Pie Dates and Boy Pranks are Not My Gig.

“Hey, Mom? What happens if you accidentally drink vegetable oil?”

“Wait. What? How does that happen, accidentally?”

Peter and I were away for an hour on a Pie Date.

Village Inn has free pie with any purchase on Wednesday nights, and if you order one piece a la mode, then you get a whole dish of delicious for the cost of one scoop of ice cream. (You’re welcome, penny pinching pie lovers.)

Also, we’ve tricked the boys into a plan that’s working really, really well. Here’s how it goes:

“Guys, Peter and I are thinking of going out for a bit. I could hire a babysitter to keep everyone safe, monitor all arguments, and make sure nothing gets broken. Or, I could pay you guys to stay safe, not fight, and not break anything. Which would you prefer?”

Without fail, they prefer the freedom and cash. They don’t realize I’m paying them a fraction of what I pay babysitters. Ain’t no babysitter in town who’ll work for $5.00 a night, and there ain’t no other way my boys are making that kind of cash in one evening. So it’s a win-win.

(Caveat: I don’t actually think the evening is free of arguments and broken stuff. But the whole point is I don’t have to hear about it. If they fight, they can’t tell me about it, or they get docked some cash. If they break stuff, they get docked cash. So they’re motivated to fight quietly and work together to put things back together. I’m absolutely a-ok with paying them pennies to establish these life skills while I eat pie.)

Which brings me to the phone call that interrupted the a la mode. “Dude. How is it possible that you accidentally drank vegetable oil?”

“Well, I asked my brother to pour me some apple juice, but he got confused and accidentally poured oil.”design

Hmm.  “Well, you might get diarrhea, I guess.” (Giggle, giggle, I hear.)

“It’s not my fault, Mom. He poured it for me.”

“Right. And you drank the whole thing?”

“Well, I didn’t know what it was until I drank the whole thing.”

“Just don’t drink anything else he pours for you tonight. Deal?”

“Deal…. Mom? Can I still have my five dollars?”

“Perhaps.” Good to keep them guessing. I’m sure that’s a good parenting strategy, right?

I hung up the phone and relayed it all to Peter. This brother was thirsty, that brother poured a drink, it was accidentally oil, but it’s all okay now.

(Perhaps you’re still stuck on the word accidentally, dear readers. Justifiably so. You and Peter both.)

Peter said, “What? No, no, no. This was not an accident.”

“Well, those two liquids are the same color, so it could be.”

“Trish.”

“And I buy them both at Costco, so the jugs are similar sizes…. It could have been an accident.”

(Silence. Coupled with husband’s lowered chin and raised eyebrows. Which together mean, “Trish.”)

Then he said “And you keep the apple juice in the…”

“Refrigerator.”

“And the oil…”

“On the second shelf of the top cupboard of the pantry… which he couldn’t reach without a plan… actually.”

More with the lowered chin and raised eyebrows.

And then came my moment of less optimism and a touch more realism. “I think it’s possible…”

“… that your kid got played.”

Peter knows boys. And I do believe he has arrived on this scene just in time.

Boy Courage and a Green Bandana

I miss my son like crazy today. This does not usually happen.

I am the biggest proponent for sending, launching, letting them be brave and free and strong and away for a little while. But this weekend, I miss my kid.

This weekend, Tyler is at Camp Erin, a Grief Camp for children who have lost someone in their immediate family. Peter and I drove him there on Friday morning.

They started this weekend by bringing all of the children and counselors together into a circle to talk about what they all have in common: remembering. They each shared the name of the person they are remembering, and if they wanted to, they shared how that person died.

These little children, all lined up to be so brave. My heart broke over and over and over again to hear their courage.

“I am remembering my mom who died in a car accident.”

“I am remembering my dad. He was killed by a drunk driver.”

“I am remembering my dad died who died from pancreas cancer.”

“I’m remembering my sister because she died from suicide.”

“I am remembering my mom when she died from an overdose.”

“I’m remembering my dad. He died from a heart attack.”

And then her little brother next to her spoke into the microphone: “He really did. His heart gave up.”

And then my little boy held the microphone for his turn among all the other brave children. “My dad died from a disease.” Which wasn’t exactly true, but then I had to agree that I couldn’t actually think of a way for my nine-year-old to say what happened in just one sentence.

