Monday, July 23, 2012

The Windy City

There are few places on this Earth I truly love.  Truth be told, there are few I have traveled to.  Regardless, there are a few that keep a little piece of my heart each time I go.  There are those places that are awe inspiring and breathtaking, they are precious reminders of God's perfect creation; then there are those that are mostly man made but leave you just as breathless.  (No, I'm not putting man up there with God, sheesh!)  One such place is Chicago. Every single time I go I long for the chance to return.  In fact, when I was little I used to dream of some day moving to the city and finding my prince charming in a magnificent condo on Lake Shore.  We'd take long walks on Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue.  We'd watch the Bears every time they played at home and I'd never be more than a block from a coffee shop.  However, grown-up life isn't like that, but it is just as wonderful.  Because as a grown-up I can still visit the city (something a lot more affordable than actually living there) and enjoy all it has to offer, but also share it with those that I love (that'd be my family).

This past weekend Mr. Man and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We had grand plans to go several different places.  We looked at weekends in New York City, Seattle, Tennessee, a cruise, Hawaii, you name it - we thought of it.  After all, the main goal was to finally have the honeymoon we never had.  However, in order to do those things you have to have someone to watch your kids and since we didn't we had to modify our plans.  So, what does a couple, who has never vacationed alone, do with all the money they saved for their special time together?  Well, they take their kids on the best weekend adventure they've ever had. 

The last time we were in the city was a bit over four years ago.  At that time we did the "normal" family-of-small-children thing.  You know, the museums, zoos, kid-safe restaurants, etc.  This time, we livened things up a bit, after all this was for us too, right?!  On the first day we went to the Willis (Sears) Tower and stood out over the city in one of those suspended decks.  From there we went to lunch at Bennigan's and then on to Millennium Park.  While there we saw the 'bean' and Crown Fountain.  Ok, the kids really, really loved the park.  Our oldest little, she wanted to see the bean the most, our middle little well, she just simply didn't want to walk anymore, and our littlest little, she got soaked!  In all we had a great day!

That night we stayed in a Westin.  It was the first time I have ever stayed in one and the first time our kids have ever stayed in a hotel.  Needless to say they were super excited!  I think the best part for them was the pool.  Had the water not  been so cold I'm pretty sure we'd have stayed in there for hours.  The following day we surprised the kids with a trip to LegoLand.  Oh my goodness!  If you have not been to one, GO!  No, seriously, get online now, book your tickets, and make a day of it.  I have three girls...this place is NOT just for boys.  Plus, Mr. Man and I had fun building with them.  I loved the smiles and memories we made.

I can't wait for our next weekend adventure or even our next daycation.  It seems the older the littles get, the more fun we have.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

War of the Words

Have you ever been to war?  I'm not talking about war in another country, against a soldier that the government sets you against, either for the right reasons or the wrong.  Before I go any further I should state that I am proud of those who fight for my liberties and that I have heroes in my family that have fought beside the heroes in yours, to which I have honored and supported both.  Now, back to war.  The war I'm talking about is the invisible one that is waged in a person and the war that is waged within a family.  Regardless of intentions there is always a loser.  No one side will reign victorious, especially in the later.  Though some battles may prove victorious, the war as a whole will not.  Well, actually in the former there is a winner, its picking the right side that determines the victory. 

If, a year ago this time, someone would have told me that a year from now I would be in the middle of a battle so horrible I wouldn't know how to handle it, I would have stared at them with a deer in the headlights look.  For those who know me, and know me well, or those who read this blog from time to time, you know that I am a person that calls a spade a spade. However, we live in a time of disillusionment where we want to be told a truth that will keep us feeling all warm and fuzzy about ourselves; we want to know only that which will keep our sense of right held firmly in place.  Well, war doesn't do that.  No, war brings out facts and truths in a viciously honest way and usually with bitter words.

So this war that is raging both inside and out is taking its toll; I am battle worn.  In the Bible we are commanded to think of the other person, to be the light in the world, to seek first the Kingdom of God and to hold all of its truths sacred.  (Which I know to be right.)  However, there is a carnal need inside us all to express exactly how we feel in words that are not soft, kind, fuzzy, or even remotely nice.  Because of this there are always hurt feelings and a battle line that gets increasingly fortified.  Add this fact to a personality that doesn't cut corners in expressing itself and, well, you have a killing machine.  Now, before you take this text out of context, know that I fight ALL my battles with words.  (Physical force is only used when an adult is hurting either my children or myself, then note, I may not be a black belt but you will know I was involved!)  So back to words...

Words, when said, can never be taken back.  You can erase them, delete them, or try to unspeak them, but they are said - they.don't.go.away. - EVER.  "I'm sorry" and "I shouldn't have said that" and any of it cousins won't negate the utterances.  In the heat of battle when words are your weapon you must chose them wisely.  Why?  Because wars create bad moods and the words spoken at that time are fueled by the mood.  And know this truth - you can change your mood, but you cannot change your words.

So dear readers, when in the midst of something that is tearing you apart on the inside, remember that the tongue is sharper than a double-edged sword.  It can tear someone to shreds, it can destroy relationships, and it can hurt you as you are hurting another.  But, it can also be used to build, lift, teach, and guide.  Therefore, when at war, know your enemy and the outcome you want before going to battle, because you must and will have to live with the consequences.  Know that no matter what is said or left unsaid, the battle inside yourself will always be the one more important because it sets the tone for the one on the outside.  I beg of you to chose the right side, carefully, and to fight the good fight.