Thursday, August 5, 2010


Six months ago my therapist (yes, I have one) told me that I am all about "more, more, more".

This theory was in early development on the previous evening when I forced Larry to do yoga with me. I had just received my Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown and wanted to try it out. After the 30 minute workout, where Jillian rocks the attempted yoga-laid-back-half ponytail, I complained that the routine wasn't hard enough. Larry, dripping in sweat and aching muscles, asked me why I couldn't just be satisfied that I had worked out for half an hour.

I know I'm obsessive-compulsive about generally everything in life, but I have never considered that I had a more-is-better attitude.

So this subject came up in therapy yesterday, with my sweet therapist who probably loves me like a daughter. A daughter who is actually a cash cow versus one who drains her pocket. I have seen this particular counselor on and off for the last 7 years (not weekly....or even yearly..lest you think I'm a real basket case).

Onto my more-more-more hypothesis: yes, everything in my life tends to fall into an all-or-nothing category. I'm totally a black and white thinker, because seriously, who has time for gray? When I discover something I enjoy, I typically want more of it. But not only more of it, more in the sense that it's all I think about. I want more exercise, more clothes, more wall decor, more purses/handbags and more money. My word, I will go to the mall to shop for Christmas presents for others, and then come home with new shoes or the new placemats I desperately needed for my spring season kitchen arrangement. So maybe I'm a bit extreme. Told you.
But seriously, when you go to the mall to buy your gifts this year - look at the clothes they have displayed: we're literally already in the spring fashion season. It's all just so overwhelming to me. The shorts and skirts and cute warm weather outfits just kicks my mind into overdrive about which wardrobe pieces I need to purchase to be in style for spring. And I want MORE. of all of it!

I don't think I'm alone. The American Dream is all about having, doing and being more. It's about climbing the ladder (whether corporate or social) and announcing to the world that we are "someone" because we have more. I heard a story today about a little 9 year old boy who was made fun of by his peers at school because he had a hole in his jeans (in an undesirable area). The boy and his father are apparently living out of a motel room, and the boy came to school this morning hungry because they had no food for dinner last night. I hear that story, and then I reflect on my more mentality. My biggest worry right now is whether I have spent equal amounts of money on all four kids for Christmas, compared to others who don't even know if they'll eat tonight...and much less know what or IF they will have anything under the tree on Christmas morning.

Oh how I think Jesus is grieved when we seek our "more" from this world. In Paul's first letter to Timothy, he says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." (1 Timothy 6:6-8 NIV)

How does this even work? Without bouncing to the other extreme (and taking on a form of poverty i.e. sell the cars, house, etc and move to Cambodia), how does one live amidst the extravagance of our culture and remain content with what we have? My answer to this is Jesus. Living a life soaked in His presence, in His Word, is the only way to rise above the pull of the world and its' rat race. You and I can have Jesus in unlimited supply, and He even tells us to ask for more of his Holy Spirit. As a woman with a keen eye towards any possible obsession, having an addiction to Jesus is my answer. Someone can read this and think I'm unrealistic or way too extreme. I am convinced, however, that to live a life in pursuit of anything but Jesus is deadly. Obviously, a passion for purses or promotion may not kill you physically; but if those things are the center of your universe, your soul will live a sickly life. I have lived these things and know them to be all too true.

I suggest that for the next three days, you meditate on what it is that really matters. (ugh, does this sound like an NPR segment?). Seriously, though, I pray you don't even see yourself in this description. If you do, I pray that you'll realize what you need more of is Jesus and only Jesus.
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Disneyland and My New Reality Show

Last week, Larry, Luke and I went to Los Angeles to spend time with Lauren. Before we even arrived at the airport, Luke was asking why we still in Houston. The poor child is just now learning the concept of time calculated in minutes and hours, and he was distraught that we wouldn’t arrive by simply clicking our heels.

Once we landed at LAX, we still had to pick up our rental car and waste away precious hours in the car amidst the lovely 405 traffic. What should have been a 17 minute trip was a 2 hour trip because of the glorious splendor of Los Angeles cramped roadways. I thought Luke was going to come unglued until he finally fell asleep in the back seat. Those traffic delays were a blessing because you haven’t seen a monster until you’ve seen Luke Dalke without a nap.

Lauren couldn’t meet us at the hotel until later in the evening, so after we walked around a bit, we went to the hotel pool. I would have highly preferred some Rodeo Drive shopping. But mind you, I was with a 52 year old husband and a 4 year old son; therefore any hope of an enjoyable shopping excursion was only a wish and a prayer.

The pool at the Hotel Roosevelt was awesome: Young, Hip, and Hollywood. We would have fit right in if we could be described as either of the latter. Needless to say, we got much attention because Luke was the only person under 21 in the entire hotel. All the drunken girls (and guys) were fawning over him, bringing him pool toys and encouraging him to swim with them. He thought he was the coolest thing to hit that scene since Lindsay Lohan.

We went to Disneyland on Saturday; and Luke could remember every single thing about it from last year. He could remember so much, that instead of checking out every ride – he had a mental list of the ones he wanted to do first. And after those were finished, he wanted to do them again. So much for variety. We basically replayed every step we made last summer, and when his list was fulfilled he wanted to go back to the hotel to swim. He must not have understood that staying for only 4 hours was hardly worth the $378 we paid for admission. I complain, but I was ever so thankful that we didn’t have to stay for the parade.

Santa Monica beach was the setting for our Sunday. Lauren and I sat peacefully on the beach, while Larry and Luke jumped the waves. Luke absolutely loved getting his body caked with sand and then washing himself off in the ocean. By noon, he was ready to go back to the hotel and swim; but I thought we would never make it back to our car because we had to stop and pick up seashells every 5 feet. Lauren picked out a super good cafĂ© for lunch: Jack and Jill’s. We had the best cornbread I’ve ever had, and Luke had homemade macaroni and cheese. However, it didn’t come out of a Kraft box, so he refused to eat it. It apparently didn’t taste like mommy’s beloved recipe.

Sunday evening we were all caught on camera for Mario Lopez’s new reality show coming out in the fall. Apparently the show is about Mario's trek into fatherhood after his girlfriend (or not) got pregnant. I can just see the montage of Larry, Luke and me as Mario sees fatherhood and family life flash before his eyes. Hopefully, the mother will still be in that picture. If not - then there goes my television premiere. Regardless, I’m sure they’ll probably contact me in a week or so and offer me a show of my own. I think I would tell them instead that I prefer to be on Real Housewives.

All in all, the weekend was wonderfully memorable. We had such a great time with Lauren, who we don’t get to see nearly enough. And Luke’s favorite souvenir is a pillow pet: a cow that he named Lauren Dalke. I am not quite sure how Lauren feels about being likened to a cow; but Luke has bragged about his sister (and her namesake) to everyone he’s talked to since we’ve been home.

I will keep you posted on my new reality show shooting schedule. It's sure to be equivalent to something Young, Hip and Hollywood.
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