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Thursday, June 27, 2013

"A Journey Moment"

Believe in love.  Believe in happiness.  Believe in goodness.  Believe in magic.  Believe in words and their power to heal.  Believe in ice cream.  Believe in the extraordinary.  Believe in compassion.  Believe in forgiveness.  Believe in hope.  Believe in lipstick!  Believe in beauty and see how it surrounds you.  Believe in laughter.  Believe in sincerity.  Believe in cookies.  Believe in the bigger picture.  Believe in friendship.  Believe in the "journey" and the abundance of joy it holds.  
Most importantly...

     Believe in yourself and all you are capable of.             

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Am A Spoon

Scene:  It's late.  All is quiet at the Best Western except for the hum of the AC and the giggles coming from the McD family.  Pajamas have been donned.  Faces have been washed and teeth have been brushed.  Everyone is sitting on the hotel bed, huddled around a small, plastic timer.  The fourth round of Hedbandz is beginning...

(Lilly is a spoon.  She doesn't know she is a spoon.  She has to ask questions to figure out what she is.)

Lilly:  Am I something you can use?

Me and James:  Yes!

Lilly:  Am I a unicorn?

Me and James, laughing and laughing:  No, Lilly!

Lilly:  Will you give me a clue?

Me: is something you use in the kitchen.

Lilly:  Am I a time machine?!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

On Facing Fears

I like to think I'm pretty tough.  Brave to the core and unshakeable in my courage.  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

(Don't laugh.)

But in actuality, I'm a big wimp.  Numerous things scare me:

Air turbulence while flying.  Roller coasters.  E.T.  Spiders.  Being in the woods at night.  (Some people call this camping...HA!)  "Life in the E.R." documentaries.  Unsolved Mysterious.  Deep, dark, lake water.  (Who knows WHAT is in there, buzzing your butt cheeks!)  Cockroaches.  Moldy leftovers.  Ski lifts.  (I KNOW the day I ride one is the day the cable breaks.)  Throw up.  Going to the dentist.  LARRY KING!

See?  WIMPY!  My little Lilly Girl also has fears.  She hates butterflies, is scared of the dark, and doesn't like to go too fast on her bike.  Her BIGGEST fear to date is being in front of crowds of people.  Like on a stage.  In some kind of performance.  That kind of attention makes her nervous; large groups staring at her make her cry.

As you can imagine, I was just as nervous as she was about her "end of the year," western-themed, kindergarten program.  She had expressed her anxieties about singing and dancing "in front of all those parents," and I had prayed and prayed to be able to take her fear away.  I didn't know what to expect.  Would she freeze?  Would she hide her face in her shirt?  Would she be able to stay on stage, or would she have to come sit in the audience with me?

Oh my goodness, you guys!!!  She was AMAZING!  She sang, she danced, she waved, she smiled.  My mama heart filled with pride to the point of almost bursting.

Later, as we celebrated with Slurpees at the 7-11, she turned to me and said, "Mom, isn't this the best day?  It's MY day!"

"It sure is, Lil!  You did a great job in your program.  I'm so proud of you!"

"I'm proud too," she replied, "I'm proud because I did it...I faced my fear."

Her response stopped me in my tracks.  I had never heard her say anything like that before.  I had never used those words, "face your fear," with her.  I could only assume it was the work of her brilliant kindergarten teacher--eagerly thwarting Lil's panic attacks with motivating words the week before showtime.

There will be moments in our lives when we will be forced to confront our fears.  As we prepare to face them head on--mustering all the much-needed courage our bodies can contain--it is vital to remember that the things we fear hold no power.  WE are the ones who give those fears power, merely by being afraid of them.  It is a Japanese proverb that reminds us that our fears are only as deep as our minds allow.

Thank you, Lilly Girl, for your example!  For every scary "hurdle" we successfully leap over, we gain a little more confidence, a little more perspective, a little more courage.  When we stare fear in the face and conquer it--thus experiencing sweet success--we realize that we can do anything.

So...if I ever happen to meet the formidable and "owlish" Larry King in a dark alley in the middle of the night, I don't have to run away, screaming; terrified.  I have other options.

I could simply smile.
I could even say hi.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day; A Very Special Guest Post

(A very special guest post from a man who is very special to dad. Happy Father's Day to one of the funniest, most charismatic, most kind men I know. You, Papa Mike! Important note: He refers to me as "Queen of Blog," which I am not! He's just being nice and supportive. Which is to say, a good dad. Enjoy!)  

My daughter, the Queen of Blog, asked me to be her guest blogger on Father’s Day 2013 and relate to you my thoughts on being a dad. How cool is that? I didn’t think she would ask me again after I related my experience with my first Ragnar Relay nearly two years ago!

It is said that parenthood is the single greatest preserve of the amateur. Have you ever wondered why we all get along so marvelously with our grandparents? It’s because we both have “common enemies.”

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Evidence

There are good dads all around me.