I watched him, wearing his lime green bandana for his cabin, and wearing his little raincoat I was so thankful we had packed, speaking so boldly to tell his story. And I realized that sometimes I forget we have a sad story. I have been so intentional to help them grow through their sadness, to help them talk through what they’re learning. We have been showered with so much grace and healing. We talk about their first dad with joy in remembering, and sometimes now I forget how sad it is. That my children carry tragedy in their pockets.

I listened to all of these children tell their story of remembering, and I wore sunglasses even though it was raining because my eyes wouldn’t not respond with tears. I was so overwhelmed by their stories, and then my child spoke too. I forgot somehow that he’s among them, that there was a reason we were there at all.

I said goodbye to my lime-green bandana boy, sending him into his cabin among the heroes who will love him this weekend and hold his heart. I sent him off into this three-day emotional journey without me. Even without his brother.

I need to trust the process of growing a little boy into a young man into a leader.

I’ve long said that the only thing I fear—truly the only thing in all the world—is my children feeling afraid. If they are afraid, I want permission and space to look them in the eyes, help them to know they’ve got this.

Last night, I watched midnight arrive while I prayed for my son who seemed so far away, and I could only think of what only I know: what scares him at night and what help he sometimes needs to go to sleep, how he needs to be heard and encouraged and reminded that mornings always come again.DSC_8188

It’s the first time I cannot get to him. I mean, I could. In the same way that I could get to Tucker when he’s at the bottom of a tackle pile on the football field. It’s just not good form if I exercise what I could do. I need to trust the process of growing a little boy into a young man into a leader.

I watched him walk away, and he seemed so young and so grownup, so brave and so mine, and all of this parenting journey was suddenly happening so fast.

Sunday can’t come soon enough.

* * *

Our reunion on Sunday was the sweetest of his whole livelong life.

Tyler won the camp award for being the Best Friend.

Which is of course the best award. He’s a tremendous human being.

And he’s home again. Exhale.

On Dropping Plates

“The art of managing a lot of things is to never drop the same thing twice in a row.”

Bishop T. D Jakes said this at the Global Leadership Summit last week. I love thinkers and thinking, I crave the presence of thought leaders, and I am something of a conference junkie, so I signed up to go to this two-day conference hosted by Bill Hybels and Willowcreek Association.

Of course the conference is for leaders and about leaders, and it’s this great blend of the corporate and nonprofit world, public and private, Christian and secular, great and small. But the thing that always surprises me is how much of their masterful leadership content applies to parenting.

I don’t know why this surprises me, since we parents are among the great leaders of the world with the deepest influence to shape and alter lives on a grand scale. I guess I forget the parallels to the corporate leaders because it just doesn’t feel like the same game in the daily grind of library books and cereal bowls.

And so I forget. A lot.

So when Bishop T. D. Jakes sat down for his interview with Bill Hybels, I was not expecting this tremendous gem for running a household.

He said, “I am never going to finish all the things I need to do. Something will go undone everyday. If I do great in the workplace, I miss a dad moment. If I am great with the kids, I miss a husband moment. If I focus on my wife, I miss a work opportunity. I’ll always miss something because there aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything done. But the art of managing many things is to never drop the same thing twice in a row.”

How. Much. Grace.

Isn’t that exactly true of all of us? At the end of every day, somebody somewhere in my circle of influence is going to go to bed disappointed. I could wrestle with this and beat myself up and lose sleep over lost time and opportunities, or I could take inventory of what I missed, realize it’s how things go, and simply put them at the top of the list for tomorrow.design

Drops happen.  It’s not about not dropping.

Just never drop the same thing two days in a row.

I feel like this is something I can do.

 

 

 

The Good News is… There’s a Book!

I have good news and I have bad news. And the bad news isn’t really very bad news unless you live with me and have to deal with the emotional hot mess of a stress case that I am as of the last five weeks. That’s maybe only Peter’s bad news. So, you know, pray for Peter.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am finishing the final essays of the new book that’s coming to you in July. The new book is called You Can Do This, and it’s about being a confident woman in a critical world. Let’s face it, girls: we live in a place that wants us—and our sisters, girlfriends, and daughters—to feel anything but good about who we are and what we bring to the table. So I’m writing an invitation to sit down over scones and coffee mugs (filled with whatever you like to put in yours), to look each other in the eye, and to take a moment to stop comparing, questioning, judging, Pinteresting, and ultimately hating ourselves. Life’s too short for that. That’s what I say.

