Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The many faces of dee

I've had the idea for this post rolling around in my head for quite a while, I just haven't had the courage to actually write it. It started out as a conversation with some friends, where peole were talking about someone being "two-faced". This whole idea really intrigued me, as I'm not sure what it really means. Yes, I understand the concept of having two faces. I get that. But reallly, who can honestly say that they do not have at least two different faces? Show me a person with only one face and I'll point out that you're talking about a patient on a coma ward.

I'm not trying to put anyone down here. I'm just being honest. It fascinates me to hear people say things like "I'm the same way here that I am there!" To that I say "Yeah. Right. And pigs just flew out of my ..." Well, you get the picture.'

I think it's part of human nature to be multi-faced. It's a survival instinct, in many cases. Not long after I started this blog, I had a post that talked about all of the things that I am. You can read about it here. http://deeceetalks.blogspot.com/2006/05/all-about-me_10.html (Sorry, I'd love to do the little link thing, but for some reason, Blogger doesn't give me that option anymore since I started using Safari.) In that post, I talk about the different roles that I have in my life, as a mom, a wife, a reader, a writer, and all sorts of other "faces" that I have. I guess that post might have really been the beginning of this one.

Anyhow, it's been on my mind so often lately, that I just decided to talk about it here. Plus, the idea of separating the different parts of my life keeps popping up, so again, on my mind. As a matter of fact, it's been on my mind so much, for so long, that the idea has actually worked it's way into my WIP. In the beach story, the main character deals with this unintentionally. She has 3 friends that are all main parts of her life, but very different, very distinct parts, and they've never intersected. When they all come together, she realizes the different roles she plays to each of these people. She fulfills a different function to each of them, almost becoming a different person, without even realizing she's doing it. They even call her different variations of her name. I thought it was pretty cool.

Then I started thinking about my own life. That whole "Life imitates art" thing? Totally me. But in reverse. Because that's how it is at my house. My husband, he calls me one name. My kids they call me mom. My friends call me a variation of my birth name, dpending on when they came into my life, and what I was calling myself at the time. My writing friends call me something else. Church friends call me "Mrs.", and work friends use my given name, or a nickname. I've got quite a few nicknames, and I'll answer to just about any variation of my given or middle name.

Why? Do I think that I need to keep all of these different parts of my life distinct? Do I not want them to intersect? I think it goes deeper than that. When I'm at home with my kids, Mom is the only name I recognize. At work, my name is on my uniform, and "Mom" is just not me. With writing friends, I love the freedom of "dee"; it's short, to the point, basic, but still fun, and that's how I want to be with those people.

My character in my book has a major ah-ha moment when she realizes what she's been doing, and how hurtful it is to her, because she really caters to each of these people and has molded herself into the person that they expect her to be, instead of staying true to herself. In the end, there is a scene where she tells them what her name is, and explains that this is the only thing she wants to be called anymore. She effectively puts a stop to having to be so many people to so many people.

That is NOT a case of "art imitates life" though. Because, unlike my character, I have a pretty firm grasp on who I am. While my name may sometimes change depending on my location or crowd, my basic being remains the same. Yes, I am more forceful when in my Mommy personna, and more affectionate when in Wife mode. But basically, I've got just one face.

It just depends on what name you use for me as to what my particuilar expression might be, that's all.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

All quiet on the home front

Well, except for all that screaming today!

No, I wasn't yelling at the kids. I was yelling FOR the kids. There's a difference.

My oldest girl child was participating in the AWANA Bible Quiz in Richmond today, as part of a team. Our church had two teams competing in the high school age bracket and one team in the junior high bracket. Our junior high team came in SECOND place. Our high school teams took SECOND AND FIRST places. Can you believe that? Well, knowing how much those kids studied, I certainly can!

It was just one of those really proud parent moments for us today. Our daughter is both incredibly outgoing and amazingly shy, at the same time. While she's exuberant and in-your-face around friends and family, she can seem more like a turtle with people she doesn't know. In past years, she's been on the Bible Quiz team, yet rarely answered any questions. Today, we watched our beautiful young woman blossom right there on stage. She hesitantly took the microphone to answer a question, took a deep breath, then correctly answered the question with grace and poise. I had tears in my eyes when she sat down.

