Sep 182010
 

My Sister walked onto a big silver airplane and flew back to Rwanda last night. I felt myself getting very sad on Friday afternoon, and I knew I had to do something to ward off a full-on-funk. I have this tendency to fall into a strange state of mind that they used to call “melancholy.” Now they call it depression, but I still prefer melancholy. Makes me feel very Emily Dickinson-y. Either way, what helps me fight off the funk is to hold a little meeting with myself and demand that I pay close attention to the Little Beautiful things in my life. To look for them, notice them, and insist upon being dazzled by them.


I now present to you my weekend of Little Beautiful Things.

The Melton weekend always starts with a Friday Night Dance Party. After dinner, Chase sneaks over to the IPod and busts out some Miley Cyrus. I don’t know who can possibly remain seated during Party In The USA., but it’s nobody at this house. The only Dance Party Rules are: everybody dances and last song is always Man in the Mirror.




When I tell my friends that Amma has been break dancing since she was fifteen months old, I’m never sure they believe me. So here’s proof.









Every single time I give him the camera.




Saturday morning, mommy works on her hair while daddy makes breakfast. Blueberry pancakes. Since mommy’s still doing her hair after everyone’s done with their pancakes, daddy does the dishes too. My mom used to have a sign on our kitchen wall that said, “No woman ever shot a man while he was doing the dishes.” I liked that sign.






Then we headed off to a Fall Pumpkin Festival to celebrate the beginning of Fall. Because there is just nothing cozier or more comforting than Fall.







Next stop: Hay ride. Which we climbed onto before remembering that Craig is allergic to hay.



 









This is when I modeled for Amma how to be brave and touch the goats. Go ahead honey,touch the nice goats. it’s okay. You’ll notice that I never actually touch the goats though. Because eeewww, goats.






Craig took this picture right after I said, Make sure you get my watch in the shot. This is my new watch. My mom and I bought it last weekend. After I’d been wearing it for a few hours, Tisha looked down and said, “Are you going to set it?” And I said, “What? I never thought of that.” Because I always just think of watches as bracelets, really. I once wore a watch for two years without setting it, and when people asked me what time it was I just looked apologetic at them and said, Oh, I’m sorry, it just broke.

But when Tisha suggested
really setting this one, I thought the idea might really match my new and improved organized self, So I did! I set it! And then I spent all day at the farm hoping someone would ask me what time it was. So I could tell them and appear to be the type of mom who totally knows what time it is. But nobody asked. Not even this goat, who was like six inches away from my watch and had to have seen it. I mean it’s bedazzled. I’m just saying that I thought ignoring my new snazzy watch was a little passive aggressive of him. Whatever, goat.










Here are two of my best friends on the whole Earth, Manal and Lida, with their little beautiful things.



One of the things Momastery readers often say to me in emails is I wish we were friends in real life. And I always think…..Eh. You’d be disappointed. I’m actually not a great friend. I don’t stay in touch. I don’t remember birthdays, I don’t don’t really understand how to keep track of people. But I’ve promised myself that this is the year I’m going to learn. I’m going to take better care of my friendships. And I’ll be watching Manal to learn how it’s done. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s going to tutor me, so I can learn from the best.

Oh, also, Happy Birthday, Manal. I remembered.





When Lida hugs me, she always holds on for a little bit longer than necessary. She just squeezes and squeezes with blatant disregard for basic human hug timing etiquette. She hugs me like she trying to send me a message . . . like she’s saying, all is forgiven, you are loved. She hugs me like she’s recently heard that I’m in a tough place. And every single time, even though I know those extra few seconds are coming, I get choked up during my Lida hugs. Because Lida knows that we’re always in some type of tough place. And so Lida’s not in a rush to let go, even when she knows it’s probably time. And that is why we’re still friends.




I wanted to slip an index card with the Momastery link to this Mama Pig. I just felt like she needed us.





Right after this extreme feat of bravery, Amma turned around and screamed, “I TOUCHED THE COW!” Oh well, third kid, not as much time for farm animal lessons.





I live for little beautiful moments like these. When a hundred kids are running, running, running up the hill to take their coveted place in the long slide line. And suddenly you notice that your boy is letting them all pass. So he can help his baby sister make it up the hill too.




And you think, well, we certainly don’t have this parenting thing all figured out. But something is going very right.





Thank you for this one, Universe. Thank you for Craig. I promise, promise to take good care of him.







 

 

Then off to baseball practice. We are doing it, guys. We are showing up at practice, and sometimes (not often, but sometimes) we are actually hitting balls!







Home again, home again, jiggety jig, and while the girls eat a vegetarian, protein packed lunch (what can I say, I’m a choosy mom) . . .







. . . Craig works on prying open the bathroom door that Tish locked and then shut. For fun.

Craig thought that this was a big problem. I thought it was a nice opportunity to keep the bathroom clean. Until I realized that my zit cream and hairdryer were in that bathroom. At which point I said Husband don’t you stop ’till that door is OPEN. Three hours later . . . hairdryer rescued.



Then off to dinner at Leigha and Pablo’s. For dinner with friends. Dinner with friends. Love that. So grown up.







