My 6-Word Memoir Title on Coach Daddy – It’s All About Perspective

Eli, over at Coach Daddy Blog, invited me to participate in his monthly 6-word story challenge.  This time, he asked for a 6-word memoir title.  Wow.  Only six words to sum up the colossal mess that is my life in a way where someone would actually want to read it?  It took several days to narrow it down, but this is what I finally chose:

My Life: Socks For Christmas… Again

(If you’re curious what others submitted, click here to read the post… but I hope you finish reading here before curiosity takes you away!)  

I chose this title because how it’s taken is all a matter of perspective.

I think we’ve all received a gift that we’re less-than-excited about.  We put on a smile and deliver our best fake grateful “thank you” in hopes of sparing the gifter’s feelings.  Before he was trained to do this, my mom has told the story of how my brother threw a fit because he got clothes for Christmas.  To a boy of three or four, it must have been insulting!

Sometimes I feel disappointed when I look at the lowlights of 2015… this year, after eighteen years, I finally accepted that I failed and my marriage was beyond repair; I had to say goodbye to my dog and one of my cats; I’ve chased ghosts (illness) with my younger son… soon, they will confirm if it’s what they think, but there’s no solace in the known or unknown; and the first half of the year was anchored in such darkness, waking up each day was a chore.

That’s my year in a nutshell. Seriously 2015, is that the best you could do?   It’s like opening up a beautifully wrapped shirt box and finding a six-pack of crew socks.

Or is it?

My favorite fuzzy socks!
My favorite fuzzy socks!

I received the socks in the above photo from my younger son for Christmas last year.  I had commented on how adorable they were, and he listened.  Now, I do realize I’m past the age of being able to pull off the silly sock look, but thankfully, I’ve also reached the age where I really don’t care.  (Yep, it’s only a matter of time before I “dress up” in my robe and slippers before heading to Walmart.)

Maybe my life is like gift socks…  maybe it’s not so bad if viewed from a different perspective. I’ll look at 2015  again:  after eighteen years, I realized that change won’t happen if the person doesn’t see the need… no matter how obvious it is to me; I loved my dog for seventeen years, and my cat for nearly fifteen years- I had to say goodbye to them, but they are no longer in pain; if the doctors have pinpointed my son’s illness, it can be managed with medications and he can start to find a new normal… if it’s not what they think, then they have enough to know there is something going on and they have ruled out another thing it isn’t; and during my extended time of darkness, online and offline friends lit my way with prayers and words of encouragement (thank you to everyone for your kindness!)

It’s the same life, same year, but whether I feel despair or hope hinges on how my mind focuses on the facts.  For the first half of the year, I felt despair.  It was scary.  I want my thoughts to gravitate toward hope.

When I look back on my life, each day, week and month might appear to be the ‘same old stuff’ on the surface, but I want to see more than that.  I want to look at the gift of my life and exclaim, “Yes!  I got socks for Christmas – Again!  Isn’t that great?!”

I have an affinity for "crazy" socks, it seems
I have an affinity for “crazy” socks, it seems

So, what do you think?  Am I as crazy as my socks? 🙂

Inspiration and Sadness

During my breaks at work, I like to peruse the articles on Yahoo!  It clears my brain (or perhaps numbs it, depending on what I choose to read.)

This week, I read an inspirational story about author Kathryn Stockett.  If you haven’t heard of her, you just might live in a cave deeper than the one I’m holed up in.  She’s the author of The Help, which was made into a movie just released a few days ago.

I haven’t read The Help, but I plan to – especially after knowing what she went through to get her book published.  I sent out queries on my first novel.  I honestly don’t know how many for sure, but I’m guessing around thirty.  Kathryn Stockett claims to have received sixty rejections from literary agents.  Sixty.  And she didn’t give up.  I am in awe.

Over five years, she edited and revised the novel – it had become an obsession of sorts.  She persevered and succeeded.  Her story gives me hope that I might catch my dream – when I apply myself.

~

image by John Moore - Getty Images

As I previously mentioned, I live in a cave.  Okay, I live in a house, but I’m fairly insulated from the happenings of the world.  I’m familiar with the domestic affairs, like the stock market roller coaster, debt downgrading and politics as usual, but I’m not as familiar with global issues.

I read two disturbing stories that brought tears to my eyes, which was embarrassing because nothing good ever comes from tears shed within cubicle walls.  The first story reported that two mothers in Kenya got in a fist fight because one cut in line as they waited for their children to be treated for malnutrition. The second story was also about Kenya.  This time, I read about how families are unable to care for all of their children, so the ones who are too sick are left to die.

A three-year-old weighing less than thirteen pounds is heartbreaking.  My own children weighed that at two months old.  They have never passed out from hunger or even missed a meal.  I have never had to wait in line for hours to get medical treatment for anything, much less a supplement for malnutrition.   And, thankfully, I’ve not be faced with the wrenching decision of leaving a child to die in hopes that others would survive.

With the stock market fluctuations, I’ve grown more concerned about 401K balances and the ripples that are bound to shake the economy in the coming months.  Money is not abundant, but we have a house to live in, water to drink and enough food to eat.  The plight of those in Africa puts my worries in perspective – they are miniscule in comparison.

Click to hear “My Own Little World” by Matthew West.   It is a song about what we see when we look beyond ourselves, and it rings true for me.

What inspired you or saddened you this week?  What do you think of “The Help” (book or movie)?  How connected to world events (including the famine) are you?  Please share your thoughts 🙂