When Life Gives You Lemons…

7007452958_b5b931b282_k-001

It’s Saturday. The weekend. So let’s kick back and play fill-in-the-blank. I say, “When life gives you lemons…” and the internet says, well, a lot of stuff. Here are the funniest (and strangest) twists I found. Can’t wait to hear yours!

When Life Gives You Lemons…

  • Ask for the receipt.
  • Suck out all of the vitamin C and yell “EAT THAT, LIFE!
  • Put them under your mattress and pretend that they are peas and you are the princess.
  • Ask for salt and tequila!
  • Just add vodka.
  • Make lemonade and then sell that lemonade to others at an exorbitant price because this is America, dangit!
  • Plant the seeds and grow a lemon tree, thus taunting and confusing life by giving life to lemons.
  • Collect them. One day life will stop and you’ll have the most lemons ever.
  • Peel them, pull apart the sections and give one piece to each of your minions; it’s called delegating.
  • Make a cherry pie. Because no one was expecting the Spanish Inquisition. And because you can.
  • Make grape juice. Then sit back and let the world wonder how you did it.
  • Alter their DNA and make super lemons.
  • Take them. You shouldn’t waste food!
  • Make chicken piccata.
  • Stick them down your shirt and make your boobs look bigger.
  • Squeeze them in your sweet tea and thank God you’re from the South.
  • Throw them back in life’s face and say, “You know what, Life? I didn’t ask for lemons. I ordered an espresso.”

And then there was my favorite response to life’s gift of lemons, attributed to a person who is apparently a video game character. I don’t know about that, guys. But this? This is funny stuff:

All right, I’ve been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade – make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons. What am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager. Make life rue the day it thought it could give you lemons. Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s gonna burn your house down! With the lemons. I’m going to to get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!

So what SHOULD we do when life gives us lemons?

Photo source

31 Days Lemonade Footer

This post is part of a 31 Days series. Make sure you don’t miss a single post by subscribing to this blog. Once you confirm your email subscription, you’ll be entered into an exclusive weekly drawing [during the month of October] for a Daily Grace pitcher from DaySpring.

Ain’t No Party Like a Liz Lemon Party…

Liz Lemon-002

Look at Liz, being all optimistic! Not exactly known for her cheerful outlook on life, Liz Lemon of 30 Rock still managed to find the bright side a time or two during the series’ run.

  • “I don’t care. I’ll start my own group. Rejection from society is what created X-Men!”
  • “Trying on jeans is my favorite thing! Maybe later I can get a pap smear from an old male doctor.”
  • “I have been watching The Mentalist a lot lately because my TV’s on CBS and I lost my remote. I think I’ve become a body language expert.”

See there? She TOTALLY found the lemonade in those sour situations!

I have a lot in common with the fictional Lemon. People tend to call her by both her first and last names. She was Liz-Lemon much more often than Liz or Lemon alone. And, as I realized only after getting married and hearing so many friends, on so many occasions, holler, “Mary Wal—CARVER!”

It was weird, really. I’m not sure what compels people to use both my names, but it still happens now. It’s not like there are a lot of Marys around, especially around my age. Although, I was at Panera earlier this week and I swear I heard my name called by the sandwich people about half a dozen times in the hour or so I was there. And this happens every single time I’m at Panera. Apparently Panera is the place for the Marys of the world?

ANYWAY. As I was saying, I have a lot in common with Liz Lemon. She likes NCIS. I like NCIS. She loves Pop-Tarts. I love Pop-Tarts. She likes saying, “I want to go to there,” “Blergh,” “Shut it down,” and “What the what?” I do, too. (Granted, she may have said them first.) But see? We’re practically the same.

Okay, maybe not. But keeping her expectations rock bottom so she’s not disappointed? Well, THAT we definitely have in common – as well as the tendency to react to bumps in the road with a tiny bit of dramatic disgust.

liz-lemon-worst-001

I’ve got more thoughts about Liz and expectations and optimism (or a lack of). But for a Saturday I think I’m going to leave it here with the funny quotes and photos.

(And hey, the upside to this post, which I finished on a day I kinda, sorta felt like everything was the worst? Reading pages and pages of 30 Rock quotes had me literally laughing out loud. Win, win, lemonade!)

31 Days Lemonade Footer

This post is part of a 31 Days series. Make sure you don’t miss a single post by subscribing to this blog. Once you confirm your email subscription, you’ll be entered into an exclusive weekly drawing [during the month of October] for a Daily Grace pitcher from DaySpring.

It’s Here! TV Premieres of Fall 2014

Fall TV Preview - 2014

It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . .

