Posted in Thinking out loud

I don’t have anything innovative to say.


You may find yourself in a similar position as me. A cool thing has ended and you are waiting around for the next cool bus to jump on. Maybe it’s a project. Maybe it’s a job. Maybe it’s a calling. Maybe it’s just a feeling that something is coming down the line. I may not have anything innovative to say But I do just want to remind you of three things if you are in a holding pattern.

  1. Do something. Twiddling your thumbs may be all the energy you can pull up after this last phase of your life ended but do something. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing you can do but don’t let that dictate your everyday existence. Do what only you can do. Write, call, create, organize, research use some brain cells during this waiting time. Learn a little something new.
  2. Don’t go to pot. Literally or figuratively. Take care of yourself. If something has ended in your life then something is definitely about to happen. We are always in preparation for the next stage. Do you need to rest more? Sit on the patio and read a book? Hold a baby? Drink more water? Eat pizza with friends? Take a social media break? Actually exercise? Cut out the sugar? Meditate? Pray? I know for me, the last few weeks have been re-connecting with friends and family to build an anchor for my soul. It’s also been important to move into disciplined and consistent exercise.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up. We have created a vicious un-loving culture centered around DOING rather than BEING. Just as you never what to get Number 2 confused with Number 1 in bathroom life Don’t get number 3 on this list confused with number 1. We have fallen for this trap that if we are doing something then we must have value. It has to be something big. Something important. Something highly instagrammable. If a season of your life has ended that took up much of your identity it is easy to fall into a pit of despair when “That Thing” is over. I know for myself I have had those stupid self-pity sessions starting with “I don’t have anything to offer that anyone would want anyway.” Thus, one of many reasons I have picked up my blog again.

There really is a time for everything. Time for waiting. Time for healing. Time for grieving. Time for dreaming. Use this time that you have to gear up for the next BIG Important Deal in your life! Let me know what’s working or not working for you.

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Photo by Qusai Akoud on Unsplash

 

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Posted in Fair Warning, Thinking out loud

11 ways I have to define myself right now.


By my choice, I am recently resigned and what I am calling retired. I am (quite painfully) trying to learn how to move through life through what feels like slow motion. Trying to figure out what the new priorities are, what needs to be on the to-do list, if there even needs to be a to-do list has me walking around my house in circles. Who am I? What am I suppose to be doing or not doing or waiting or preparing for are all questions that I keep tripping over. Do I enter stay at home mom hood again? Do I become a professional volunteer? Do I go back to school? Do I grow myself as a consultant? Do I wait for an invitation from…somewhere? I have been warned against my lists by a dear friend but I find the need to list the data and evidence I know I have right now.

  1. I must always start with who I am in Christ. Right now it feels a little like an awkward family reunion. I know I belong in this family but I have misplaced where I actually fall in the family tree. How am I related again?
  2. I am Robert Leroux Figgins wife of almost 25 years and he loves whatever version of me rolls out each year.
  3. I am the freakishly blessed mother of my reasons Emma Elaine, Samuel Hayden Escobar, and Alexander Hayden Escobar
  4. I love my church and student ministry
  5. I hope many people call me friend and understand I only need my tight circle of 4-5 dear friends.
  6. If the only thing I did in a day was read then it would be a very good day indeed.
  7. I find peace on water and in music.
  8. I am a frustrated messy who can’t stop buying clothes, shoes, or organizational gadgets.
  9. Health and fitness are critical to me most of the time.
  10. I love my house and the fact I want to change everything in it does not change that fact.
  11. I absolutely cannot stand to see people stuck in life by lies and misconceptions.

This is no where near comprehensive or complete or absolutely in order after the top 3 things but a just eleven things I know about who I am right now. I would love to hear how you define or how you have had to re-define yourself!

 

Posted in Thinking out loud

I can’t get those men out of my head.


I have been thinking a lot lately about the impact of positive early childhood experiences. Studies continue to show investing in early childhood significantly aids in reducing crime, raising earnings, and promoting education. Although not as deeply researched we do have evidence of the importance of raising children from pre-birth in a faith community to support their moral, ethical, decisions as well as rooting them in a positive self-identify. Preferably, every young child should have access to high caliber  early-learning experiences before kindergarten, despite the financial circumstances of that child’s family. Preschool can cost as much as $1,000 a month; sometimes it costs even more. In most states, daycare costs more on average than college . The high cost helps explain why more than half of the country’s 3- and 4-year-olds miss out on preschool. During the 2012-13 school year, only 28% of the country’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded pre-k programs, according to data from the National Institute for Early Education Research, or NIEER. As I sit in local Community Action Committees I hear no discussion of how to provide quality education programs for vulnerable groups such as homeless fragile families .

