Zoom Out

Dear Me,

Lately, I have found myself surrounded by some miserable people and I have let it get to me. Now I am probably one of those miserable people. It just seems like the past couple of weeks have been difficult to just have a day without some kind of hassle, some kind of argument, some kind of black cloud following over head. There hasn’t been anything seriously wrong but just little things that have added up to make each day sort of nag at my soul for a break. Each day starts and ends and blurs into the next and I’m just not feeling very happy lately.

Today, as I sat in church I realized that maybe someone was watching over and sending a message my way. I always love going to church and hearing words that feel like they were spoken just for me. Sometimes I use a creative license with the words and juggle them a bit to really relate, but nonetheless, today they were for me.

I think many of us are the same in that when something is wrong, or we are in a bad situation, or a troubling time, we focus in on the problem. We pull out the microscope in our brains and we stare at each and every molecule and study it. We search for things like why, and how. We need the details and ins and outs. Magnify the problem a little more and surely it can be solved.

So what if the magnification is part of the problem?

Imagine you are photographing something. Zoom in too close and the picture isn’t clear. Zoom out too far and once again the subject is blurred. It takes skill to get just the right magnification to clearly see the subject in relation to the background. It is now in focus and you can see the whole picture.

This was the first point today. Zoom out! Quit looking so closely at all of the problems that are in front of you. Stop zooming in until the background is a blur that doesn’t even exist. Our focus effects everything. If we focus on the very small, then we miss the ever present larger picture. I’ve had a bummer few weeks and focused on the lousy days, but totally missed the perspective of the good couple of moments that were mixed in. The good moments may not have outnumbered the bad, but unless I look at the whole picture, I don’t even see them.

So often we narrow our sight, but we also forget that we control our own attitude. I liked the way that our pastor put it today; we have a “response-ability”. We are in charge of our own responses and it is in our ability to make them count. Any one of us can be in an awful situation, and each of us may react differently.

My parent’s house burning down is a perfect example. The situation sucked. Even the situations that followed, sucked. Nothing, not one single thing about it didn’t suck. Each one of my family members had our own choice on how to react. It was our very own “response-ability” to act the way we saw fit. Each one of us acted and responded differently. We all dealt with the trauma in a different light but we all had control of how we responded to each other. We all had the ability to respond is a positive or in a negative way.

The trouble is, I think that we forget that we are in charge of our own attitudes. We own them. My attitude may be poor from a rotten couple of weeks, but it is my attitude and I am in control of it. I may not be able to control the people around me or the situations that present themselves but I sure can control how I respond to them. It is my response and my attitude that determines my happiness, not the situation or the people around me. So to be happy, I need to choose happy.

“The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”– Author unknown, commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin

Put the pieces together. We need to look at the entire picture and choose our mood. Wake up tomorrow with the attitude that you want. Choose to be happy, choose to be confident and amazing. Choose to be anything except miserable. Choose to be grateful that your eyes opened one more time. Look around at the entire picture. The world may be terrible, life may be hard, days long, relationships trying, finances frustrating. The world sucks, but that is the zoomed in picture.

Zoom out and look at the person lying next to you when you wake up. Look at the two rooms down the hall filled with little people that you gave life to. Look at the home you have built and the outstanding life that I have fought for. Look at the accomplishments that you’ve made and distance that you have come. Zoom out and see where you first started. Zoom out and see how big and full your life and picture are. Zoom out and see how tiny that miserable week is in the full view of your life.

Once I learn how to zoom out and take “response-ability” for my words and actions, I can move on to the final point that was spoken about today, the chains. The chains that weigh each and every one of us down. The chains that smother us and are sometime too heavy to even drag another day. We all have chains.

My chains have been getting heavy but only because I have decided to bring them along. I could have dropped them a week or two ago, but it seemed easier at the time to just carry them along. Sometimes, through the storms our chains even begin to rust. The rust becomes rough and then we have the weight of our own chains as well as the scratching from the rusted metal. They are uncomfortable and they hold us back from everything.

Drop your chains. Let them go. You don’t need to carry around the weight of anything more than your own heart. Each and every thing in this world that nags and bothers us becomes another link on our chain. Each pain and difficulty becomes another lock. The struggles and the losses all add up on our chain. When we zoom in and focus on the problems we are giving that chain another link. We are building our misery chain a little longer. We have ourselves convinced that it is ours to carry and so we do.