Well, fine, maybe we shouldn’t compare the fall television premiere season to Christmas. We shouldn’t. Right?

Okay, so we won’t. But I also won’t deny that I am ridiculously (though, unsurprisingly) excited for old shows to return and new shows to start. Especially after the past two weeks of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BEING ON.

I asked on Facebook which shows you all are most looking forward to beginning this fall, and you had lots on your lists! You’re excited for Parenthood (tons of votes for this one, no surprise), The Good Wife, Scandal, Blacklist (the previews are making me question my choice to not watch this one last year…thoughts?), Person of Interest, Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, Newsroom, Agents of Shield, Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Galavant (I can’t wait for this one, but unfortunately it’s a mid-season premiere.), Gotham, Scorpion, and NCIS: New Orleans.

Wow! That’s a lot of shows and a lot of variety. You all have good taste! (Although I’ll confess I’ve never watched a single Batman movie and I’m just not sure Gotham would make sense to me.)

So let’s talk specifics. Shows. Dates. Thoughts. Opinions.

(NOTE: All times are CST because that’s where I live.)

Returning Shows I’ll Be Watching:

  • Once Upon a Time (Sundays at 7pm, premieres 9/28)
  • Castle (Mondays at 9pm, premieres 9/29)
  • NCIS (Tuesdays at 7pm, premieres 9/23)
  • New Girl (Tuesdays at 8pm, premieres 9/16 – tomorrow!!)
  • The Mindy Project (Tuesdays at 8:30 pm, premieres 9/16)
  • Arrow (Wednesdays at 7pm, premieres 10/8)

I’ll probably DVR Brooklyn 99 (Sundays at 7:30 pm, premieres 9/28) and About a Boy (Tuesdays at 8:30 pm, premieres 10/14), but I’m not quite ready to commit. Oh, and Hart of Dixie and Parks & Recreation are returning mid-season.

New Shows I’m Thinking About:

[Don't worry. I'm not planning to watch all of these. Yikes! Can you imagine? TOO MUCH TV!!!]

  • A to Z (NBC, Thursdays at 8pm) – This one feels like How I Met Your Mother all over again – partly because the main female character is The Mother, partly because the concept of the show is based on a relationship with an expiration date. I watched the pilot on Hulu, and it was cute. I’m not sure it’s a keeper, but I’m going to give it a try for now.
  • The Flash (CW, Tuesdays at 7pm) – A spinoff of Arrow, based on comic books. I don’t read comic books, but I do watch – and like – Arrow. So I’ll at least watch the first episode of this one.
  • Forever (ABC, Mondays at 9pm) – So. This show is about a guy who can’t die. Every time he does, he comes back to life, waking up naked and in water. Also, he’s a medical examiner and works with a pretty cop. I realize that might just sound a little ridiculous, but I will be watching it anyway.
  • Gotham (Fox, Mondays at 7pm) – Batman before Batman was Batman, apparently. Lots of people are real worked up about this one, but since – like I said – I haven’t watched any of the Batman movies, I think I’m going to sit this one out.
  • How to Get Away with Murder (ABC, Thursdays at 9pm) – Lots of you mentioned this one and lots of critics have talked about it. But…I don’t know. I gave up Grey’s Anatomy a long time ago and never got started with Scandal, so I’m not really inclined to add the latest Shonda Rhimes show to my list.
  • Jane the Virgin (CW, Mondays at 8pm) – A Christian girl accidentally gets artificially inseminated and then her show is compared to Ugly Betty. Ummm…okay? I figure I’ll give this one a try, since I liked Ugly Betty. We’ll see.
  • Madam Secretary (CBS, Sundays at 7pm) – Former CIA agent becomes Secretary of State and “shakes things up.” The preview looks good, so I’ve already put this one on my schedule. (Yes. I have a schedule.)
  • Manhattan Love Story (ABC, Tuesdays at 7pm) – Oh my gosh, shoot me. You know how people joke about reading each other’s thoughts and how it might not be a good thing? Yeahhhh, it’s NOT. Just watching the preview was painful. And this is coming from someone who’s currently watching Greek and loving it (the show this one’s main character was in).
  • Marry Me (NBC, Tuesdays at 8pm) – I liked Happy Endings, Penny included. And Vinnie Van Lowe from Veronica Mars always cracked me up. But I do not buy these two together, and I am not interested in this show. Watching the preview felt like watching a bit, like they could not possibly be serious – BUT THEY WERE.
  • Mulaney (Fox, Sundays at 8pm) – It’s the new Seinfeld. It might be funny. I’ll maybe watch it if it’s on On Demand.
  • NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, Tuesdays at 8pm) – No, I do not need another procedural in my life. But I liked the episodes that previewed this new spinoff last year, soooo…I don’t know. Maybe? I’ll try it? I guess?
  • Red Band Society (Fox, Wednesdays at 8pm) – Uggggghhhhhhh. You guys! It’s another show about sick kids! I blame John Green for this new trend, and I do not approve. Because TEARS. But the critics are all over this one. And I don’t want to miss out on the Next Hot Show (unless it’s about Batman). So I’ll watch the pilot. If it makes me cry, though, I’m out. (I mean, not really. Reruns of HIMYM make me cry. So.)
  • Scorpion (CBS, Mondays at 8pm) – A crew of super smart people save the world. I believe I saw one critic say it’s Big Bang Theory meets the Justice League of America and/or Fast and the Furious. Clearly I will be watching this from Day One.
  • Selfie (ABC, Tuesdays at 7pm) – I don’t know why (I was bored?), but I watched this pilot on Hulu. It was not good. I don’t plan to watch. Annnnnd that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
  • State of Affairs (NBC, Mondays at 9pm) – Katharine Heigl is a CIA agent, working with the president and tracking down the terrorists who killed her fiance. I know, okay? But I’m going to watch it anyway.

