Monday, October 29, 2012

The Many Faces of James

It occurred to me that I never really posted an update about Jamie at his second birthday-- we were too pre-occupied with Sofi turning TEN!! (on a side note, can you believe we're only seven years away from a high school graduate???) But as they say, better late than never! I give you James Oliver Forshey, two years old:









And less we forget, in the midst of all the cute, there is also plenty of MISCHEIF and climbing skillz far beyond his age....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Narcissistic Self-realization, because this is a blog, after all...

I made my stage debut at the age of four in a four-man family production of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, performed for the local homeschool support group. I remember it like it was yesterday... Especially this one part where Goldilocks rocks and rocks in Little Bear's rocking chair until she "breaks" it. I had to rock and rock and then tip the chair over backwards. It took some nerve, let me tell you. I remember the rising adrenaline, the quickened breath-- gradually rocking further and further back almost not able to let go and then realizing I'd committed, gone past the balance point, no turning back now and over we went-- crash to the ground. It never really hurt. Not really. But the deliberate letting go of safety and launching myself, Me, Elisa, into the momentary reality of Goldilocks... That was terrifying. And exhilarating.

I've spent a lot of time on stage. Not compared to some, but still. Significant. From the age of four through all of college we had two productions every year without fail-- Christmas and Spring. Like clockwork. And like clockwork, my mother swore every year she'd never do another one. But she always did. And then there where twice yearly violin recitals. And when I started teaching violin in high school we added in two recitals of my own each year. And then I got married and J starting directing productions for his school. And then I started an after school drama club. The Stage Me and the Real Me have kind of merged together by now.

My mother was my drama teacher. She taught me how to throw myself into The Role.

It's like a roller coaster, the long slow minutes creeping up up up to the opening curtain, the mounting tension, the rising adrenaline, poised for that split second as the audience gazes on the opened stage-- the characters poised to begin, the moment of truth. Here we are balanced between heaven and earth, between ordinary me and The Role. I can choose to throw my hands up and whoooooeeeeeeeeee down the track, reveling in the energy and the speed-- I can channel that adrenaline-- refuse to flee or fight, but rather BE someone else for an hour or two. It's terrifying. And exhilarating. I actually hate roller coasters. But I love acting.

I've learned over the years how useful that is... to know how to throw oneself into a Role that way. It can be a superpower. It can also be a bad habit. And like any superpower, it can eventually become so much a part of you that you kind of forget what you're like without it. Which is good, and bad. The Stage Me almost forgets the other me. The one who hated crowds, and talking on the phone. The one who had no friends, who got physically ill before every violin lesson and concert. The Me who is still curled up, tiny and almost invisible now, like a scared little child in the middle of my tummy where the sick feeling still sometimes bubbles in those tense moments before the curtain rises, before the intro starts, before the door opens, before the happy greeting is returned, before the handshake is accepted, before I'm sure that I've pulled it off. That they believe me. Before I know that I'm accepted in whatever Role I'm playing-- wife, mother, friend, helper, teacher, confidant, adviser...

This is the secret about extroverts. Most of us are just good actors.

But I'm learning day by day, to trust that I can Be each of those things, not just act them. And I'm learning too, that I'm perhaps not as good an actor as I think. Or maybe just that I don't have to be as good. That there are people all around me who see through that and maybe even see a little glimpse of the almost-invisible-child and still accept me. And that years and years of acting has created something real, too.

I suppose if one plays a role long enough, one eventually becomes that thing.

check out the other bloggers just writing with Heather...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

More about my Pop-pop

I wrote this about my Pop-pop in 1998... It might not seem like it was about him on first glance, but it was Pop-pop and Grandmom that I was thinking of as I pondered the importance of deep roots "in the pattern of things". I have been blessed to grow up in a family full of traditions and an order of life. I know many would envy me that security and I have never taken it for granted.

They Have Roots

Tall fir trees
Standing sentinel by the lake
They, all dressed in golden touches of the dying sun,
Stand faithful
In their duties for a hundred years;
Guarding my
Past and present from the future.
They have roots
Firm deep in the pattern of things.
So seeing
I go on my way a little

November 23, 1998

He's the only one who ever called me "Lisa"

I feel like the roof is coming off my Life House-- so many of the spiritual and familial pillars of my world have left this life this past year. There's left only my parents, one now seemingly fragile layer left between me and eternity.

Goodby for now, Pop-pop. I've been missing you for along time, I think. Although, to be fair, I did the first leaving. In my mind I can hear your gruff voice in prayer, feel that mighty grip-- such agony for the short seconds of a meal's grace-- you did that on purpose, didn't you?. I can hear the teasing, "What-what??", "Hello, Lemuel!", and the head-tilted, sideways grin, waiting to see what did I think of that?? I so much remember your hands. So much. Gnarled and knotted-- strong as a tree, gripping the fabric and stretching it tight, tacks in the corner of your mouth. Tap the hammer to your lips to spit a tack on the tip and tap-whack, fasten the fabric tight to the frame.

"My Pop-pop made that."

I loved to say those words. And still, the men who make me things are the men I love the most.

