24 July 2010

Honey, Where's The Life Preserver?

I was so excited when I was able to restart my blog.  I really, really, really needed to write and visit all the blogs that I love to read daily.  I thought to myself, "Self? (because you really should know right now that I talk to myself... one of these days I might even answer) You are going to have sooooooo much more time for yourself with three of the kids finally heading off to college."  I was siked!  I was salivating! .......   I was SOOOOOO wrong!  The Lemon Stand household has been cited by FEMA as a national disaster zone.  It's sad, but true.  I desperately need a life preserver right about now.  Desperately.  Really...

21 July 2010

The Definition Of Courage, Bravery and Change...

"Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other." ~Samuel Johnson

The first thing I think of when I hear the words courage or bravery is 'soldier', 'sailor', 'marine', 'airman', 'coast guard', 'policeman' and 'fireman'. People who put their safety on the line every day for others.  Unfortunately, recognition and medals for courage and bravery are never given to their families.  But I have come to realize that my definition of courage and bravery is very narrow.

I have discovered that it does not take into account the people who are in unhealthy or dangerous relationships but leave even though they fear for the safety of themselves or others.  Those people who help others in this situation even though it places them in danger.

My narrow definition of courage does not take into account any person, adult or child, who is willing to stand up to bullies because a life is more important than someone else's good impression, a job promotion or peer pressure. 

My narrow definition does not take into account the struggle to accept catastrophic changes to someone's life.  The adjustment of that life being redirected without a person's consent. The feeling of being lost or set adrift because suddenly everything someone had mapped out for their life has been wiped away due to events beyond their control.

My narrow definition does not take into account the courage it sometimes takes for family and friends of loved ones who are struggling with disaster, heartbreak and loss.  To accept the fact that sometimes, as desperately as you want to ease their pain,  there is nothing you can do except let them know you care.  The heart and determination to silently watch and listen. "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." ~Winston Churchill

"Sometimes even to live is an act of courage." ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Letters to Lucilius

My narrow definition does not recognize the bravery it takes to accept that the person you are inside you is truly the only thing you have control over.  To know and accept that the only control anyone has is what you say and how you react to the events and people around you.  Irving Berlin once said that "Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it."

My narrow definition does not take into account the bravery required to make life choices.  For there are always choices whether or not any of the choices are ones that you would wish for.  You either live life with the hand you are dealt and work toward a better outcome with the next deal or you choose to not play by laying down your cards.  Bravery is being honest enough with yourself about the knowledge that not making a choice is a choice in and of itself and to take responsibility for it.

"Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared." ~Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

My narrow definition of courage does not take into account the bravery required to step outside of your comfort zone and attempt a path unknown.  Someone once said "More powerful than the will to win is the courage to begin."  Whether the new path is required because your current path is taking you nowhere you want to be or you are forced to turn from your path because of circumstances beyond your control. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon

My narrow definition does not take into account the courage it takes to overcome the fear of the unknown that you are allowing to guide and control your future.  Orison Swett Marden once said, "Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them."

My definition of courage does not acknowledge that the level of difficulty of bravery is different for every person, situation and level of fear.  Comparing the courage required to face my fear should never be compared to the courage required by someone else to face their own fear. "Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave." ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar, 1894

My narrow definition does not take into account the time that may be required to have courage without faltering.  Sometimes courage takes time to be recognized and that makes the fear seem that much more unlikely to ever be conquered.  By changing a path, you may have to walk quite a while to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and be confident that it is not an oncoming train.  It takes courage to always remember that everything does not always happen in one day.  It takes courage to be patient and not discouraged by lack of immediate results.  It takes courage to be consistent and persistent especially when you are scared out of your wits. 

My narrow definition does not take into account that taking only small baby steps to overcome a fear is a very real act of courage because of the very willingness to take action instead hiding and cowering.  Sometimes taking consistent baby steps will get you farther than taking larger steps and losing confidence only to seek the comfort of the known no matter how painful"Sometimes the biggest act of courage is a small one." ~Lauren Raffo 

When it comes to overcoming fear I know from personal experience that it is not easy to achieve.  If it were, I'd already be there.  "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow." ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Every human being on earth have or will experience disaster, heartbreak and challenge.  You will always have two choices in how you will react to it.  You will have the courage to survive and take advantage of whatever opportunities happen to come your way because while there is life there is always hope.  Or you will not survive and you will choose to allow it to bury you. 

