Friday, February 24, 2012

Act Like You Belong

Staying in a swank Hollywood hotel is not a regular scheduled event in my life, but my intention was to not make it obvious. “Act like you belong” I kept telling myself walking past turquoise padded walls and shiny balls hanging from the ceiling on my way to the fitness center. My gym clothes were not only mismatched but they were purchase at Target. If anyone had noticed, I would have been removed.

I continued to navigate my way around wanna be actors, hipsters, and people who I’m sure were famous but that I didn’t recognize, hoping that my age and trend challenged wardrobe would go unnoticed. I fantasized about being a model with a face abandon of make-up who still drew stares from men and women, but in reality I am a 40 something mom with four children who wears a bra with a hole in the side, and spends the weekend in a hip hotel only because someone else paid the bill. Pure luck.

The fitness room was inviting, offering chilled bottles of water and apples. I took full advantage. For a moment I considered stuffing my gym bag with the miniature apples to use the upcoming week in school lunches, however, I declined all temptation. Hotel savvy people don’t do crap like that.

Although Nick, the drive through cashier at our local Jack-in-the-Box thinks that I look like Jennifer Anniston, no one approached me before, during, or after my workout, asking for my autograph. After a brisk 4 mile run, I ended my relationship with the fitness center, aptly named “Sweat,” and ventured onward.

The pool area was bustling with people and funky music spouting from speakers so I took a peak at what was happening. Before I could yell, “cherry bomb!” while jumping into the pool but was stopped by a guy sitting at the entrance. He made it clear to me that the pool area wasn’t open to hotel guests because it was being used by a private party. I assume, by the look of the food and drink offerings that it wasn’t open to sweaty party guests in Target clothing either, but I refrained from asking.

I eventually made it back to my room without making eye contact with anyone and engaging in fake cell phone conversations which included words like “agent,” “photo op” and “travel expenses.” If I had any hope of looking the part, I had to act the part. Once I was safely inside my hotel room normalcy followed and all acting ceased.
Why did I feel so awkward in a hip Hollywood hotel? No one there looked like I do. Intimidation and fear do wonders in my ability to be myself.

I cannot imagine God hopes that I look and act like everyone else. I cannot imagine that every time I appear to be different because of the relationship that I have with my Father in heaven and my commitment to His word does he sigh and say, “I just wish she fit in.” I don’t imagine that in my efforts to be different and to contrast the world in which I live, God is disappointed. He is not.

I may not look like I belong in a stylish hotel with its overstuffed attitude and overt trend setters, but I do resemble my Father. And, one day we will look exactly the same as everyone else—in heaven.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Disposable Clothing

The posters on the windows were clear, “Nothing over $9.00.” Since the store was selling clothing I was skeptical of the low price. I didn’t doubt that “there was nothing in the store over $9.00” but the quality was in question.

I love a great deal. Love it like I love coffee and this deal was no different. I understood however that any article of clothing which I was about to purchase would not last more than a few months. The sweaters and blouses that would run with their more expensive counter parts named trousers and skirts for a month or two would eventually be demoted to lounge with the sweat pants worn strictly for dog and car washing. Their stay in the workforce line of fashion must haves is a short lived stay thus I have deemed them disposable clothes.

After first washing, the seam takes a left turn and ends up on my stomach. The buttons fall off after a week, and the little balls or bad material combinations gather like teenagers at a Bieber concert riddling the front and sides. The garment usually shrinks and retreats to the “give-away” pile sitting on the closet floor. I know the parameters of disposable clothing and stay close to the boundaries. Rarely am I surprised with the outcome. Trusting that these articles of clothing will fall apart within months is a given; a risk I take based on my investment.

Thankfully my investment in the word of God yields high rewards. The cost was great. God sent His only Son as a sacrifice for my life and for my inevitable sinful nature. The time I spend reading scriptures found in the Bible and spending time in conversation through prayer because of my love for Him and what He did for me, is priceless.

Daily I seek Him. I run to His word for answers. Daily I question Him and talk about my feelings and struggles, and He hears me always, provides an answer continuously, and gives me the guidance that I need at all times. What a deal!

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” Colossians 3:16a (NIV)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Star of the Week

I pride myself on the fact that every one of our children has had the distinguished opportunity to showcase my art skills each year they have been selected for “Star of the Week” in their elementary school classrooms. Multiply kindergarten through second grade, times 4 children, and that equals twelve “Star of the Week” masterpieces. Twelve. Four years of art education has not gone to waste. Money well spent I’d say.

I have masterfully created epic posters littered with colorful photos, stickers, smatterings of hand drawn art, lettering perfection, and perfectly labeled events of our young “Star’s” life to which my children had little involvement. On occasion I would let them place a sticker or glue a photo, and allowed them to answer the required questions like, “What is your favorite food?” and “What do you like to do in your spare time?” while trying desperately to not answer for them.

I amaze myself, really.

Our children would smugly sweep into their classrooms, poster in hand, anticipating the stunned faces and dropped jaws from classmates running to catch the first glimpse of the magnum opus. I have a reputation to behold.

I would escort each child to said classroom only to soak in the sticky sweet of acclaims and applause and watch, hidden among the mass, sullen faces of those whose defeat was apparent because of ill equipped mothers. Sad.

Enter child number four. Child number four wants to take my skills and stomp them into the rubbish lying in a city gutter. Child number four wants to do everything himself. Child number doesn’t color inside the lines and misspells words using permanent marker. He hastily turns a “b” into a “d” and crosses out unnecessary letters. Child number four uses tape instead of glue. You can see tape, you cannot see glue. He has stickers which overlap each other, and lays misshapen photos too close to handwritten words and phrases. Child number four spats in the face of my animated characters and expert collage execution. Child number four will suffer the consequences of his misguidance and stubborn ways. He will suffer.

Walking into the room carrying a heap of a “Star of the Week” poster, the teacher greets me, anxious I’m sure, to view the beauty for which I am known around campus. I plop the poster on the back table and begin to explain. “I have a degree in art from a reputable university. I can create a spectacular “Star of the Week” poster while blindfolded, suffering from dehydration and with supplies purchased at a hardware store. This is what I do. However, I have a 4th child who says, ‘I’ve got this Mom. This is my poster.’”

The teacher laughs and says, “I love when the kids do their own posters. The parent posters are pretty, but the posters done by children are my favorite and his is beautiful!”

My art supplies are packed away for good. Posters from past years are stuffed into the garage rafters, and I have resigned to letting the 4th child do projects on his own without any of my help.

The smell defeat is waifing about, but it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I surrender, but if you happen to need the skills of a seasoned “Star of the Week” poster creator, I know just the right person.