I love to watch them being good dads in simple, candid moments.  When they bend down to tie their toddler's shoe, or to push a gleeful child on a swing.  When they pat their teenagers' backs and cheer at little league baseball games.  I see good dads cleaning sticky faces, cradling babies, and jumping on trampolines with their summer-loving children.  These small and sincere actions are the undoubted "evidence" of a good dad.

There are good dads all around me.

Not only do I spot them in grocery stores and on playgrounds, on my street and in my community, but in my Instagram feed as well.  Lately I've noticed just how many wonderful pictures there are of good dads being good dads.  I wanted to share some favorites with you...

and remind you that there are good dads all around you too.

Photo courtesy of Shannon at Lucky Red Hen.

Photo courtesy of JP at After All These Years.

While my sis-in-law was out of town, my brother watched YouTube tutorials on how to braid their daughter's hair.  This is what he created!  Photo courtesy of Camille at Six Sisters' Stuff.
Photo courtesy of Maria at Everyday Is A Country Song.

Photo courtesy of Elyse at Six Sisters' Stuff.

Photo courtesy of Lindsey at The R House.

"A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty."
--Author Unknown

Happiest of Father's Days to Good Dads Everywhere!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Good Dad

Nestled between the rugged Uinta and Wasatch mountain ranges is a small, beautiful valley.  Not only will you find horse pastures, farmland, charming homes, and a great burger joint in this valley, you will also find a historic rail yard and train depot circa 1899.  Originally, the trains provided transportation to the earliest settlers of the valley.  Now, tourism and restoration has become the primary focus.  One-hundred-year-old steam locomotives pull vintage and restored coaches filled with tourists through the surrounding scenic mountains.    

About a year ago, the McD clan paid a visit to this valley for the "Day Out With Thomas the Train" event.  It was our first visit to the rail yard and train station.  White tents had been set up around the premises, to resemble a simple carnival.  We ate fresh, homemade kettle corn.  We played games, enjoyed a magician, and helped Cam chase after his stray golf ball on the the "putt-putt" course.  While we were waiting our turn to ride the train, we decided to take the little ones to the hay bale maze.  I snapped some pictures while my McHubby helped Lil and Cam through the maze.  One picture stood out to me:

Like a good daddy, James was showing his children the right way to go.

That's what good dads do.  They point us in the right direction.  They encourage us to choose the best paths.  They counsel.  They advise.  They lead and guide us when we're young; teaching correct principles that help shape us into the moral adults we become.

And, undoubtedly, they are always there for us when we get lost.

Today, I am grateful for my own good dad, who lovingly helped me navigate the frequently lonely (and often confusing) "mazes" of my young life.  He continues to help and uplift me.

I am grateful for James, who pushes and pulls and stretches and reaches  for "good dad status" on a regular basis.  He serves as the steadfast mortar of our family unit.  I love the tender heart that lies beneath his quiet exterior.

Mostly, I am grateful for a God above--a divine Father who loves me, knows me, is aware of me, and wants me to be happy.  I know when I spend solitary time on my knees--conversing with him through the power of prayer--I am supported and sustained.  I am heard.

With His help, I always find my way.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Lenny and Love

It was late.  The kids were nestled into their beds, the house was quiet, and I was enjoying a bowl of peanut butter cup ice-cream as big as my head.  It had been a long day and I was unwinding in front of the telly!

I had been mindlessly clicking the remote, flipping through a myriad of uninteresting channels, when I stumbled upon Oprah's "Master Class" on her network, OWN.  The episode on Lenny Kravitz was just about to start.  I paused, curious.  That Lenny is a sexy dude--dreads or no dreads--and I wondered what he'd share about life and lessons learned.

He said something within the first few minutes of his episode that resonated with me.  He said that people are always asking him why he writes music about love, why he so frequently sings about love.  He shared the answer he typically gives to those inquires, and I found it beautiful and profound:

Because that is what life is all about.  That's what we're here for--to love.  We were created out of love.  We're here to learn how to love, and to be loved in return.  It's everything.

His comment sent me on a path of pondering!  We have (almost daily) opportunities to learn about love in our marriages, in our friendships...

and in our families.

If you think about it, the "institution" of family is comparable to an institution of higher learning.  It's like a university.  We "attend classes" and have experiences that would shape us into who we are meant to be.  Our purest selves.  We study Forgiveness 101.  Anger Management 101.  Charity 101.  Patience 101.

LOVE 101.  Where one of the most important lessons we learn is that love is all around us.  It is in us.

And oh my gosh, based on this analogy, would that make Lenny Kravitz one of my professors?!

Enroll me now!

Monday, June 3, 2013

PinkBlush Maternity Giveaway!

Have you heard?  I am pregnant.

So when PinkBlush Maternity contacted me and said, "Hey, can we send you a dress or shirt from our site?," I said the only thing I could say...


Their maternity clothes are so fresh and fun your baby bump will feel nothing but pretty.  I love the maxi dresses and their bright colors, the feminine frills on the tops, and the trendy maternity styles.  And you will too!  Because PinkBlush Maternity is generously giving a $25 gift certificate to a Mama Leisha reader!  Hooray!

Entering is easy:

       a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends this Friday, June 7th!  GOOD LUCK!