Needing to be Elsewhere

Sometimes, we have an overwhelming desire to be somewhere else or our life circumstances make it impossible to stay where we are. This week, three organizations/people addressed that need in ways that deserved more than a quick social media share. Therefore, I have chosen to highlight them today.

A Randy Pausch Quote

Every issue of SmartBrief ends with a quote. The featured quote  in many of the January 19 issues came from Randy Pausch.

Being elsewhere

What this quote has to do with “being elsewhere”:

The first time my husband heard “The Last Lecture,” he said “you’ve got to listen to this.” That was a good call. I wouldn’t go on to decide to leave the job I had held for well over a decade for seven more years, but Randy Pausch planted the seed. I listened to the lecture online, bought DVDs of it to share with friends, purchased the book.

As a person who has hesitated far too often to ask “why?” “how?” and “why not?” for fear of being told “no,” “that’s stupid,” or “who exactly do you think you are?,” Randy Pausch’s lecture reminded me that being reluctant to ask the hard and adventurous questions only hurts me and leads to someone else getting to go on the thrilling adventure.

(I also realized while re-watching the video today that Randy is wearing a Disney nametag and (I think) an Imagineering shirt. Now that I have seen the Disney experience as the parent of a participant in the Disney College Program, I love that touch.)

Watch it here. It will be an hour well-spent.

(If you don’t have more than an hour to watch the video, there’s a great ten-minute version here, the last one Randy delivered before his death in 2008.)

Princess Pigtails’ Diary

My friend Shannon recently served as a foster parent for the first time. The Tampa Bay Times published Princess Pigtails’ diary: the first 97 days of a foster mom and the little girl in her care on January 19.

Being elsewhere

Photo Credit: Katie Reeves/KT Creative

What this story has to do with “being elsewhere”:

“Princess Pigtails (PP)” was three when placed into Shannon’s care as a foster child, and almost four when she was placed back with her biological grandmother. Because I have been so absent from working out at the fitness student Shannon owns, I never met PP, but I felt like I knew her through the stories Shannon shared on social media (many of which comprise the Tampa Bay piece).

For her own protection, PP needed to “be elsewhere,” at least temporarily. As you’ll see from the story, our state’s laws, system and philosophy about what is best for foster children are imperfect at best. The placement may have been temporary, but PP made a permanent difference on many hearts (and I believe the experience may lead to positive changes for other children in foster care). Thank you, Shannon, for taking the risk to love this child even though it split your heart open when she moved on, and thank you PP for being a gift to so many of us.

Editor’s Note: Click here for a Tallahassee Democrat account of Shannon’s time with Princess Pigtails and foster care in general. 

Steve Schale’s Ode to Shitholes

My friend Steve Schale published Ode to Shitholes on January 13. Following the President’s apparent reference to countries including Africa as being “shitholes,” this is the best rebuttal I have read. Being elsewhere

What this post has to do with “being elsewhere”:

The people who are “elsewhere” (elsewhere from the United States, or from elsewhere and living in the United States but on the verge of being forcibly returned to “elsewhere”) often deal with the life inequities that come with what Steve (and many others) refer to as “the birth draw.”

I am so grateful to have spent time in Guatemala and El Salvador (that’s Guatemala City in the image I shared). It wasn’t long enough (two weeks in total) and it didn’t go deep enough (although I am grateful to have gone, for sure!). Both times, because I was traveling with Unbound, we were treated as royalty (literally …… flower-petal paths, extravagant (for the area) meals, and deference). They were beautiful, educational trips, but we didn’t deserve the deference — if anyone did, it was the people who work so hard to support their families in the face of indescribable difficulties, violence and educational deficits.

What can you do this week to find your own “elsewhere” (if that’s what you need) or to help another person whose “elsewhere” has become untenable? 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

The Five W’s of My March 2013 (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

For this week’s Mama Kat Prompt, let’s go with “March Favorites.” Since I can’t think of any other creative way to structure it, let’s go with the tried and true Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

WHO

My favorite people in March were Pink, who consoled a distraught toddler mid-concert (start watching around 0:40) and President Obama, who consoled a distraught toddler mid Easter egg roll. Having had many parent-of-a-distraught-toddler moments (ten years ago….), moments like this get a “mom’s gold star.”

WHAT

What about March distinguished itself?

Okay, I know this is so very “first world problem” ish but I was so happy to have a new dress to wear to church on Easter. With Wayne’s protracted job hunt and the related family budget strains, the ability to buy new stuff has been slim. I got this dress for about $18, and spent another $18 to get it altered (almost everything I buy has to be altered) but I love the color and it just felt incredible to be wearing something brand new to my big work meeting on March 21 and to Easter Service on March 31. It’s the little things.

new dress

On Alterations Day

WHEN

The “when” of March has to have been early morning, pre-sunrise, and sunrise for sure. I so enjoyed doing boot camp at our Capitol twice in March, and so many early morning runs. It’s the most energizing time of my day. My fellow Capitol boot campers and I were even featured in the Tampa Bay Times (read about it here).

(That's me in the long-sleeved gray shirt.)

(That’s me in the long-sleeved gray shirt.)

WHERE

The “where” was on bridges — specifically the two bridges I crossed when running in the Gate River Run 15K race in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 9, 2013. I blogged about it here.

Gate

WHY

The “why’s” of my March would be considered by some to be diametrically opposed to one another, and I am grateful that *most* of my social media friends (and IRL friends) and I respected each others’ viewpoints even when we disagreed. But March was signified to me by my decision to make this my profile picture for two days in March, representing my support of Same Sex Marriage:

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March was, finally, topped off by my celebration of the Holy Day of Easter, and my depth of gratitude for a loving God and the freedom to worship as I wish:

cross

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.