Pablo and Craig doing what they do. Discussing walkways and stuff.

 



This is Anna, who belongs to Leigha and Pablo. Last year, she was eating with us and asked if she could say grace. She said, “Dear Gosh, Thank you for our food.” Then, on Halloween, she dressed up as Cinderella and introduced Leigha as her “Fairy Goshmother.” I have never known a person who goes to such great lengths to avoid taking the Lord’s name in vain. Anna is one of the beautifulest little things I know.



Here’s Lexi. She’s Anna’s little Sis and stays busy being too cute for anyone’s good. She and Amma are Best Friends Forever and Leigha and I pray that one day they will begin using their two year old powers for good. Let’s just say it’s gonna be a long year for Leigha and me.



This shiny blondie is Kerstin, and she belongs to my Angel Friend, Karen and her hubby, Eric. Karen and Eric managed to avoid my camera all evening. But they cannot hide forever. Jeesh, it’s like they think I’m going to publish their pictures for the whole world to see. Paranoid.



And then it was down to the fire pit for Smore’s in Leigha’s driveway. And it was little glowing faces covered in marshmallows and the warmth of the fire on our outstretched hands and then staying a little too long into the night just to squeeze out a little more little beauty.






And then it was into the van and we’re home and up the stairs and into bed without brushing their teeth. And it was tucking my little beauties into their warm beds and kissing them goodnight and remembering to silently say Thank you, God, for good friends and sticky little cheeks and warm beds.


And then it was a good night’s sleep.


And we woke up on a lazy, lovely Sunday and made breakfast and started saying to each other…you know, maybe we should start going to church again Next Sunday. Yeah. That’d be good.

Which was okay. Because we’re fairly certain that God is at the Farmers’ Market, too.







And then home with our peaches for MOMMY, MANDY AND JOHN ARE HERE!




 









And then it was Sweeties…Faith is believing what we can’t see. Which is why we’re still Redskins fans. Get your jersies on.



 








And then out to the front yard for baseball with John at half-time. And watching John with Sister and the kids and listening to him teach Chase to throw the ball with three fingers, buddy. And realizing that he brought his own glove just so he could teach Chase how to throw. And thinking, I LOVE this guy. He is one of Us, this guy.






And then it was God Bless Us, Every One.


And Goodbyes that weren’t fit for shooting.



 

But left us feeling like this:



And Even So.


It was staying up late and putting together this post and looking at all of this little beauty. And then it was laying my head down on my cool pillow and realizing with amusement that the weekend’s final score was:



Glennon: 1

Melancholy: 0

Here’s to a beautiful little week.

 

Sep 172010
 
As you know, Sister flew home from Rwanda for a visit last month.




We immediately began a whirlwind of weddings. First, we flew to Ohio to unite with the Kishman clan, Tisha’s family, and celebrate my cousin Allison’s marriage to her love, Troy.

This is The Matriarch, my grandma. We call her “Dama,” but her real name is Alice Flaherty Kishman. You can read about her here. This is Mandy giving her a rosary she bought in France. Listen to me. If you meet Dama, just start talking about rosaries. Or Mother Teresa. Possibly the Pope. Chocolate, perhaps. These are the only safe topics.



I sneaked behind them and took this picture because you guys, THIS IS WHAT DAMA REALLY WATCHES. ALL THE TIME. This is NOT a Saturday Night Live skit. It’s a REAL channel. But I don’t make fun (I mean to her face) because those daily rosaries she says are the only explanation I have for my survival. Pray on, Dama.






This is what Sister and I do. We get ready. And Sister always asks me over and over, “Is this dress too short? Are these heels to high? And I always ask, “Can you see my zits? Will people notice I’ve worn this dress to every event for the last ten years?” And we tell each other… NO, SISTER. YOU LOOK PERFECT. Obviously, the true answer to those questions is always Um, Yeah.




Handsome and Pretty.


You guys, please look at my Mama. I mean, really. This woman just received her first social security check. And no, no surgery. Tisha is proves that the fountain of youth is staying open hearted and loving well. I must admit that I am really very excited about my genes, as is Craig.




 


Bubbalicious.







The bride, my incredible cousin, Allison – and her Troy.



 


Yeah. We kept doing this all night.



And of course, There Was Dancing. Well, at least there was some serious flailing.





And then . . . Wedding #2, the following weekend. Meet Mike and his bride Brookie, who has been Sister’s best friend since they were three years old.




Nobody knows why Sister always does this:



During the wedding, Mandy’s friend Hollis gave an incredible toast about sisterhood, and I turned around at my table and shot this picture. Because I knew Sister would be looking at me like this. (What Up, Bums!)



Love you, Sister. Love you, mama. While I was staring at this picture, it struck me that it is possible that Sister and Tisha have their own relationship, independent of me.


Nah.


While I put together this post, I showed the pictures to Tish. She got a little sad. She misses her aunt. Mostly, she said, because nobody else gives me gum. So we made a paper chain to help us countdown the days ’till Mandy gets back. Yes, I’m in yoga clothes. It is very important to plan a yoga class immediately following art projects with the girls. We made 70 links. 70 days till Aunt Mandy comes home. Which made for a pretty long chain.



