Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Oh, Mary.

At church on Christmas Eve day, our sermon was over the birth of Jesus and how - if we look through a series of events that comprise our life - God is with you, God was with you and God will be with you. 

A particular scripture our minister hit on was Luke 2:16-19: 

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 

Luke 2:19:
But Mary treasured up 
all these things and 
pondered them in her heart. 

Oh, Mary. 
What an intimate moment for a new mother to reflect. 
Do you know what I was pondering right after I gave birth? Where Cody found the time to get a smoothie before they had cut the cord. 

In an effort to be more like Mary, on the way home from Christmas services I made a quick list of things I'm currently pondering in my heart. I jotted them down in my church bulletin:

  1. Where all the dead flies are coming from?
  2. What is the true refrigerator shelf life of chili? Also: If I pick out the beans, can chili be used in chef's surprise lasagna?
  3. How do we have self-driving cars but don’t have Christmas lights that last more than one season or temperatures below 35ยบ?
  4. When will Caroline figure out that she has yes and no mixed up? "Do you love Mommy?" "No!" as she hugs my neck. "Do you like getting your fingers pinched in doors?" "YESH!"
  5. Why won’t the livestock waterers freeze when Cody is home, but will become solid ice before he’s 50 miles down the road on a 12-day trip?
  6. A big change coming January 1.
  7. If trash pick-up is usually Monday but Monday is Christmas...when is trash pick-up? Also: If trash pick-up is usually Monday but next Monday is New Year’s Day...when is trash pick-up? This is like a bad riddle that I cannot solve.
  8. Is it appropriate to re-send a Christmas card that was returned due to a shoddy address, though Christmas has since passed? Also, when did our friends move? More importantly, where did they go?
  9. Why haven't we had a mouse problem this year? If I question it, will they come?
  10. When did I get to the age that my favorite Christmas gifts were wool socks and a cast iron skillet?

Two days later, while trying to recompose our house from the holiday, I found my notes from church. 
I guess in terms of my likeness to Mary I have a way to go.

But that doesn’t surprise either of us, 
now does it?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Despite my efforts in keeping the holiday simple, I feel overwhelmed by Christmas this year. 

I didn't give anyone a Christmas list for me; I do not need a thing. 

I didn't put up half my regular decorations because of a curious toddler with an impressive reach. Instead, we've watched all the classics such as Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman and Charlie Brown Christmas. 

We didn't make it through Frosty. 
Every other day we have the, "Who do we still need to buy for?" conversation and I find myself trying to think of "stuff" to fill a quota. I think that is where the overwhelming feeling sets in. I don't want to live in a Christmas quota house. 

I bought a container of ornaments two weeks ago to hang on our outdoor wreath and mantle greenery inside the house. Because half would end up outside, I bought the plastic "shatterproof" kind. 

On the same evening that I brought them home, Caroline had the container on its side and was sitting on it like a sparkly pony, bouncing into the next frontier. I was doing dishes, wondering where the draft was coming from, when I heard the bouncing but I didn't think much of it. 

"Lindsay! CJ is on your ornaments! She's riding your ornaments!" Cody called from a room over. 

I didn't react much, I think because the dish water was warm on my cold hands. "Oh, it's ok. They're shatterproof," I called over to him. 

And they are. 

Since purchase, they've been rode like a pony, rolled off a chair, drug around in a bucket, hidden in a toy box, thrown like a fit, tossed in the shower and a few were even hung on greenery. And sure enough, they're shatterproof.

I often think it would be easier - life, I mean - if we were shatterproof, too. So that we wouldn't break when relationships went bad or jobs were unfulfilling or disappointment saturated our soul. We wouldn't know when the ending was bad or the middle was mediocre or the beginning was awkward. 

Shatterproof would be best at funerals and tough first semesters; it would be great when the truck drove slowly down the road never to be seen again or on lonely Saturday nights before "the one" showed up. 

But then I think of all the things we'd miss if we were shatterproof. 

There would be no temporary conversations between dads and daughters, no walks home from the last college class worth any recollection or no more kissing boo-boos.

There would be no more feelings at kindergarten round up, no more butterflies over first glances, no more pride in the graduate. 

There would be no more excitement when the front door opens up, no more joy on the swing set or no more hand shakes worth remembering. We'd not know eulogies, mentors or last first dates. Never again would we experience wonder in a child's eyes at Christmas, the last conversation with granddad or experience an answered prayer. 

We'd have no more Hallmark Channel. And even though the story lines are identical and the kiss always happens in the last 3 minutes, I really like the Hallmark Channel. 

If we were shatterproof, we'd not know the greatest pain or joy, we'd grapple with general, rather than experience the extraordinary. 

