Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Red Dress That Changed Everything

Since it's almost the love month -- I share a story of love.

The News & Observer asked people to share about how they met their soulmate. Here's my entry and hoping it will inspire you to share your love story too. You can post them at If nothing else, it's a great time to remember how it all began....

For me, it all started with the red dress.

It was Labor Day Weekend and with zero plans, my roommate and I decided we would get all decked out and head to the best restaurant we could find. Alas, the red dress.

Staking out our places at 411 West's bar in Chapel Hill, we decided to enjoy an amazing glass of wine while we waited for our table. Tonight was the night we were going to treasure up the best in life and forget that we were single, broke and tired. We were both working ridiculous hours, I having two jobs that barely covered rent, student loans and yes, the glass of wine I was enjoying.

Then came the elbow. Some man at the bar was cheering in celebration over an apparent touch down. As he raised his hands to cheer, they immediately high cut it into my sternum with stunning impact. I'm sure my look was half high rage, half shock and definite breath-taking pain. He turned to look at me as if he just ran over a puppy with his car. Completely mortified.

I guess pain is the ultimate ice breaker. In his most gracious gentleman mode, he found me somewhere to sit down and offered to ease the pain with another glass of wine. (How nice, since I couldn't afford the first one.)

We proceeded to have a very intimate chat about Jesse Helms, beliefs, the real definition of success, faith and other shocking conversations you don't usually have until about the tenth date. He gave me his card and I left that night smiling. It was one of those experiences where I didn't know if I would see him again. But I adored the knowing that I had met someone who made me feel more as a result. More than just meeting a great guy, I felt a sense of gratitiude for his crossing my path.

He continued to surprise me with unexpected ways -- like faxing me to ask me out on a date when he was on an a business trip. Or creating "wish weekend" where he proceeded to grant three of my wishes from my life's list of dreams. But that's another story involving the Waldorf Astoria, the Red Door Salon and New York City...

We were married the day after Hurricane Fran. In so many ways, our wedding day was a perfect reflection of our relationship -- highly unconventional, surprising, shocking at times and culminating with a hurricane. After 12 years of being together, what I love most is that he still continues to re-invent our relationship together. Not stuck in what we both were when we met, but continuing to move forward in building a legacy together with our lives in faith, community and family. And that is all a girl could ever ask for, minus a giant elbow in her heart.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pouch Time

It had been a bad day for my son.

A note home from the teacher, getting a warning flag on his classroom car and now a fever of 102. The sort of day that says, man, it's hard to be six years old.

His solemn eyes looking up at mine and asking to go to bed two hours early. I completely understood. Who hasn't had those days as a grown up when you wished you could travel back into time and put on those Carter footed jammies. Their hug-like warmth accompanied wtih your mom tucking you into bed with your favorite story and a mug of warm milk.

As part of our nightly ritual, I rub his back and ask him to share his 3 grateful things of the day. He responds, "right now, three times."

Which was immediately followed by "mom, can I have pouch time?"

Now before anyone calls DSS, let me explain. Pouch time is when I wrap my arms around my son and he spoons up into my tummy, pretending that he is a tiny kangeroo in a mom's pouch. Pouch time is special, only saved for injuries, scary dreams and hurt feelings. Pouch time is like calling in the big guns.

"Of course," I answer. Amazed at the fact that this is the same boy who refuses to kiss me good bye in carpool, who won't hold my hand because he knows how to walk by my side. I adore that we still have pouch time.

And yes, this is my grateful thing of the day too -- three times.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Family Sandwich

My morning started just the way I like it -- with a family sandwich.
My husband and I sleeping peacefully in our beds. Next add in the 6 year old about midnight. Then comes the dog Java around 3 a.m. (after first needing to be let out and then back in). We are all piled into what feels like the teeniest of, husband, kid and me. Each one making their own unique breathing sound. My husband throaty sighs, my son delicate puffs, my dog serious and big snozz type of snores. And me, usually awake, quietly taking it all in.

Some people would get irritated beyond belief at the lack of space and the symphony or noises. I love the family sandwich. I love it because I know when 6 a.m. comes, we will all go our individual and highly busy ways. We will all be lost in the intricacies of work, school, writing, activities and for my dog, sleeping again. But for these tucked in, cozy winter nights, I can't help but treasure my family sandwich.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Today's the day!

Okay, so today I turned 39 -- happy birthday me. (deep sigh)

I wanted to chronicle the year leading up to 40 as my year to really soak it up.

With that said I thought the perfect way to chronicle it is with this blog "Joy Goggles."

Everyone knows what beer goggles are like, so I thought I would try looking at life to see through the lenses of joy.

How good can life get, how can I capture more of the good stuff, what do I want to pack into my last year of being in the 30s?

By noticing joy daily, how will that change me as a person? My goal is to find out by looking through the last year of my third decade with joy goggles...