The perspective I now have of my definition of courage seems to have expanded.   How is your perspective?
QOTD: "The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy." ~John F. Kennedy

15 July 2010

Sheep, Dating, Callings and Pillows...

Everyone in our family knows that I am literally going deaf.  It is especially hard to hear when we are in a restaurant with not only our whole gang in tow but all the other diners.  So sometimes what I think I have heard and what was actually said are completely different animals or I have missed almost the entire conversation.  For instance, take dinner last night wherein the seven of us went out...

As near as I can figure out, Nicole was talking to her father about some friend of her boyfriend and then while taking a sip of water I hear my husband (who is sitting right next to me) say:
"You really should let him know that they have discovered another really useful purpose for sheep.  I hear they can get wool from them."  
I nearly spit out my water.  Now, I'm thinking, did I really hear that correctly or is it just my husband being... well, himself?  I was afraid to ask but a few minutes later my curiosity got the better of me and I asked him if he could tell me what the conversation of sheep was all about.  When will I ever learn that ignorance is bliss?  The yuck, or maybe I should say the ewe factor was a little high.  He and our eldest daughter were talking about the dating habits of a few members of the crowd her boyfriend hangs out with.  NOT literally, fortunately.  Unfortunately, I did hear that sentence correctly and since I am determined to keep this blog in the family category, I will not repeat the rest of the conversation. 

Our daughter, Danielle, went to a Supernatural convention last weekend.  Supernatural, I guess is a television series?  (shows you how often I wield the remote control)  Again, I didn't hear the entire conversation except for this snippet:
Danielle, "One of the people there emphatically said that unless you have a true calling to the entertainment industry, don't ever get a job with any facet of it."
Nicole, "Well, that rules you out.  The only calling you have is from your pillow!  It calls you to bed and then hypnotically tells you 'that you can sleep a few more minutes and you still won't be late.'  A while later it croons 'that you'll only be a few minutes late.'  A while later it says, quite reasonably,  'that you are way too late so why not just go back to sleep?  Tomorrow is, after all, another day.'  You know, you should patent that.  Imagine a soft computerized voice in a box you can put under someone's pillow."
Yep, another normal meal with the Lemon Stand household.
QOTD:  “To enter Europe, you must have a valid passport with a photograph of yourself in which you look like you are being booked on charges of soliciting sheep.”  ~Dave Barry (b.1947) American Writer and Humorist

13 July 2010

Therapy For Childhood…

I know it seems as though I have not been posting often lately but it is a fact of life that when you have kids and summer comes around, everyone but the parents seem to have a vacation.  It’s not because there isn’t plenty to write about, it’s more a matter of finding the time to be able to type it out.  I must admit though, that there are more opportunities during the summer to give your children a need to have therapy as an adult than at most other times of the year.

Recently, while driving back from Rhode Island, my husband (whom I think may be genetically unable to let any opportunity pass when it comes to teasing any of the kids) had his moments of parental wit.

I will not post the reason he was teasing our daughter Rachel because he was lightly poking fun at something that she is uneasy about but I thought their short verbal tennis match was pretty amusing.
Rachel grumpily said to her father, “You really do not need to poke fun at things that creep me out.  You’ve already given me issues that I will need therapy for.”
Her father immediately volleys back with, “Well, I guess you now will have volumes.  Might as well get your money’s worth.”
There was a moment of silence before Erin said with a verbal ‘roll of the eyes’ kind of tone in her voice, “Daddy!  That’s not nice!”
My husband, “Congratulations Erin, you’re the only one who caught that zinger.”
I said (very dryly), “No, I think we all got it.  The rest of us are just ignoring you.”
Don’t you just hate it when your wit is unappreciated by your own family?

Mazes And Letting Go...

I think I have mentioned on a few occasions that our daughter Rachel is a talented artist.  Just before school got out last month, she brought home one of her art class assignments and handed it to me and said that I could keep it if I wanted to.  It was a perspective drawing of a medieval maze.  She had work quite a while on this picture which was done with charcoal pencils.  After having smudged it in a few places just holding it to carry into the house and also to look at it, I decided I needed to get it into a frame before I caused any more damage.  Surprisingly, finding a frame was a lot more difficult than I originally had thought.  It took me about a week.  

Unless you look closely, you might miss a few of the details. Two of the clouds are shaped like a cat and a giraffe.  There is a glimpse of a medieval lady and the hat of her companion within the maze.  It's a wonderful scan but it still doesn't hold a candle to the original.