So in terms of shatterproof, I'll stick to Christmas bulbs, and remain confident that it is both a blessing and a burden that we're able to feel everything so very deeply.

An exception for the shatterproof? This keepsake Nebraska Huskers bulb from 1995 - it was definitely not shatterproof, though I sure wish it was. Any Husker friends out there know where I can get a replacement?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Evolution of Thankfulness

Age changes things. 

I remember being very small and being thankful for Popples, the Young Authors program at school, older siblings and days when the metal slide attached to the swing set wouldn't burn my bottom. 

I remember becoming less thankful for older siblings, but rather thankful for older siblings who were active in school activities and forgot I was around most days. 

I remember being thankful for a down-hill bike ride on my way home from my first job, a front seat view to watch a tree grow and cows

Time moved quickly and I remember being thankful for a few good friends, small engines class in the back hall and making the cheerleading squad again, despite not being able to do a back handspring. 

I remember being thankful for a brother with a parking spot at Purdue, a whole new set of sisters which arrived with endless wardrobes and being able to fit back into my jeans after my sophomore year. 

I remember being thankful for the 4th of July in Washington, DC, co-workers that would become family, the adventure that age 23 brought and a direct flight home for Thanksgiving. 

I remember being thankful for my amazing little home, a kinda-good dog, cows and a strange yet satisfying unrest in the idea that I still hadn't found what I was looking for. 

Age changes things. 

Today my thankfulness comes from a life less grandiose.

Less travel but more miles of adventure with a carseat full of Cheerios in the backseat. 

Fewer business dinners but more time spent cutting ribeye into tiny pieces and filling sip cups with milk. 

No days of being unnoticed at home, and many more days of going to the bathroom in pairs. 
Caroline and I. Not Cody and I. 

Today I'm thankful for a good nights rest, comfortable shoes and finding Kleenex in my purse that doesn't have a peppermint stuck inside. 

I'm thankful for a child that eats anything - including 4-day-old-peas-from-the-couch, a barn cat that cleans up scraps so I don't feel so guilty about trimming the fat and a good hay supply. 

I'm thankful for parents aging gracefully, Saturday afternoon visits with the Original Jean and friends from coast to coast who care. 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. 
What is typically my favorite holiday, I wake this morning and wonder what I'll make, when I'll go to the grocery and if I have any blue cheese hiding out in the back of the refrigerator. What is the true shelf life of blue cheese? 

Age changes things.

But it doesn't change the fact that with age comes true thankfulness for a warm home because I know folks who don't have one, thankfulness for a full refrigerator because I've seen people go without, and great thankfulness for family because I know the lonely. 

When you look back on your life 
- whether twenty-one or eighty-one years - 
how has your thankfulness evolved?

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving from the Sankey family. Thank you for spending a little part of your day with me. 

Now - who wants to send me a salad recipe that will impress my mother? 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Why I Don't Leave Home

Last weekend Cody and I traveled to Ft. Worth for the 2017 Angus Convention

Two people. 
Two suitcases. 
No diaper bag. 

You guys - I darn near had an anxiety attack traveling without Caroline. 

It was during those brief three days that I remembered why, now that I'm a mother, I no longer leave home. Unless we're out of milk. 

1. I updated our will. 
I'm serious. After retrieving Caroline from daycare to take her to my sister's, we took the updated will to be notarized at a local business. We were flying to Texas, not Tonga. This is the state of mind I was in. 

2. I found the best sitters money can't buy. 
My sister and brother-in-law, Laura and Scott, watched Caroline for the weekend. Let's talk about the list of instructions I left for them. I put a lot of thought into the instructions on how to love our child, and I have a really bad feeling that they never even read the document before throwing it into the trash. 

I also continued to think about all of the guidance two grown adults - who have fantastic children of their own - would require when managing Caroline. So, as the weekend progressed, I sent more instruction. Least I could do. 

3. Airline travel is ridiculous.
Cody and I split ways when we got to security because he goes through TSA Pre-Check where he just bypasses all lines and walks through, iPad, laptop, boots and all. 

I, on the other hand, still mingle with the snow birds. I was moving along the security line quite well until a line of 5 (FIVE!!!!!) wheelchairs scooted up to the podium. There, the snow birds had a heck of a time remembering that they had to have their license (the one that was revoked four years ago) to go further into security. 

Because of the wheelchairs, they were able to bypass me. This took several minutes. Then, a TSA employee called for attention and loudly asked this simple question: "Do any of you have metal in your body?"

Some people just like to hear themselves talk. 

It was then that all five raised their hands and the interrogation proceeded quite quickly. The snow birds went on their merry way to head south and I jumped back in line to throw my iPad onto the security belt. 