I recently toured the Missouri State Penitentiary. I witnessed many positive productive programs leading towards rehabilitation. I am haunted that the majority of those inmates will never be rehabilitated again for life outside those prison walls. I talked to 5 men, all convicted for violent crimes, all who live the reality that they can never make up for lost time from their victims or their families. I believe strongly in consequences for our behavior and do not doubt their punishments fit the crimes. However, what I can’t get out of my head is what intervention was needed not just 20 years ago when they committed their crime but 15 years before that when they were toddlers and preschoolers? What investment was made into their brain development, educational attainment, and social expectations? Long term studies show us the positive impact preschool and school readiness programs have on deterring adverse behaviors in drug and alcohol abuse which can eventually lead to prison.

And yet we can’t find the money to fund proven programs like Head Start and Parents As Teachers. These are the conclusions that my brain cannot accept especially when I cannot get those 5 inmates faces out of my heart.

I have no solutions other than supporting early child hood programs that are available to all through our schools and churches.

What are your thoughts? How do we fund this? Is this a priority for our children?

Posted in Thinking out loud

Happy Birfday Erica


In honor of Erica’s Birfday I am eating sub par Chinese buffet in DC by myself. I’m not sure why I keep trying Chinese buffets and tempting the fates but I do. I’m pretty sure Skrivan would let these people know buffet usually indicates warm and does not leave your guests wondering if the sushi is going to revisit your toilet a few hours from now. Time shall tell. Cheers to Scrivans and her Birfday! 

Posted in Thinking out loud

One of the greatest lessons I have learned is to not take up space that is available. For most of my life I blustered into people’s lives as a force of nature. Take me or leave me you get what you get. I’ve tried to dial myself back just a click or two. Not remove myself but be stiller, calmer, more present. 

A young lady in my life uses humor to defer and deflect the grief in her life. So much so you wouldn’t think she has endured tragedy, assault, or abandonment. With the exception that she moves fast and talks fast. Too fast for much human touch or interaction. 

In the past week she began a very odd dance with me. She began to connect with me by choreographing my movements. She would place her hand on top of my arm and place it on her shoulder or pick my hand up and place my hand on her other hand. It was if I was a mannequin she was staging in and around her personal space. 

Today I was saying good bye and she look to delay me by thinking of ways to continue our conversation. She once again put her hand on top of my arm and seemed to try to absent mindedly to rest her cheek on the back of my hand. Just as if a mother were  to gently brush a child’s face. 

These interactions are very brief and momentary. But the intentionality of this young woman seeking gentleness in a controlled manner speaks volumes to me. If I were to initiate this contact it most likely would be denied. But in trying to just be present and available I am blessed to see and be a part, I believe, of a little soul and heart healing. 

We all need to connect to others. We all have the basic need of comfort and tenderness from human contact even when most of what we have known has been measured and brutal. I think our challenge in this world is to be generous in our love and to love others in their language not ours. 

Posted in Thinking out loud

Just The Way You Are


Sometimes you are sitting in yet another hotel room getting ready for yet another workshop. And you feel as weary as a wrung out towel. But more like a wrung out towel that was used to clean up an overflowing toilet.

Your mind is a million miles away trying to figure out how to keep it all from falling apart but make it look like it is not. You pretend to go through the exercises of scheduling and strategy but in your head you start having conversations with God that sound like “if I do this… God will you do…”And you find yourself praying prayers that sound oddly like “there must be something wrong with me for this to be so difficult, I must have made a mistake, maybe I’m not the right person, is this the hoop you want me to jump through or is it this one…You beg for a pruning even though you feel like there isn’t much left to you but surely you are holding on to something to make this so hard.

Then you have a bajillion people tell you to listen to Vienna, Just the Way you Are, Keeping the Faith, She’s Got A Way all by Billy Joel and all of sudden everything is ok if you let yourself hear God speaking through music you had wished would distract you. And you just be you. And you once again realize everything is already ok for one more day even if you have another post that sounds like rinse and repeat, maybe somebody else needs it to be ok to feel like you don’t quite measure up.