Drop the chain! Let go of the links, and the locks. Step out of the weight of each ounce of rust and metal that was wrapped around my life. Zoom out and see the good and forget all of the bad. Look back at the pile of rusted chains laying on the ground and feel better knowing that tomorrow my eyes will open again. I want to wake up knowing that the morning has come and I have another chance, free of my chains, to zoom out and see the whole picture. I can make my attitude and my feelings reflect my joy for life. I can be grateful for the opportunity to be here one more day and I can make each minute count,


My Average Kids

Dear Kids,

I have brought you into this world and watched and helped you grow. You have turned from helpless infants into small people and each day I am awed and amazed at how the two of you have grown. Every day you develop your own personalities a little more and I am given a glimpse into the future of who you will become. Each day you learn a little more and I am honored to have helped you in your struggles and also in your triumphs. Each day you remind me of all that the world has to offer you, and I am reminded of the most important lesson that you must take and carry on with you.

I love you both deeply, but know this…. You are average.

That may have sounded harsh but let me explain. You both are in a world where dreams can come true, dreams can be broken and dreams can never even happen. You were born with two feet (average), two hands(average), one mouth (also average), two eyes (average)….. Are you getting the point yet?

Daddy and I brought you into this world with the same tools as everyone else. You are the average. You can walk and talk just like anyone else and you live in a home like most people do. You have parents that care about you all the time and suck some of the time. You have a full life of love, learning, feeling, being and experiencing all of this world ahead of you, and the tools that you were given from the start are the same as almost anyone else.

Let me explain further… You see, you were both born with the same thing that most of us are born with physically. You were born average. Remember this because there seems to be an epidemic of amazingness going on right around you. Some babies are brought into this world and told how wonderful and awesome they are. Some babies are put on that pedestal from day one. They only have amazing and awesome to look forward to for the rest of their lives.

You both, on the other hand, have average to look forward to. That is, unless you choose other wise. “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you.” Derek Jeter

Dad and I have given you both the basic necessities. We have ensured that you will lead an average life, but if you realize now how average you are, you and only you can turn that into something extroidinary. You both possess the power to achieve anything that you can dream of. Litereally any idea that you can come up with, is possible, as long as you have the will to fight for it and go get it. You may have been born average just like everyone else, but your heart and your soul can make you anything but average if you truly want to.

It will be hard for you. There are so many children out there now that are told from birth that they are amazing. These children will end up in your lives and and in your classes. They will be the ones that think that the teacher is only talking to them… because they are amazing, of course. They will be the children that change the rules of the game because they aren’t winning and the ones that must be the line leader every day. Don’t stress over it too much, they were just never informed of how average that they are.

This is my gift to you. I want you both to realize how average that you are. You are like everyone else and nothing that you have is any greater… unless you make it greater. Look, your blood flows red and dries black just like mine. Your Mom has wiped your behind more times than she cares to count. You have had to learn to walk, talk, eat, dress yourself, just like everyone else. We are all born average.

If tomorrow you wake up wanting to be a fireman, I can tell you this. You will be average at fighting fires. You will have to work and sweat and live and die to fight those fires to be the best fire fighter that you could ever be…. only then will you move from average to slightly above average.

It takes really hard work, and a whole lot of mind and soul to go from average to awesome. Some people have done it. A lot of people have… but I promise this, they never once just got to be awesome because their Mommy said so. I won’t lie to you both and fill your minds with the ideas that you are outstanding. I will tell you that you both have the heart and soul to be such. You just have to want it. You have to fight for it, like its your life that is at stake. The ones that can do that, actually become more than average.

In my eyes you will both always be more than average, but know this, I won’t be around forever and my opinion is skewed. You are both more than enough for me, but the world wants more and you both have more. Take the fact that you are average with you in every life obstacle that you should come across. Start out as average and really dig deep to find out if you seek more. I know you are both truly inspirational and astounding individuals, but my word is only as good as average.

Be determined to be better than average. Be a fighter. Want what you can’t have and then find a way to get it. Dream for things that are unimaginable and then find a way to catch those dreams. Expect more from yourself that anyone else, because you will always be your worst critic. Use those brains that God gave you, but always listen to your heart. Sometimes they will argue but the heart is usually right. Find a way to no longer be average. You are both, anything but.


Love, Mommy