The Best Possible Option

by lizclark on November 14, 2014


Once upon a time a long time ago in a land called Ohio, a tired mom was facing a problem.

It wasn’t really a big problem, but to her, it felt like one.

She didn’t really “see” the problem until she got to church each Sunday.

It was as if something magical happened when her growing family pulled into the church parking lot. She would suddenly “see” her 4 kids in a whole new light: toothpaste smeared on shirts and mouths, mismatched socks, cowlicks – why hadn’t she seen any of this before they left the house?

She was tired of looking like a Target-ad-gone-wrong and made a special effort one Saturday to make absolutely sure her family had their Sunday best ready to wear to church the next day. She ironed. She steamed jackets. She matched socks.

She rose early Sunday morning and administered the getting-ready-for-church ritual with military-like precision.

As the young family neared their church building that Sunday, she felt relieved. FINALLY a Sunday where she didn’t have to walk in feeling a little embarrassed. She was wearing a dress and her husband and kids were all wearing button down shirts, dress pants and jackets.

It was then that she saw bright orange balloons.

People wearing bright orange T-shirts along the church’s driveway holding signs waving enthusiastically.

What was going on?

The mom hung her head as it dawned on her: This was “Biker Sunday.” The ONE Sunday a year where the church hosted an “outreach” to Bikers including a contemporary service followed by a church picnic / pig roast outside.

Everyone was wearing jeans and orange t-shirts.

How could she have forgotten Biker Sunday?

The car filled with silence. The woman’s husband was noticeably uncomfortable.

“Um, honey?” He said. “I think…we’re overdressed.”

OH, the irony.

He pulled into a parking spot. She used her incredible powers of over-thinking to break it down for her family:

“Ok, the way I see it, we have a few options:

  • Option 1: We go in dressed as we are with great attitudes and volunteer anyway. That’s what church is supposed to be about, right?
  • Option 2: We go inside, explain we forgot, buy orange T-shirts and wear them over our dress clothes.
  • Option 3: We run back home and change into jeans and come back.
  • Option 4: We go visit my mom’s church. She’s been asking us to visit.”

The car was still silent.

Suddenly a small child’s voice broke the silence from the back seat:

“Option 5: DONUTS!”

The tired mom burst into laughter (which contagiously spread throughout the car). She looked into the back seat to see one of her meticulously dressed toddlers smiling up at her with his giant blue eyes and an honest smile. He didn’t realize it, but he put everything into perspective.

The (obvious) moral to the story:

Your heart and attitude matter SO much more than how you’re dressed.

BUT, in the event you arrive overdressed to a social event, don’t underestimate the power of fried pastry as a potential solution!

(HUGE shout out to the amazing Kurt Cummings who MADE the donuts shown in the above picture! You can order donuts, cakes or any other delicious foods from Kurt here. His food is absolutely incredible!)


My Darling, My Dear: Guaranteed Failure

by lizclark on October 30, 2014


My great-grandfather died long before I was born, but my grandmother remembered him fondly.

He was a hard-working man. He worked with type setting for many years. It was honest, hard work and he developed a reputation for his excellent quality.

As time marched on, industrial innovation marched in: big machines that did all kinds of fancy new things faster and “more efficiently” than my highly-skilled great-grandfather. The machines were quite impressive – and not at all something that he understood.

My grandmother said he tried. He worked to try to understand these new machines at first. But he couldn’t adapt. He began working less and drinking more and – years later – became very ill and passed away well before his time.

My grandmother said she believed he really died of a broken heart.

She watched her father change from a big, joyful man who carried himself with pride and a twinkle in his eye – to a shell of a man who lost the will to live.

So why the heck am I sharing such a sad story?

I’ve been feeling strangely akin to my great-grandfather these days.

For years, I’ve been working in a primarily “brick-and-mortar” business. Learning to do business and “build a brand” online is an entirely different beast.

Some days, I look at this big machine called the internet and I think – “Wow, that’s impressive. But I don’t know how to do what I do best on that big machine.”

And all at once, I understand my great-grandfather’s struggle.

I’ve studied, watched countless “how to” videos, even taken classes. I’m not totally inept at this interwebz thing (I mean, I am writing a blog post on my very own self-hosted WordPress blog).

But it does feel as though as soon as you learn the “rules” – they all change. At a frightening pace.

We all face walls in our lives – changes to which we have trouble adapting.

How do we deal with it?

Do we keep moving forward, keep learning, keep hustling?

Or do we pull another seat up at the proverbial bar (for me, it’s always been overeating) and indulge ourselves in the sorrow of inaction?

Or maybe it’s some combination of the two? (Hey, I’m learning this! Wait, no I’m not…time to eat 42 Oreos!)

I think that if my great-grandfather were here, he would pat my hand and give me a few thoughts – I think they might go like this:

  1. My darling, open your eyes to the possibilities. Even ones you thought you’d NEVER consider. Sometimes new seasons bring new courage and new grace, and things you “couldn’t do” before are now possible. Work hard at what’s working and let go of what’s not.
  2. Sweetheart, you’re not alone. Don’t pull away from the people who are cheering for you! Find help, do whatever it takes. There might be people out there who are waiting for you to fail – but there are more people out there who want to see you succeed.
  3. My dear, dnot lose hope. When you lose hope, you’ve lost the air your weary soul needs to breathe. No amount of man-made momentum or “hustle” will pull you out of hopelessness. Losing hope is the surest way to guarantee failure. Our stubborn refusal to change will ironically be the very thing that changes us into people we no longer recognize – lesser people.

So, my darlings, my dears – whatever difficult change or circumstance you’re facing – you know that one that makes you want to lose hope? Please, listen to my great-grandfather. :) You’re really not alone.

Let’s work together to find a better ending, shall we?


The Big Problem with Gratitude

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Things My Kids Say, 1st Edition

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Size Does Matter, Mine Are Bigger

October 13, 2014

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3 Things I Don’t Like About You

October 9, 2014

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My One Night Stand (Full Confession)

October 6, 2014

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When “Hard Work” Doesn’t Work

October 2, 2014

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One Box Down

September 29, 2014

Tweet The empty corner where the box used to sit reminds me. It was a white and green Willamette storage box piled high with layers of “important” papers.  It moved with me over the years, always finding a home in a corner or a closet or a basement shelf.  On the side in big black [...]

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What I Know About You

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Tweet I know a secret about you. Wanna hear it? You didn’t just dream up your potential. There’s actually something uniquely beautiful about you.  It’s a special Amazing that only YOU can be. It’s custom. It’s yours. It’s not meant to drain and destroy you. It’s meant to uplift and challenge you.  To take you [...]

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