Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

An unexpected "snow" day. Freezing rain last night caused dangerously icy roads and cancelled buses, meaning the girls would get to stay home. The phone call came at bedtime last night. They were elated.

I was not.

Between our vacation and Christmas holidays, we've had an entire month off - and it's not that I haven't enjoyed my time with them. I have, very much. It's not even that I didn't want them around today. It's that as much as I love unscheduled, laid-back, do-what-we-want-when-we-feel-like-it time, I need routine. My internal wiring demands it.

While they were in school yesterday, I spent the day getting my house back in order - doing laundry, cleaning and padding the pockets of the owners of Costco. A start, but just barely.

Today was going to be the day. Although I was tired, today I was going to get back in the saddle, clean out my Inbox, get back into the groove of my volunteer work and take care of some important tasks that have been sitting idle for the past month. Didn't happen. There was no way any of it could happen - my #1 supporter was away from the wee hours of the morning and will not return until late tonight. Today could not go as I had hoped. Disappointment.

Plan B. I would do something I enjoy with the girls. We would work together to digitally scrapbook our vacation. Yeah, that sounds like fun! While trying to set up the basement computer, the wireless keyboard decided it had a mind of its own, excited children were impatient, and there was a huge, sticky mess all over the table I was trying to work on (that I had asked them to clean up three times already.) How many times do I have to ask them to clean up their messes? Frustration.

Then the phone rang.

A commitment from two years ago lingers. I thought I wrapped up all the loose ends months ago. Not so. It's important, it's urgent -- and it's my responsibility to make sure it happens or the consequences could be undesirable at best. Stress. I thought I had dealt with this very issue, but my follow up was inadequate. Phone calls. More stress. Harsh words directed at me. Children interrupting and wanting my attention while I was on the phone. Blood pressure rising, tears threatening. Not my best performance, true, but not failure either. Am I really cut out for leadership? Insecurity.

This is where the rubber meets the road. Here I am on this journey to find joy in situations, and I am clearly not feeling the love. Whose fault is that? We are only capable of feeling one emotion at a time. We get to CHOOSE that emotion. The only way to fight emotion is with emotion.

I choose joy.

It was time to start that list of 1000 gifts. The girls question. I explain, they join. This is the woman I want to be. This is the mom I want to be. I've always been convicted that the best way to lead is by example. Good, bad or ugly, it always works. This is the direction I want to lead in.

The rubber met the road today.

And we took off with a squeal of delight.

(Gift #3: Groovin' with my girls.)


  1. Amazing. I love your honesty and the choice of joy! Dancing with the girls is a great gift. Enjoy! Many gifts to follow. :)

  2. I just watched the youtube clip for the 1000 gifts. It sounds really good. Very inspirational. I might just have to read it. And I take it... gifts are things that help you to step back from the craziness of life and find the simple things that help you live and enjoy the moment. Do I have that about right? And your gift today was to step back and dance with your girls? Sounds good to me. Sounds like you've had a hard day today. :( But, at least it ended better and you were able to find some joy. :)

  3. Hi Amber,

    Listing 1000 gifts is like a gratitude journal, intentionally looking for and keeping track of gifts from God - the blessings, the things that, as a wise Kindergarten TA I know likes to say, "make your heart sing."

    By looking for those, savoring them and then naming them, we are able to enjoy the moment more fully because we are focused on it. So yes, I'd say you have that about right... though I am not explaining it nearly as well as the book does.

    It truly is an amazing book. I think you'd enjoy it.

    Yes, my morning was rough. I guess what I could have said more clearly was that all that happened in the morning and after I adjusted my attitude (chose joy), the afternoon was quite a lot of fun!

  4. Great attitude choice Joy is fabulous! Where can you get the book you were talking about? Sounds like a fantastic read!!

  5. Juanita - it was a gift to me, but I found it on so I'm guessing it also be in most major and Christian bookstores. Even though I didn't pay for it, I'd have to say it was worth every penny and then some!