The smell of glue and fabric and wood dust, Postum with lots of cream, ice cream. Oh how that man loves ice cream! Chocolate, right? Rich chocolate ice cream. Rich as your life.

Oh the richness of the life you led! Oh what you've left me in stories and knowing and history and belonging to something safe and big and strong! I will tell my stories of you all my life and even though they never knew you, they will know of you.

The rocks you dug up from the corn field and laid for the foundation of the house you built for your bride, where my mother was born, where I was raised, where my brother and sister were born and where you didn't die, but left behind to come away in your old age to start again-- so hard, so brave, a little unhappy, but we loved having you.

The camping-- oh! the camping trip stories I have told... Remember the hurricane? Remember the frogs turned loose? Remember all the fish I never caught? And ice skating? And snowball fights?

The dogs... Remember the long noble line of beagles? Remember burying them behind the chicken coop? Remember the chickens? And the grape arbor? Do you remember Grandmom yodeling? Does she remember how? Does she play the fiddle for you? Do you dance?

I play the fiddle, Pop-pop. And I hold my tacks and pins in my mouth like you, and I squeeze my children's hands when we pray and I kind of love the smell of glue, and I suppose one day I"ll have to take them camping.

I miss you. See you soon....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This week's PSA

Have you tried Ziplist yet? You should.

I posted on FB last week that I was looking for a way to do menu plans and grocery lists online. Someone suggested Ziplist and I'm giving it a try. So far I love it. My favorite features so far...

  • My top favorite feature is the toolbar button that works a little like the Pinterest button. When you see a recipe on a website or blog, you click your "Recipe Clipper" button and it finds and stores the recipe for you on your Ziplist account. 

  • I can make my grocery list and organize it my either the categories (departments in the grocery store) or the stores I'm buying each item at. This is key for me, as I shop at several different stores each week to get the best deals. It's nice to have a separate list for each store

  • I can make a weekly menu plan by selecting recipes I've stored or by entering recipe links, and entering them into the week's calender. Then I can add each recipe to my grocery list (it does it for me, actually) and deselect items I already have on hand.

The site also searches for online deals on the items I have on my grocery list. It keeps a log of the items I put on my list each week (including the store where I purchase them), so each week's suggested list gets "smarter". Ie; I don't have to re-enter each item every time I make a new list.

I haven't explored the site fully yet, but it appears to have other home organization helps beside menu/grocery stuff. I recommend you check it out!

Do you have any favorite online home-maker helps? Have you tried Ziplist before? What other things should I try out?

Friday, October 5, 2012

This I know.

I know one thing about mothering. One thing beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is this:

My Words Have Power.

The words I speak to my children create reality for them. I can tear down or build up with my words. That's my job. Everyday I must selectively demolish and build. Demolish the bad-- harmful habits, hurtful words, disrespectful patterns of speech and behavior. Build the good-- diligence, bravery, perseverance, kindness in speech and actions, faithfulness in the little things and self-control. I build these things largely by talking about them, teaching them, praising their first timid appearances in my children's characters.

So I know this. The problem is, sometimes the demolition seems to take up all my energy, all my time and emotional resources. Sometimes the bad and ugly seem to rise far, far above my puny little wrecking balls and loom over my head with promises of visiting my children in juvie one day soon... the little delinquents.

Today I woke up remembering that demolition is only half of my job. If I tear down and neglect to build in it's place, then I create a vacuum, and we all know how nature feels about that. If I spend all my time disciplining, training, giving out consequences and negatively reinforcing, and then collapse in exhaustion on the couch, my household momentarily bullied into a semblance of peace, then I've missed it. Because while I rest and recuperate, slowly at first and building to a tempest, comes in all manner of  horrible things pouring into the vacuum created by my unfinished work.

Today I woke up determined to do some Rebuilding. I had to slow down first. As always. It always starts there. Giving up my right to Accomplish Many Things. So we started slooooow. We did our chores. We went for a looooong slooooow walk.

We ate lunch.

We read books.

We drew pictures.

That's it. That's all I did today. At least, on the surface. But down deep in Judah's heart I was building all day. Laying the foundation of the man he's going to become one day-- by God's Grace. I praised his bike-riding. His strength. His endurance (he biked nearly four miles while I ran with Jamie in the stroller). I told him about scientists and their keen powers of observation when he noticed a funny kind of grass growing beside the path. "Hooray! I'm going to be a scientist one day!!"

And all the rest of the ride he noticed. Everything. I mean it. Ev. Erything. I was interested in him all day. I taught him that he is important to me, that I care about what he has to say, that I enjoy talking to him and listening. (I'm writing this post in 45 sec bursts, in between helping him with his snapping turtle play-do sculpture).

I know my work is not done because we had one good day. I know there will be plenty to knock down and tear out tomorrow, but I've been encouraged in my determination to Speak Truth into my children's lives. Partly because because I can see it working....

"Mom, sin is really tough to fight. When we try to fight it, we lose... but if we relax... if we relax down in... God can get up and fight it away for us. It's like a big wall in front and we relax down behind and God can *swooosh* fight off Satan for us.You know how in church? In Church we say dat when we sing and pray... Satan TREMBLES? You know dat? It's jist like dat."