Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When Worlds Collide

Ok, pop quiz on this cheery Tuesday morning!

What do Spongebob, Penguins of Madagascar, Alice in Wonderland, Snoop Dogg, Toy Story 3, supermodel Heidi Klum, Katy Perry, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 have in common?

(dramatic pause here....)

Give up?

Well, if you're under the age of 18, you probably aced this quiz. If you're a parent of any sort, my guess is, you failed.

They were all a part of the 2011 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

"But Jill! What could a Victoria's Secret Model possibly have in common with Buzz Lightyear?"

I'm glad you asked. The answer to this question is; I HAVE NO IDEA.

It's Tuesday morning, about 10:30 am. I've had two cups of coffee, and I'm just sitting here, minding my own business, doing some light reading about who won what this year for the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

And I literally heard myself say, "WHAT???" outloud as I read it.

If you know me, you know I'm not Amish. I like my cable TV with hundreds of channels. We subscribe to Netflix, so I can see TV shows and movies of my choice whenever I want. My husband just sold his little fishing boat and bought our family an Xbox 360 Kinect, where you use your actual body as the controller for the game(which I think I am developing a crush on). I have an iPhone, and iPad, and a Kindle. I listen to music, both Christian and secular, all the time. We go to movies. I DVR my favorite shows (American Idol and Celebrity Apprentice) and watch them faithfully. So before you label me as one of "those" Christian moms who only allows her little ones to watch black and white Doris Day movies from 1957, I want to stress to you that I am NOT.

Having said that, I realize all the time that, in spite of our technologically current household, my lifestyle holds pretty true to my blog name, and we are WAY more old school than new school up in here.

For the life of me, I cannot find the common denominator between the sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea and a singer who sings about sun-kissed skin being so hot it'll "melt your Popsicle," nor can I wrap my mind around why they shared a stage for what was created to be a "kids'" award show.

Here's my fear.

Parents still think Nickelodeon is what it was in 1995.


We honestly treat Nick as if it's MTV in our house. There are some shows quite entertaining and age appropriate. However, there are some shows that are not only completely adult in their content, but are not even suitable FOR adults.

Not sold on this idea that Nickelodeon isn't appropriate viewing material for your precious angels without your supervision? Ok. Let's look at the cast of characters at the awards' show. (Captions are below each picture).

This dashing young man sings songs with lyrics like (and I quote): I'm gonna take you down, down, I'm gonna take you down... I want the love liquor, now lick it... Or, how about this? (QUOTE) She's hopped up on me, I've got her in my zone...
Her body's pressed up on me, I think she's ready to blow. Must be my future sex love sound...Just tell me which way you like that, All you gotta do is tell me which way you like that... You can't stop, baby, You can't stop once you've turned me on
And your enemy are your thoughts, baby...So just let 'em go, 'Cause all I need is a moment alone-- To give you my tongue and put you out of control-- And after you let it in we'll be skin to skin...It's just so natural
Is it natural? For a 10 year old to see THIS man representing ANYTHING worthy of admiration on an awards' show geared for CHILDREN?

She was one of the "best dressed." Really? Because from where I sit, this is NOT how Legos were meant to be played with.

Can ANYONE tell me why Kim Kardashian was there? At ALL? Because one of her most recent photoshoots was so indecent, I didn't even want to put it on here to show you how bad it was. (and that's BAD).

Snoop Dogg. Wow. Let's look at some of his masterful song writing skills. (Quote) I wake up early in the morning and it feels so good, Smoking on some s*** that you wish you could...Jealousy, envy please don't feel bad- This weed is mine get your own bag... This weed is mine, This weed is mine you can't have it... This weed is mine, This weed is mine you can't have it. Now, Snoop. Your mother taught you to share! That's why you're on the Kids' Choice Awards!

This cheerful young lady is from the hit show "Gossip Girl." It's a very wholesome show (sarcasm)about drugs, booze, infidelity, friendships gone awry, and the very nice "15 things every college Student should do before graduating," which included a threesome. Well.

Nope. Nope, nope, nope. On every level, NOPE.


Now. Granted, Justin Timberlake wasn't spreading Futuresex lyrics out to his young audience. And Snoop wasn't letting children pass around joints during the ceremony. But is that the point? Is that what we want our kids to catch? That as long as people clean up well and say all the right things on stage, we can admire them while they're shining? Do we want them to see idols of the like on their TV screens in a "safe" place like Nickelodeon, thus leading them to deem these celebs "safe" to listen to, look up to, and follow?

