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Houston...We Have a Problem...or do we?
by RuthAnn Solomon
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Do you ever feel like you're in auto-pilot? Like the first engine on your twin engine plane has died and the second one is sputtering like it has been fighting nicotine addiction for the last 25 years?!

Do you ever feel like you're so busy that one more dental appointment or soccer game will turn your brain to cranial soup? The kind where you know what ingredients went in but, at some point, everything got blended together?

Do you remember when, as a child, we'd respond to an unwanted comment from a classmate with "excuse me for living...stop the world & let me off"? Do you now wish that you actually COULD stop the world and get off for a month or so? Preferrably on an oxygen-based tropical planet with warm ocean breezes, palm trees, bottomless pina coladas & room service that would actually heed the "Do Not Disturb" sign?

Do you ever wish that you could sell everything and move to the middle of nowhere? Somewhere remote but warm where you could build a little home, live off the land, homeschool the children and live like the Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie(except without the Olsens or James & Cassandra...they always bugged me.)

Have you ever counted up all the DVDs and videos on your shelves, multiplied that number by an average of 90 minutes, and figured out how many hours were spent watching meaningless drivel as a means of escaping your own reality?

This, my friends, is the perspective from which I write to you now. It would actually be very dismal if it weren't so laughable!

Like it or not, there are only 24 hours in each day. It just amazes me how quickly I can fill up those hours! At the end of the day, however, I often wonder what I've accomplished. If it weren't for copious amounts of tea and chocolate, how would I get through another day?

It's amazing just how much the human brain can process all at once. Sometimes, however, my brain is like our first car, a 1981 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Reliable for the most part but with a tendency to stall at the most inopportune times.

They say that, during pregnancy, a portion of a woman's brain cells literally turn off. This is to compensate for the cells that are working overtime creating a baby. Well, I've had 3 children and unfortunately, since our first was conceived 13 years ago until the last was born 7 years ago, I seem to have lost a significant portion of grey matter. Even more unfortunate is the fact that they seem to have entered some kind of black hole in the universe that was my mind. Add a hysterectomy and menopause to the mix and now not only am I terribly daft more than half of the time, I'm enduring 'tropical moments' or mild hysteria(or both) for the remainder of my waking hours.

Instead of once worrying about what shoes to wear with my new outfit, now I worry (having gotten dressed whilst making lunches, tying running shoes, signing permission slips, making ponytails and finding juice boxes) if my shoes even match each other! For goodness sake, one day I ran out the door and didn't realize until I started the van that I was still wearing my slippers!

My favourite tv entertainment used to be Friends and The Young & the Restless. Now it's The Biggest Loser & Jenny Craig commercials. Once I dreamt of being swept off my feet. Now I dream of someone sweeping the floor while I'm off my feet. I once had the pleasure of great music and theatre. Now I have the pleasure of Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zach & Cody.

What happened to me? When did I go from feeling like I looked hot to looking like I feel hot??? From looking put-together to looking like I forgot where I put it???

Is the answer marriage? Children? Work? Menopause? Age? What or who is to blame for this unsolicited metamorphosis??!

It appears to me now that the answer may be all of the above. When you're young, the world revolves around one person- YOU. One day you get married and you find yourself having to make room for someone elses wants and needs. Then you have children and their wants and needs seem to take priority over everything else in life as the world now revolves not around YOU anymore, but around THEM. Piece by piece you are forced to let go of a little piece of yourself. Add in an employer, a few volunteer organizations & some extended family and there you have it: the recipe for losing both yourself and your mind in short order.

If we count the many different hats that we wear on a daily basis, it's actually quite astounding that we can even get through a 24 hour period and still remember our own names! Think of them all! There's the wife hat, mother hat, daughter hat, daughter-in-law hat, sister hat, sister-in-law hat, cousin hat, friend hat, employee hat, not to mention taxi-driver hat, social convenor hat, secretary hat, disciplinarian hat, nurse hat, therapist hat, cheerleader hat...the list goes on. It's also interesting to note that, while wearing any one of these hats, we feel that we have to be the best darn hat wearer there ever was. Not being the best in each of these hats would mean personal failure and the wearing of a new hat- the guilt hat, the heaviest hat of them all.

All this considered, I've been forced to conclude the following:
1.I may be losing my mind, however, I'm not going down without a fight(enter Ginko Biloba.)
2.I may be losing my looks, however, I'm not going down without a fight(enter Mary Kay.)
3.I may be losing my time, however, I'm not going down without a fight(enter Swanson Frozen Dinners and car pools.)

In all of this, it seems the only thing I'm not losing presently, is my excess weight(enter Bowflex and the Ab Cruncher.)

Finally, when all that I have lost is quantified and totalled, it doesn't even compare with all I've gained(I'm not talking about weight, either.)

I've gained a wonderful husband who, through all of my mess-ups and meltdowns, loves and supports me.

I've gained three wonderful daughters who bring me love, joy, and laughter every single day.

I've gained a family who loves me in spite of who I am at times.

I've gained friends who share with me, laugh with me and cry with me(sometimes all at once.)

I've gained knowledge of the world around me and those in it who are so less fortunate than I.

I've gained an appreciation for the little things: a warm breeze, the sun on my face, the laughter of a child, the sound of the rain on the window.

I've gained a deeper love for this planet, it's beauty and the One who created it.

Most of all, I've gained an understanding of the fact that God doesn't expect me to be perfect. He expects me to live each day to the best of my ability, leaning on His promises, resting in His care. He knows my innermost thoughts and feelings and looks at what's inside my heart and not what the outside looks like(even if my shoes don't match...) He looks beyond my faults, THANKFULLY, and sees my needs. He will never leave me nor forsake me and, when I think that I'm finally and most certainly losing my ever-loving mind...

I've learned that I can find peace both in prayer and in His Word.

Thank you, God, for allowing me to lose so little in order to gain so much.

Now I'm off to steal away a few moments on my own without wearing ANY hats(enter copious amounts of both tea & chocolate!)

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...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19

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