Category Archives: on the other hand

Coming into focus

Lately, I’ve been taking a lot of pictures.* When I have the camera in front of me, I’m focused on focusing. I’m looking for the best angle, I’m fussing over lighting and I’m focused on capturing the image in front of me.

Focus.

I put the camera down and my life becomes blurred. What do I focus on next. Do I: Write? Clean the kitchen? Tweet? Fold laundry? Update Facebook? Run errands? Read blogs? Make phone calls? Send e-mails? Prepare and cook the next meal? Look for a job? Do housework?

Endless possibilities and responsibilities. I’m having a very hard time focusing. Too much is forgotten, neglected…dismissed, unfocused…blurred.

When I try to focus on the tasks at hand, I’m overwhelmed. When I try and step back to look at the big picture and gain perspective, I’m even more overwhelmed. Caught between what I desire to do and what is desired of me. Wrestling between what I used to believe and what I now believe. Balancing motherhood and womanhood. Coming to terms with life and mortality and forever.

Wanting everything to come into…focus.

whitetuberose

*I’m working on a year long project with Blissfully Domestic that involves taking at least one photo a day and posting it to a Flickr group. Our official start date is October 1, if you’d like to join us.

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Filed under musings, on the other hand

Bloggers & Margaritas

BlogHop-150I have mixed emotions about everything from salad dressing to politics. I see just about everything from at least two sides. I agonize over what I’m going to wear, what I’m going to fix for dinner and which color polish to put on my toes. Too often I second guess myself. Parenting is complete insanity for me because I feel like I’m being either too overprotective or too laissez faire. My life seems to have very little “middle ground”.

Which is why I sit here simultaneously wishing I was at BlogHer ’09 and being glad that I’m not. On one hand…it would be superbly fabulous to get to see my blogging buddies again, attend parties with peeps, get sweet swag and oh, maybe even sit in on a session or six. On the other hand…being home right now with the responsibilities that life has handed me is really the best choice.

Margarit-her_smallBut I know I’m not alone, which is why I’m BlogHoppin’ and gettin’ together with some fellow Nashville area bloggers, who also did not got to Chicago this weekend, for some face time and margaritas.

If you’re here because you’re BlogHoppin’, welcome to my madness! My most favorite thing about blogging is meeting new people! I also hang out on Twitter (ahem, a lot), if you’re so inclined, leave your Twitter handle in your comment. (I’m @justmalia and @wedblissfully!) If you’re a local yokel, some of us lady blogger types are gettin’ our guac on at Cantina Laredo tomorrow night. Hope to see you there!

typeamom-attendeeAnd there’s also this other, smaller but just as fabulous conference know as Type-A Mom Conference coming up in September. It will be in Asheville, NC (great city!) and I’m making plans to attend! Will you also be at Type-A Con?

To my friends who are at BlogHer, I sincerely hope you’re having the time of your lives. Have fun, soak it all in, and take lots of pictures! Here’s hoping that next year, I’ll be joining you!

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Filed under I blog they blog wouldn't you like to be a blogger too?, link love, on the other hand

My Lent: Prologue

glamour MaliaI remember in high school every February when Ash Wednesday would come around; students would show up with ashes on their foreheads boasting that they would be “giving up” booze or sex for Lent. In those days of youth, it seemed more like a joke than a real religious observance.

And until a few years ago, I hadn’t given Lent another thought. Then my church began the Wednesday night Vespers services. Our Vespers services follow the Liturgical calendar of Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Ordinary time. For the last few years, I’ve participated in Lent only through getting ashes smudged on my forehead on Ash Wednesday and attending the Lenten Vespers services. Last year I thought I’d give the “giving up” something thing a go. I decided to stop yelling at my children. Um yeah, I didn’t even make it home from church that night.

But why observe Lent? I’m not even Catholic. There are many ways of expressing faith in God that the Churches of Christ have never fully observed. On one hand, disciplines such as fasting are talked about but not often practiced by entire congregations. Tithing, on the other hand, is expected and though not officially required, is often strongly encouraged. Oh the ironies! My fellowship of faith rejects many of the practices from Catholicism and orthodox religions as being unnecessary to living out a faith in Jesus Christ. Yet as I get older and essentially more complacent in my faith, I’m finding that the watered down, by the Book, legalistic traditions do little to encourage my faith.

And yet, those things serve as a firm foundation upon which I can grow and supplement with other ways of expressing and living out my faith. Which is where observing Lent comes in. That is Lent, on my own terms.