Not long after my daughter gave me the maze drawing, she made another drawing for my birthday.  Rachel, according to my husband, waited until the last minute (on my birthday apparently) and after going and buying a frame, she disappeared into her room for about fifteen minutes, drew the picture and then made it back to the kitchen before the cake was brought out.  It is very hard to decide which of the pictures she has drawn for me, that I like the best.  Since the girl releasing the balloon (my husband insists she looks like she is trying to catch it) is actually two separate pieces of paper, and the maze is way too large for a regular scanner, I took them to a print shop to have them scanned so that I can use them as backgrounds on my computer.  I now wish I had also taken the Alice in Wonderland drawings so I will have to go back.

Rachel did not name the picture "Letting Go".  I did.  The frame sits next to my bed and I often look at it when I am thinking deep Winnie the Pooh kind of thoughts and I found that no matter what the serious thought is, it seemed to keep saying to me, 'let it go'.   Hence the name.  Every time she makes me a drawing, I think that it's my most favorite and then I see the next one.  I can't seem to be able to pick my favorite anymore. 
QOTD:  "A good painting to me has always been like a friend.  It keeps me company, comforts and inspires." ~Hedy Lamarr

06 July 2010

The Gentle Or Gentile Bear Community...

There are times in my life where I can not find my lighter side on my own.  I am blessed, however, with an entire family who have inherited my husband's sense of humor.  Not too long ago we were sitting at the kitchen table having a mini family meeting.  There were things that bugged my husband and I and things that bugged the kids and occasionally we have managed to actually sit down together and talk about them and to see if any compromises were possible that would make everyone happier.

Most of the things were pretty minor but those things that got on a particular family member's nerves, we tried to discuss.  Nina requested that our dishwasher not be run at night or early in the morning because it continuously 'beeps' rather loudly when it is finished a load and the sound wakes her up.  That seemed pretty reasonable.  I also agreed not to run the vacuum before 10am during the summer months.  So then we get to Rachel's request.

My husband built Rachel a very beautiful bedroom in our basement so that she could have her own room.  It turns out, however, to have one slight, unforeseen flaw.  The sewer pipe runs just behind one of her bedroom walls.  If anyone gets up in the middle of the night or early morning to use the loo and then flushes a toilet in either of the bathrooms, it wakes  her up.  Apparently this auditory event is distinctive and loud.

Keep in mind that my husband gets up about 4:30am to be able to get to the base on time.  So we were trying to brainstorm some ideas to avert waking her up at least until my husband could get into the wall and insulate the pipes for sound.  (It's too bad I wouldn't have been able to convince Rachel that they really sound like bagpipes.  After all, one persons music is another persons....)
Husband, "As soon as it slows down at work I will research how to insulate those pipes but in the meanwhile I guess we could just not flush the toilet after Rachel goes to bed till about eight in the morning.  Not a perfect solution but it should suffice in the interim."

Me, "I'm not sure I agree with that.  I can easily anticipate the bathrooms odoriferous environment becoming a laboratory for testing the effects of gas weapons on the human olfactory senses pretty fast.  There are six of us living here right now and with as much time as this family spends in the bathroom, we could end up with backlog of brown submarines that could make their drain diving schedule somewhat crowded or even mission impossible and that is one kind of deck duty that I would seriously prefer to avoid."

My husband nonchalantly says, "Well, I can see this will be easier for me than it will be for you ladies since I can commune with mother nature."

Horrified, I said, "In our yard?"
It took me a minute to realize my husband was yanking my chain, but then I said dryly, "What? One conversation with our neighborhood bear is not enough for you?"
With a serious demeanor, Rachel said, "Oh, don't worry Mom.  Dad will be just marking his territory so the bear knows his boundaries and will be scared off."  (My husband can always count on Rachel to play his 'straight man'.)
 A little while later, the girls were talking about walking to their cousins' house which is just over 7 miles by car.  Nina looked like she wasn't convinced that this was a great idea.  After all, there is all the wildlife to consider...
Rachel trying to gently coax her into going says, "I'm sure we have only gentile bears around here."  (I believe she was trying to draw out the word gentle but it ended up sounding like gen-tile)

Her father, never one to let this kind of opportunity go to waste said to Rachel, "'Gentile' means non-Jewish while 'gentle' means kindly and docile.  So according to you, either we have a local population of non-Jewish bears or they are all kind and cuddly."
QOTD:  "Some people grin and bear it; others smile and do it." ~ Anonymous