When Chase got home from school he said, “Is that thing supposed to make me feel better?” Whatever, Chase, I was trying to do a cute mom thing.




Cant wait ’till we get to this part. Can’t wait.




Peace Out, Lovies. Keep it Real Today.

 



 


Love, G





Sep 162010
 


I get really overwhelmed by the world sometimes. I know you are SHOCKED by this revelation.

Craig and I are media-challenged because I can’t seem to make it through a movie or the news without crying or yelling. It’s hard on Craig, but I can’t help it. It’s all so upsetting. So many people hurting each other. Forgetting about each other. Causing so much unnecessary pain. And I get a little nuts, because I feel so powerless to fix any of it.

But whenever I get like this – worked up into a furious, despondent, self-righteous tantrum – I inevitably feel this annoying tugging on the back of my shirt. The same kind of shirt-tugging that my kids employ when they want my attention. The Tugger is God, I’m guessing. And the Tugger whispers . . . “Well, there is one thing you could do to help the world. You could try harder not to be a jerk.”

I HATE this suggestion. I always counter back by offering to send a check somewhere instead. God shrugs.

Anne Lamott says,“God loves us just the way we are, and He loves us too much to let us stay that way.” That sounds right to me.

I’ve been thinking about how I watch the news in shock and awe and marvel at how people can shoot and kill and be so damn horrific and violent to each other. My heart’s outrage suggests that I could never be capable of this viciousness. But the Tugger raises His eyebrows. The Tugger asks if maybe I am quite capable of viciousness. I just have a different weapon and socially acceptable ammunition.

Listen to me. This is my Love Experiment for the next year:

For one year, I am not going to allow a negative word about a fellow human being exit my mouth. I am not going to use my words as weapons for one year.

In short:

I am not going to nasty gossip. To anyone other than the Tugger.

And furthermore, I am not going to listen to nasty gossip.

Even if the gossip is given under the guise of “concern.” Because if a concern is big enough to talk about, then it is big enough to be addressed directly to the concern-ee. And if a concern is not big enough to be addressed directly to the concern-ee, then it’s not big enough to talk about.

I want to live in a world where women trust each other. Where people know where they stand with each other. Where women give each other the benefit of the doubt simply because they believe down deep that other people are doing the best they can. Where self control is valued. Where women don’t delight in evil. And so I am going to create that type of world for myself. Because we all create the world in which we live. That’s the secret. If you want the world to be different, then go ahead and make a different world for yourself.

Gossip is tricky. Not gossiping is even trickier. Because here’s the thing. There is something inside me that loves gossip so incredibly much. When someone shares something with me about someone else . . . a juicy little morsel, it makes me feel so IN. It just makes me feel so special and accepted and like if she’s talking to ME about HER than she must like ME more than HER and it just feels cozy and like we are in this little circle of trust.

But as my dear friend Adrianne says, (Earmuffs, Jesus) “That. Is Some Bullshit.”

When someone shares a secret or complaint or judgment of another with me, all it proves it that she’ll do the same thing to me. It offers a false sense of security, this gossiping. No time for false things during this beautiful short life. We’re looking for the Truth.

It’s going to be hard. This new Love Experiment is likely to put a damper on some friendships. It might make certain get-togethers a little less fun and I might be left out of some juicy conversations. I probably won’t be as funny or exciting. I might be a bit of a wet blanket. That’s okay. Because I want to be a woman who can be trusted. More than I want to be funny or envied or admired or IN, I want to be trusted. I want to be a safe place for friends to land. I want to be honorable.

This a scary undertaking. But there have been other times in my life when I’ve decided to get rid of destructive habits that were getting in the way of my best life. When I realized I needed to quit drinking and drugging and smoking . . . I was terrified. It seemed impossible. Because that’s what I did. That’s what most people around me did.

But the Tugger insisted that I try. He kept tugging and tugging and repeating that life could be different, better, if I just kept experimenting with His way instead of mine. And so I ignored impossible and just tried. And as it turns out, letting go of the ugly allowed room for so much beautiful.



As always, I’m betting the outcomes of this experiment will be bigger and better than I can now imagine.

I’m betting I’ll experience life differently. My perspectacles will be clearer, crisper. Because we find what we look for in life and in people. And if I stop looking for things to complain about, I bet I’ll stop seeing things to complain about. And I bet I’ll see more of the beauty in people. That’ll be nice.

And maybe as an added bonus, once and for all I’ll really start believing that I’m okay, Especially if I stop frantically trying to prove it by suggesting that others aren’t. Because that’s what we do, I think. We are all just trying to prove that we’re okay.

I don’t think we need to prove anything, after all. I really do think we’re all okay, even though we’re each okay differently. And so I think we can stop worrying and just enjoy each other. We can treat each other’s hearts with honor and care and with the Great Gentleness that each and every heart deserves.

We can be elegant.



Elegance, Hafiz


It

Is not easy

To stop thinking ill

Of others.


Usually one must enter into a friendship

With a person


Who has accomplished that great feat himself.

Then


Something

Might start to rub off on you

Of that

True

Elegance.

___

Yes, Please.


Love,

G