There are many aspects to the Lenten season that I don’t know about or even fully understand. The major one seems to be the practice of abstaining from something pleasurable for the 40-day period of time from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.  It’s a personal choice for each individual observing Lent. My choice was deeply personal and made for even more personal reasons. And since the choice was personal and it’s “my first rodeo”, so to speak, I’m just focusing on the abstinence part. As a friend, who is also observing Lent, quipped to me the other day, “One thing at a time. We C of C girls have to start off slow.”

Vowing to do something, or not do something as the case would be, is a tremendous responsibility. It requires self-discipline, forethought, courage and commitment. Those are all qualities that strengthen faith and relationships. I’m not sure I fully understood this as I embarked on this Lenten season but I’m understanding it now.

My abstinence item of choice is the consumption of sugary foods. Everything from my sugar sweetened coffee in the mornings, to desserts of any kind, to sodas and alcohol. For the rest of the Lenten season, I’ll write a little bit about how it’s going and what I’ve learned from it.

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Filed under by Malia, musings, on the other hand, religion

The Great Laptop Bag Hunt of ’09

glamour MaliaSo, I got a laptop for Christmas and almost immediately I started looking for laptop bags so that I could cart it around town (because I’m just so cosmopolitan that you’ll often find me perched in trendy coffee shops sipping a latte while I stare intently into my computer screen…or not).

It was a great quest. It needed to be terribly functional, it needed to fit my particular laptop, it needed space for other stuff and it needed to be cute. (That was actually the first priority.)

I found several cute ones and agonized (sadly, yes that’s a true statement) over which one to pick. I finally settled on this one:

lappy-bag

I was so enamored with it on the Internet but now that it’s in my possession….it reminds me of the diaper bag I had when JBelle was a baby. (And honestly, I didn’t very much care for that bag.)

I’m trying to be enamored with it in person. I’ve shown it to people and been all, “isn’t it great?” And really, it is. It’s a well made bag. I fits all the requirements I had except possibly the cute one. It looked so cute in the picture but in my hands?

I feel I should be stuffing diapers, wipes & bottles in there.

::sigh::

On one hand, I feel as though I should keep the bag and get over my whiny self, on the other hand…why keep it if it’s really not what I thought it was going to be?

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I wrote the above part of this post about 5 days ago and upon completing it (but not publishing it), I had made my decision. The laptop bag had to go back. Unfortunately that meant shopping for another one. Since I really wanted to have one for the conference next week, I didn’t want to chance trying to order one online again. That meant I had to go to an actual store. (shudders)

Y’all, I’m not a shopper. I’m severely decision challenged. Choices overwhelm me. Plus, I was on a budget. I wasn’t going to spend more than I paid for the first bag.

Yadda yadda yadda, long story longer…cute laptop bags in the mall aren’t cheap, even on sale. I look at largish handbags…still not seeing anything that fits my criteria. In Macys I find a Fossil purse that it just so cute! But…not big enough for the laptop. I eventually find myself in Dillards wandering through more expensive bags when I spot the same Fossil bags I’d seen at Macys. But these are marked 50% off and on the very top shelf is a bag that is big enough for my laptop! Now, it’s not technically a laptop bag, so I know I’m going to have to find something to add protection and cushion but it’s supah cute and $10 less than what I paid for the first bag. And then…when it rings up at the checkout counter? Another 30% off!! Fossil, FTW!

With the additional savings, I purchased a “laptop sleeve” at Target that will add support and cushioning (plus the color coordinates with the pattern!)

fossil purse posing as a lappy bag

supah cute "laptop" bag

laptop sleeve is aubergine

laptop sleeve is aubergine

And there you have it. The Great Laptop Bag Hunt of ’09 has come to an end. I faced my indecisiveness head-on and prevailed! I think I’m well on my way to year of thriving!

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Disclaimer: I don’t expect any sympathy over this faux-tragedy. Believe me, I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is so low on the list of ills and discomforts that it’s not even laughable it’s really rather pathetic.

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Filed under by Malia, on the other hand, random

Easter “Lite”

oc-christmas-025_crop2.jpgBack in December, our worship minister resigned to pursue other opportunities. He had a bunch of responsibilities in his worship ministry role including Christmas and Easter plays/concerts/productions. His resignation came after the Christmas concert was finished and it didn’t really hit me how much he set the tone for these two holidays until we got to Easter. There was no play/concert/production. There was no special chorus group for Sunday morning’s worship time. The cross that is always used at this time of year did not get set out and draped with a purple sash. And to be quite honest, yesterday felt kind of, well, bland. (I’m not at all disparaging what anyone did for yesterday’s service, just making an observation.)

And I’m not really sure how I feel about that. I know it shouldn’t take the charisma and talents of a worship minister for me to feel excited and joyous about our risen Savior on Easter (or any other Sunday for that matter). But on the other hand, I really missed that aspect of Easter Sunday this year.