I don't think so.

'Cause here's the deal. An organization we once trusted can put a shiny outfit on someone, let them receive an award, (where they will guaranteed thank God for their talent and thank their mother for not giving up on them), but that does NOT pass the litmus test of is this okay for my child.

The old Nick is gone. (Thank God for Nick Jr-- Little Bill, Miss Spider, and Oswald still exist there... for now).

We've got to wake up. And fast.

Kids' Choice Awards? I think not. WE have allowed this. Parents' Choice Awards is more like it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Ok. Here's the deal. My daughter is slow.

Not in brain function. Lord knows this child is brilliant. She knows all about placentas, spine surgeries, and autopsies, thanks to Discovery Health. The girl is a relationship guru-- able to bring peace to just about any conflict with her hostage negotiation skills. She is a master communicator-- able to let her feelings flow with beautiful linguistics. She's a singer/songwriter that puts most top 40 artists to shame. She's an A/B student-- school work isn't really a problem.

But getting ready to get out the door? S-L-O-W.
Packing to go on a trip? S-L-O-W.
Getting out of the car? S-L-O-W.
Running an errand, like "take this to your room"? S-L-O-W.
We're running late, the meadow is on fire, and we need to go NOW? S-L-O-W.

This irritates me beyond measure.

All my life, I've been "ahead of my time." I always looked older than I really am. I age like my daddy (no offense, Dad). Had 6 teeth at 6 months old. Read proficiently by the age of 3. Hit puberty at 9 and a half. Seriously. Was constantly mistaken for my baby sister's mom at age 13. Married at 19. You get the picture. And my nature is "get it done, and get it done NOW." We get home from vacation at 5:00 pm and I guarantee you by 8:00 pm, I have unpacked. (Which may be why I got a speeding ticket a mere three days after getting my license).

Enter Abigail.

She's the kid on the Family Circus comic strip who goes around the world to get to the mailbox and back. Life is not a mad rush for her. She will do what is asked of her... eventually. And at first, I thought this was rebellion. However, once I slowed down (ugh) and observed her, I realized that to expect her to walk at my pace was in essence, trying to reprogram her altogether.

One morning recently, I saw her doing her morning thing at her normal Abi-pace, and I was completely irritated. When I told her to brush her hair, she did. But she did it as if she was Rapunzel, staring into a magic mirror and singing a love song about her luscious locks while she brushed. When I told her to get her clothes on, she did-- but not before laying them out on the bed and looking at them closely first. When I said "get your shoes on," she obliged, but not before adjusting the hem of the toes on her socks evenly with her toes and ensuring the heel of her socks evenly caressed her heel as they should. I barked, "ABI, HURRY UP!!!"

Her response, calm as can be. "Mom, just one morning, I wish you wouldn't say 'hurry up' to me."


Here's the thing. When there's something to be done, I am task driven. Get it done and move on to the next thing. Abi is NEVER, EVER, EVER task driven. She is people driven. She lives in the moment. She's concerned about the little bird that I never saw while we are unloading groceries from the van. She has a song in her heart and it will be sung whether she's doing her reading homework or cleaning her room. She won't walk to the mailbox, but she WILL skip-- and along the way will pick the tiniest flower you've ever seen and bring it in for my viewing pleasure. Thanks to her Abi-pace, she notices sad people-- the ones I pass and never see because I need to get laundry detergent and get home.

I've started making myself appreciate the Abi-pace a little more. Because as I see it, life tends to pass by and one day blurs into the next, and I missed a few moments that were noteworthy in my rush to get it all done. And honestly, I can't stand the thought that in my haste, I squished the life out of my daughter because I "needed" her to hurry up-- forcing her to miss the caterpillar crawling down the sidewalk so she could get in the van quicker.

Slow down. Take your child's lead sometimes. This may mean getting up an hour earlier in order to accomodate for the detours.

But at the end of these 80-90 years... aren't the detours what made the journey worth traveling?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The meaning of it all.

It's been said time and time again that "Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you breathe, but the moments that take your breath away..." And while I'm not a sucker for overused quotes, I have found this to be so extremely true.