Or that’s what I’m trying to say… in a few dozen chapters and something short of a million words.

Except I’m writing past a deadline which isn’t at all like writing for fun. And there are distractions like Olympics and Amazon and Single Dad Laughing. And I’m on that favorite mental merry-go-round of “Why am I a writer? I know nothing. My words are rubbish. I couldn’t find a metaphor if it danced across the table right now. I need to stop and read to refresh my brain, but I don’t have time. This is pointless and I hate everything. I need ice cream.”

And so the bad news is that I will continue to doubt myself and choose to feed my emotions with Amazon one-clicks into an oblivion of Back-To-School deals. But then I will get back to work.13975435_10208886991599427_4831852815928935273_o

Because the good news is there is a book coming. And the even better news is that this manuscript will undergo several rounds of edits between now and then. Editors are like filters on Instagram. They say, “I see what you’re trying to do here, and may I offer it through this lens?” And then I say, “Holy cow. Yes. That’s so much better. Don’t ever let anyone see what this looked like without your help.”

I really am quite in love with this little bouquet of happiness. I can’t wait to give it to you.

But I have to finish it. Which is hard to do since apparently I don’t know the alphabet anymore.

The New Launch: Heyer Expectations

 

Let me tell you a little bit of Peter’s story.   He’s actually kind of a big deal, which I can say since I’m his wife.  (I love that word… “wife.”)

Peter is an award-winning national recruiter.  He works closely with industries of every kind to help them acquire the talent they need within their business.  In the Jim Collins approach to business and leadership, Peter helps companies go from Good to Great by getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats.

He’s been in the recruiting industry for more than twenty years, running his own company called Heyer Expectations. he-facebook (Heyer sounds like Higher.  See what he did there?)  He has hired across a broad spectrum of industries, including aerospace, healthcare, oil and gas, telecommunications, finance, and technology.  He’s won awards for what he does, because he knows what he’s doing.

Here’s where the new adventure begins.

Together, we have decided to shift the focus of Heyer Expectations to acquiring the talent and staff to meet the needs of churches, parachurch and nonprofit organizations, and small businesses.

If you’re reading this and you fit under any of those categories, or if you know somebody who does, Heyer Expectations might be the answer you’re looking for.

Take a look at this excerpt from Peter’s bio:

Let’s see if I can paint the scenario you’re facing.

 

You need to hire someone to step into an essential role within your church or organization, and you don’t have time to lose. You may have a Human Resources Department who is skilled with benefits and policies, but they are inexperienced with talent acquisition. You’d love to tap into the resources of a major search firm, but you don’t have within your nonprofit budget the margin to cover the exorbitant fees of such headhunters.

 

Your resources are spread thin, because in addition to finding the people you need to lead your ministry, you’re in the trenches of actual ministry. You’ve posted the position on a couple of nationwide sites in hopes that the candidates will come to you, but now you’re flooded with resumes you don’t have time to read, pressure to find the right person, and no way to know if you’re really on the right track until it’s too late.

 

So many pastors and leaders have voiced this challenge to me, and I’m here to help. I’ve found a way to do it differently, to turn the frustration, labor, and lost hours of hiring into a strategic win to equip your organization with the talent you need within your budget.

 

If you are a small or medium sized business, and you’d like the talent acquisition of more than twenty years’ experience, I can help you.

 

I know how to find the people you need, and I’m ready to support you with integrity, excellence, and affordable search assistance.

 

We will begin with an in-depth assessment of the problem to discover the need you’re facing and to identify the resources within your organization. Within a professional relationship and mutually established trust, we will outline and prioritize a timeline for your hiring needs. Rates and fees are competitive and ministry minded, offering significant support for your nonprofit hiring needs.

So, that’s the big announcement today!  We are offering a big invite to the people who need it the most, the leaders hiring leaders.  If you’re hiring and you want some professional assistance with excellence, visit us at Heyer Expectations.

Or you can write to me here, and Peter and I will give you a call.

And… since you and I know each other? Mention that you read it here and you get 10% off your next hire.  Just think.   You could have the right person in place, and you could get a discount. This is big time, you guys.

Call now.  Operators are standing by.  And by operators, I mean me.