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Filed under by Malia, on the other hand, religion

Is that Global Warming in your pocket or…

180px-opus_blue.jpgI am watching the local news this morning.  The news crawler at the bottom of the screen states, “this has been the coldest winter in the United States since 2001 according to scientists at the national climactic data center”.  Then that is followed by, “it is also the 54th coldest winter in the United States since national records began in 1895”.

I guess global warming is off.  Nothing like some statistics to show something is completely wrong.  I mean seriously, it was the 54th coldest winter out of the last 113 winters.  If that doesn’t show conclusively that global warming is false, I don’t know what does.  Stop recycling, start burning coal in the streets to keep warm.  Now I don’t have to feel guilty for eating beef…let those cows flatulate. 

What?  What did you say?  Did you say this winter was also the 59th warmest since record keeping started in 1895?  Oh noes!!  Leave the coastline now!!!  You are all going to be flooded!!  Kiss that snow goodbye you’re never going to see it again!  Gloom, despair, agony!

Seriously, why is this news?  So this winter was just about near the median average over the last 113 years (which would be the 56th and 57th years for those less math inclined).  Woopy.  Sound the alarms.  

This is where modern politics and I can’t be on the same bus.  I don’t understand why people get hysterical over very short-term temporal data.  The economy, the weather, gas prices, whatever the latest argument is over anything.  Everyone (perhaps it is just the media) seems so short-sighted with their microwave popcorn minds hopping to whichever topic burns their retinas next.  That mindset frustrates me, but I am too easily embroiled in it if I allow it.

Our Saucer Magnolia is in bloom.  It is gorgeous with its pink and white flowers.  However, it is very fragile and fleeting.  Just about anything rips those blooms off the tree: a stiff breeze, heavy rain, one freezing night turns them brown and they fall off.  This is probably only the second year out of six that we have had any significant blooming and even now I am expecting that the blooms will be gone in a week.  I am trying to soak up every minute of the beauty of this time because I know it is short.

I can’t help but be reminded that life is like that.  That we are withering grass, here for a short time and then gone with the wind.  I hope I can always remember that: to hold on to what matters most no matter the circumstances, to enjoy today for its own beauty, to not worry about what is down this twisty road called life and enjoy the view for what it is.

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Filed under by DB, on the other hand, Politics, Rant

Dear MNPS School Board, Please Make Up Your Minds!!

Update at the end of post.
Malia pictureLate last week I was perusing our family calendar to familiarize myself with what was coming up this week. I saw that school pictures for JBelle were on the calendar and I sighed to myself thinking, “Hmmm…should she wear the red or pink polo shirt to school that day?” Because, as you remember, Metro Davidson Country Schools now enforce a Standard School Attire dress code. Nothing says personality like every kid’s school picture looking exactly like that of the student sitting next to them!

But wait! Lo and behold the phone rang that same evening with a nice recorded message from the school’s principal. Ms. Principal* was calling to remind everyone about fundraisers, upcoming events, etc. On the list of reminders was school pictures and a notice that for one day only students do not have to wear SSA approved clothing. However, no jeans and no cargo pants would be allowed! So basically, JBelle can wear a dress or a non-collared, even patterned(!) shirt to school on picture day.

OK, I’m thrilled that JBelle can pick-out the outfit of her choice (albeit mother approved outfit) for her school pictures. But, if you’re going to implement a dress-code standard, why change it up for picture day? What? Don’t you want proof of the asinine decision to make every kid look exactly the same and the budget breaking strains placed on lower income families? You’d think the school board would want to flaunt their ground-breaking decision with school pictures that scream, “My individuality has been regulated out of me!” I mean really! Aren’t school pictures supposed to be a “snapshot”, a reflection of what the child looked like that year?

Heh. Now we get to look back at JBelle’s second grade pictures and remember the day, the only day, she didn’t have to wear a collared shirt and khakis.

::sigh::

*Not her real name, natch.

Updated: A couple of things came to my attention since writing this post. First, we got a letter home from Ms. Principal saying that the “no jeans” decision was actually something that fell under “principals discretion”, so she decided to allow the students the opportunity to wear jeans on picture day, if they so desired. Second, apparently each school gets 10 days a year when they can relax the SSA dress code and many schools were choosing to use picture day as one of their ten. A lot of this still totally irks me but as I reiterated to JBelle, these are the rules, we will abide by them and we’ll be respectful. And only Mommy can complain about on her blog 😉 (no, I didn’t say that part to her!)

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Filed under by Malia, on the other hand, Rant