be hospitable and kind.

I have the privilege of showing them what coming to my house feels like…Lolly’s House. It may very well be the only visit to a grandmother’s house that they will get to experience during the whole of the holiday season. It may very well be the only kindness they experience all day…week…year.

I may be overstating the significance of this one day…but what if I’m not?

I’ve begun to look for meaning in life not just from being a mother or how many kids I have been blessed with, but rather how much of a blessing I can be to as many as God brings into my path.  And since I’ve begun to look for these opportunities, I’ve found my place.

So no matter how full or empty my nest is, I’m still “Lolly” and there’s always kindness to be shared at my house…Lolly’s House.❣️

And that makes me smile, even if I have to wade through scary clown costumes to do it!😱

Peace to you…

Angie❣️

Striking the Wonder Woman…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is real…and what’s not.  Dealing with physical illness and chronic pain can shrink your reality super fast.  You can begin to think that life is just about survival, and before you know it, real moments can pass you by because you were just trying to survive…to breathe.  

There are definitely times in life when the only way through…is through, and you just have to put your head down and push through it.

The problem with anything that affects you on a chronic level is that it can become your only reality.  When you’re in chronic pain or under chronic stress or in chronic depression or chronically obsessed with perfection…the reality is the same: 

Your world has been shrunk down to just that one thing.

But today is Monday.  Mondays are hard, but they are also wonderful.  It just depends on my reality.  Have I shrunk my reality to the point where I can’t see the possibility that lies in every day…especially every Monday?  

Well, here’s where I am on this Monday:

I’m going to be tired…Monday-tired no matter what I do or don’t do.  I’m going to be in pain…whether I do a lot or try to be still.  I’ve got a lot on my plate, a big family, major health-decisions to make…and they will be there whether I choose to deal with them today or not.

I can’t change facts, but I can change my reality…

Because my true reality is not what’s going on around me…or even inside me…

My true reality is how I feel about it, what I tell myself about it, and what I allow it to motivate me to do or not do about it.

I spoke to my Doctor about this just a few hours ago… Dr. Brent Baldasare is my chiropractor, but the reality is that he’s my physician…you know, the one that I really listen to.  I was sharing with him my frustrations about the decisions I have to make about possible treatments for the meningioma (benign brain tumor) that’s pressing on my brain stem and spinal cord.  Nothing has changed as far as my physical condition, but lately I’ve been feeling hopeless and unmotivated…when I was much more certain and positive just a few weeks ago.  I told him that I know I have to get my mojo back.

And he said, “Do you know the “Wonder Woman” stance?”

Know it?  There are times when I think I invented it…and these are always the times  when I feel the weakest, and somehow I just know that if I just tell myself I’m strong, then I’ll actually be stronger.  I’ve done this for years when I sing.  Anyone who has ever watched me lead worship, has probably seen me do the “Wonder Woman”…where I stand straight and strong or march forward on the platform.  For me, this has always revolved around some lyric that is stating how “God is stronger” or “no weapon formed against me will stand”.  I can do it when I’m leading worship…

…because when I’m leading worship it’s not about me.  It’s about God.  And I have no trouble believing or stating in a strong way that God is greater…

I just struggle to know that I am.

So Dr. B reminded me that I need to take my power back.  The things that I can control about my health, my pain, my happiness, my faith, my family…are right in my own hands.  I just need to stand up, strike the “Wonder Woman” and know that I can!

Byron said this very thing this weekend,  “Perhaps you don’t struggle at all believing in God, you just struggle with the fact that He believes in you.”

And that’s truly my struggle:  believing that I can.

Maybe that’s also where you are.

So let’s try it together…if we’re feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and powerless, the first step is to stand up, strike the “Wonder Woman”, look the world and our enemies right in the eye, and say by our stance that we will not be defeated.

It’s not just half the battle…it’s the whole thing because it can actually change our reality.

If we change our thoughts, we change our destiny, and begin to change the world!

Hands on your hips now!

Peace to you…

Angie ❣ 

Rise & Shine…

I saw these words on Pinterest…

“Just because she’s pretty doesn’t mean you aren’t.”

…and I had to stop and ponder this for a minute.

On the surface, this statement is so basic, it almost seems pointless – but I let myself sit with it for a while, and began to notice the different emotions that this statement brought up in my own spirit…

I’ve never considered myself insecure or lacking in confidence.  I know what my strengths are and, especially since I turned 40, I know what they are not.  I don’t feel myself needing validation too often.  But, when I read that tiny sentence on social media I had to consider why those words jumped out at me like they did.

I believe it’s because I’m a human…a human woman.

All women, no matter how pretty or talented or funny or charming or popular or smart or educated…or whatever have that moment when they realize:

No matter what I look like or do, there is always someone who looks or does it better.

And there are a few things that women seem to do to each other that only increase the isolation and anxiety that this reality can bring:

  1. We compare – we place value on ourselves and others based on a sliding scale…(“I feel pretty good until that one chic walks in.”)
  2. We compete – we use our comparisons to try to minimize others to maximize ourselves…(“I’m not perfect, but at least I’m not like her!”)
  3. We conclude- we size each other up, labeling each other by our biggest flaws…(“She may be pretty, but I bet she’s not very smart!”)
  4. We commiserate – we use our insecurities to bond with other women who have the same issues…(i.e.: When that “Bible Study” turns into a gossip session: “We should all pray for Kellie because…bless her heart.”)

The reason why that phrase was significant to me is because most women need to hear some version of it every day.

Most women need to know…to completely internalize that they are valuable and loved, no matter what any other women are doing, saying or being.

If “Comparison is the thief of joy”, then the opposite is also true.  Encouragement and contentment are the way to spread joy around.

We could start an “Encouragement Revolution” if we, as women, would just determine to do a few things every day:

  1. Begin each day with gratefulness – list at least 5 things that make you feel blessed.  Say them out loud if you have to.
  2. Remind ourselves of our true worth – look in the mirror and tell yourself at least 3 things that make you unique.
  3. Encourage one another – be mindful of others and what they are dealing with – send a text or message…the best way to be encouraged is to encourage someone else.
  4. Really listen – make eye contact and just listen…without having to “one up” whatever she is expressing.  
  5. Have empathy – really put yourself in her shoes and give her the benefit of the doubt. 
  6. Celebrate each other – if you see beauty in someone else, tell them. 

Women are wonderful and complex, and if we could ever work together toward contentment, we could truly change the world!

“In this world there is no force equal to the strength of a woman determined to rise.”

So let’s rise.

And shine.

Together…

Peace to you.

Angie ❣