It wasn't just knowing that she got the correct answer though. It was the fact that she actually put herself out there, she stood up on that stage in front of those people and used her voice, spoke those words with confidence, remembered to say "Sir" at the end of her answer, and even managed a small smile upon learning she got it right. Three years ago, it was hard to watch her, knowing how hard she'd studied, but also knowing she was too nervous to answer anything. Today, it was like watching a beautiful sunset, that perfect balance of brilliance and peace that steals over your heart, catches your breth, and quiets your soul.

I've watched her grow a lot in these last 6 months. I know, it happens, right? They grow up, don't they? I KNOW THIS. Yet still, seeing her today, standing firm, holding that mic, it made my heart swell. I again caught a glimpse of the woman that she is becoming.

Even better than that was after the quiz, when they announced the winners. Her team took SECOND place, only a few points behind the other team. But the real test came when our youngest two girls got so excited about the win that they wanted to congratulate her. Normally one to insist on personal space and avoid physical contact from her family members, when they stood in front of where she was sitting, she grabbed them and pulled them close, held on to them for a moment, even smiled at them. Even more than her using her voice on stage today, this showed me how much she is maturing. She's learning to show the love that I know is in her heart, even when her friends are watching. She's starting to realize that she's her very own person, and that person is someone to be proud of!

And of course, the rest of the parents were just as proud of our teams. In this day and age, many folks are lucky if their kids will even attend church grudgingly. Our kids didn't have to participate. They knew it would be tough. They knew that they'd have to memorize dozens of verses, learn tons of facts, and spend an endless amount of time studying God's Word. Still, they committed themselves to the task. Today, they exemplified the AWANA key verse, 2 Timothy 2:15, which says "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Truly, there is no better example of Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed than that!

Friday, February 02, 2007

La Chandeleur in Virginia...


Why Laura Florand should send me more truffles!

Ever have to do something just because you know you should? Does that ever include an enormous amount of butter, warm fruit, and a stove? Interested in what I did this morning? Well, you should be... :)

I spent the morning making crepes with my family. Don't believe me? Check out those pics! First is Jo, in mid-flip. Next is Maggie, with a look of total concentration on her face. Then is Shane, plate in hand. Everyone tried the flip, except the too-cool-to-flip teenager. There are some things that she just won't consent to do, even for French food. Flipping a crepe to be captured on my camera-phone, to be posted on my blog? Yeah, that's one of those things.

Why were we all flipping crepes? Well, my friend Laura suggested, right here on her blog, that it was a very tasty alternative to Groundhog's Day. And since Laura even shared her crepe recipe, and told us how to do "the Flip", what could we do but try it? Note: If you click over there for the recipe, be sure to check out the comments. I made it the way it says, and the crepes came out fine. But then she corrected it to make it only 1 cup liquid. Guess what? It worked fine the other way too. So, your choice!

We mixed and swished and flipped and ate for a few hours this morning. All of the kids tried the flip, more than once. Maggie was the first successful flipper. Michael had a perfect flip, then promptly ruined it by trying to show off by flipping it onto his plate. My dog, Hershey, loved him for that!

I don't have pics of everyone at the flip, because I was having so much fun watching the kids that I forgot to properly capture the moment on film. But those looks! Don't you just love that look on Maggie's face? She is so serious, so sure that her crepe is going to flip up and over, and land perfectly back in the pan, she all but wills it to happen. Laura suggested things like chocolate for toppings, but we just went basic. I like crepes, and they are a traditional early summer treat for us, usually after a day at the berry farm. So we stuck to what we like, and had blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and an enormous tub of cool whip. Yummy!

Thanks so much, Laura, for the suggestion! If the cheers and "this was way cooler than watching the groundhog" comments are any indication, we'll be flipping crepes on February 2 for years to come.

Another note: Check out this link here for an explanation of why we flipped crepes today. Laura explains it on her blog, of course, but the link goes into more history.

Bon apetite!