4. I like my personal space. 
I'm not sure if it was the furry vest or the fact that the tray table was not down, but my row partner had a burning desire to rest her sleepy head in my lap. For the entire flight. I tried bouncing my leg, faking a sneeze, and reclining my seat, but girlfriend must have needed some serious rest. I get it, girl. 

5. Look Ma, No Hands
I had no idea what to do with my hands all weekend. I didn't have a kid on my hip. I wasn't carrying buckets. I wasn't pushing a stroller. I wasn't picking up sticks or toys. I was basically a big bag of skin and mascara, wandering around a massive crowd of Anderson Bean boots and Bar None hats, hearing to people ask me: Where's the baby?
"Well, good question," I constantly replied in my head. "I should probably call home immediately." 
Which leads me to #6. 

6. My phone rang off the hook. 
I thought. 
I cannot count the times I thought I heard my phone ring, beep or buzz. 
Caroline needed me. 
She had swallowed a sequin. 
She had developed a rare and severe allergy to beef. 
She was trapped in the car seat because technology had changed so greatly since Laura had kids, that Laura could not figure out how to remove her. 
I think I checked my phone something like 697 times throughout the weekend. 
My phone actually rang four times. Total.

However, there were four great successes of the weekend:
1. I spent really good quality time with my in-laws who I see every couple of months. 
2. The event I was there to help facilitate went quite well and I'm even better prepared to do it again 2018. 
3. I learned that Caroline can survive for several days and have a wonderful time without me. This made me smile and cry. Roots and wings, right?

4. Lastly, I had four (4!!!!!) strangers approach me and tell me that they read and enjoy this blog. I wanted to hug them and visit with them and ask them how they stumbled upon my writing. 

But then I had to excuse myself because I thought I heard my phone ring. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Three Things Every Day

I’m out of town on business this week.

I crossed a few states lines, two time zones and a great big river before checking into a beautiful boutique hotel. In route, I saw the St. Louis arch from afar and sent a photo to Cody to update him on my travels. While doing so, I took a wrong exit and ended up on a side street in East St. Louis. At the lonely end of a scrap yard. Where they dump the bodies. I was white knuckled during my 12-minute detour of dread, while visions of Dateline danced in my head.

On the way west, I actually crossed two extra state lines than what my GPS mapped, having crossed the same state line twice. It became painfully clear at mile 313: I don’t often travel solo in My Life, AC (after Caroline).

I packed seven days’ worth of clothes; I’ll be here three days. I packed 20 lbs. of jewelry that won’t come out of the bag; I’ll wear the same turquoise set for the duration of the trip. Three belts. Four pairs of shoes. Nail polish. Snacks. A book. At this point I don’t know if I’m at the Wildwood Hotel or an Extended Stay America.

The business side of my trip has been very good, but SEO goals and analytics are not why you’re here today. I hope.

One of the speakers said something very simple during our Tuesday morning session. I found it worth writing down. As I sat to write this week (in my big, comfy king size bed that I didn’t have to make this morning), I thought it worth sharing with you.

If you do three things well every day, you will make progress in different areas of your life, daily.

Maybe it is  cleaning the bathroom (not just wiping the toothpaste off the spout).
Maybe it is diving into your daily devotional and really reading the listed scripture, contemplating the afterthought questions and praying about the message.
Maybe it is focusing on communications and returning the two phone calls you’ve put off for some time.
Maybe it is cleaning up the barn in a way that you would be proud to show around a last-minute guest.
Maybe it is shutting your office door and diving into the tough project for an hour straight, giving it your undivided attention.
Maybe it is taking ten minutes to actually sort through the stack on the kitchen island and put things where they belong. (FYI: belts, fundraiser reminders, spare buttons and mail don’t belong on the kitchen island).
Maybe it is going to visit parents, grandparents, or a forgotten friend.
Maybe it is balancing your budget, taking a look at where your money is actually going.
Maybe it is reading an extra book to your child before you tuck them in.
Maybe it is going on a walk, run or skip (did you know it is impossible to skip and not smile?) to clear your mind for a few minutes.
Maybe it is clearing the refrigerator of bad contents and wiping down the shelves that you’ve not given thought to in a year.  
Maybe it is paying close attention to yourself when those red flag arise - and addressing them appropriately. 
Maybe it is sitting down with a cookbook and creative thinking to map out your meals for a week or two.
Maybe it is carefully choosing your words to change direction of thought.

By paying enough mind to 
three simple things 
throughout your day, 
you’ll no longer be carelessly 
going through the motions to maintain; 
you’ll be living with intent.

This time tomorrow I hope to be on the second floor of a farmhouse where I can hear a mousetrap go off in the basement. 

Some gals just don't sleep well in boutique beds.