When you're a parent, life just kinda blurs from one crisis to the next... from one skinned knee to the next one. Days of counting down the minutes until nap time. Cleaning up 12,353 Legos, only to turn around and find that they multiplied like rabbits in the Springtime. Cutting crusts off of sandwiches, trying to poke the straw into the Capri-Sun pouch, and working with all your might to eradicate the smell left by the dirty diapers you forgot about in the bottom of your trash can.

You know what I'm saying.

Recently in church, my dad (best pastor ever) said to us parents, "Enjoy every day... Because you'll blink and wonder where the time went. It goes that fast." I looked at my mom and said, "Does it? REALLY??? Because if this is fast, I sure as HECK don't want to see slow."

But you know what? I know it's true.

My nephew is three months old. He's only been on the outside for about 12 weeks. So brief a window of time, yet his mommy can barely remember him when he was seven pounds. And when I think of Abi being three months old? Yeeeeeah. I don't think she ever WAS three months old. There's been alot of moments between then and now. Moments that have meshed into one big lump sum of life.

Along the way, I've tried to take mental snapshots of moments that matter most. You know the moments as they're happening... Moments when your heart is full and your senses are tuned into what's happening. And while I don't have pictures for all the moments that have stolen my heart, here's a few that on days when I'm overwhelmed and sucked into the undertow of the mundane, bring me back to the things that should be focused on. (Pictures have captions after them.)

I love her face. When I saw this picture, it sobered me to the fact that my baby isn't so much "baby" anymore. Time is passing quicker than I realize. This picture brings me back to that fact.

I fell in love with this baby in Africa. I'll never forget his face. Such haunting eyes. His mama carried him with such love, close to her heart. When I took this picture, I remember thinking that whether we live in the USA or in a third world country, we love in the same language. We bleed the same. We would all lay our lives down for our babies. Love is love, no matter the country of its origin.

Seeing my husband dance with my baby sister at her wedding. I don't know what he was saying to her here... but I know his heart was full of pride and love for her. He loves her like she's his. I love that.

At the wedding, while the bridal party was getting pics made on the beach, we turn around, and sweet Abigail is writing "DAD" in the sand. All the hustle and commotion around her, and she's just seeing an opportunity to write in the sand. **sigh**

Rod had just gotten his Red Ryder BB Gun and was showing his Annie Oakley how to be a cowgirl. She was a pretty good shot.

A bath time with Abi. She was about three months old. I remember her sweet cooing like it was yesterday. LOVE her face. I froze this in my mind for days when I want to lock her out of the house.

Need I say more?

Spring Break, a few weeks ago. I was laughing at something Lori said (as usual) while feeding her babe. That was a wonderful week, filled with the people I laugh best and most with.

First picture we have with our men and our babies. I loved this moment because each man loves the other's child like his own and it was nice to capture it on "film". These are two good men right here. And our children are blessed more than they will ever know because of the fact that they have them to lead them.

Snow. It was divine. And nothing makes me happier than feeling Rod's cheek on mine.

An answer to prayer and a testimony to the healing power of God for a little boy. I love the joy on Lori's face. That week, she looked so "old" to me. Here, her youth was restored. She knew her boy was okay after all.

My sweet man with his two girls. I love it that Abi understood the love between us that this moment and wanted to be a part of it. After all... it's what got her here!

SERIOUSLY??? Yummy city, this boy. I had gone over to have lunch with him like I do at least once a week. He immediately turned on the charm. My heart melts when I'm with this little tater tot. He makes my soul dance.

I was sitting on the porch with my dad and his dad. I looked over and saw this. I knew it was a moment I wanted to freeze forever. If you only knew the depth of these two men. The world will forever be better because of them. It already is.

A family game night. LONG STORY SHORT- I yelled "Windex" at the wrong time, and out of control laughter ensued. We all remember it to this day, years later. Notice my Dad with his arms crossed in the background. And I love my Mom's face here while she's laughing.

I could go on and on. I get lost in time while I look at these. Here's the deal. Life is more than the sum of its parts. It is the actual parts themselves. Each moment, dissected down, represents skin to skin contact with the things that matter most. It's about laughing while we feed babies. It's about the freckles on her nose. It's about feeling the safety of the moment when you're holding his hand. It's about peanut butter sandwiches, band-aids on bumped elbows, and answering questions all day long.

One day, our homes will be quiet and we'll long for these days. Savor them while they're here.

That's what life is.