Some TV Resources for You:

What shows are you looking forward to this fall?

Photo source

Saying Yes to Saying No

DSC_0025-001

A friend and I have had several conversations about being a high capacity person – or not, and learning to love people who have different capacities than we do. The other day I told her that I’m learning that I’m not as high capacity as I once was – or, at least, as I once believed I was.

In other words, I can’t do it all.

I know. You’re shocked! Right?

It’s true – and I’m truly learning what this means for me. Having a baby kind of forced my hand, but it’s something that’s been creeping up on me over the past several years of saying yes to everything.

Everything I needed to do.
Everything I wanted to do.
Everything I thought I should do.
Everything I felt others thought I should do.

I know that’s not healthy, it’s not smart, it’s not a strategy for success in any area of my life. I do! Look – I’ve written about it here and here. So obviously this struggle isn’t new to me. It’s just new for me to actually do something about it.

I’m taking baby steps in the direction of what Lysa TerKeurst calls My Best Yes – saying no to the good things so I can save my yes for the great things. The trick, of course, is figuring out what’s great and what’s just good. And then, the other trick is prying my fingers off of the good things, the things that will be fun and will help people and will make me happy and will look good on a resume (or Facebook status).

But if I don’t release my grip on the good, I’ll never be able to reach for the great that God has placed in front of me.

This realization pretty much always sends me straight to Whiny Baby Mode. “But I WANT to!” “But it won’t take THAT long!” “But it would be FUN!” I’m not sure I’ll ever grow up enough to avoid this stage. But my prayer is that I’ll stay here for less time.

I think it’s possible. This summer I said no to a handful of good things so I could focus on great things, namely family and writing. Two of those good things, though? They were at my church. They would have helped people. They were things I enjoyed and cared about and would have been good at. And saying no to them sent me straight to the church version of Whiny Baby Mode:

“But it’s for a good cause!”
“But I could HELP people!”
“But they NEED ME!”
“But God said to volunteer at church! {That’s in the Bible, right?}”

The Best Yes superhero cape

Thankfully, my overwhelming GREAT life was full enough at the time that I was able to grit my teeth, say no and move on.

Until last week, that is. I’d met my friend for lunch, and we were having that high capacity vs. low capacity conversation again, and I referred to one of those good things she’d asked me to do. That I’d turned down in favor of great things.

This is a friend who is honest with me and lets me be honest with her. So I didn’t flinch when she looked at me and said, “Yeah, that made me sad, because you said it was something you cared about but didn’t have time for – so I wondered what you were saying yes to that maybe you shouldn’t.”

Immediately I questioned that months-old decision. Had I turned down the great thing? Had I chosen wrong?

I’m confident that the answer to both of those questions is NO. I did the right thing this summer when I said no. But this conversation made me realize a couple things:

  1. Saying no when I need to might let other people down. As long as I know I’m doing what God’s calling me to do, what’s best for my family and for me, I have to learn to be okay with that.
  2. I’ve created the bad habit of over-apologizing in a way that makes it seem like I am either a) unsure of my decision or b) interested in or called to every single opportunity, whether I am or not.

When I told my friend I couldn’t help her, I was afraid of disappointing her. So I went overboard, as it turns out, making sure she knew how much I valued the project and how disappointed I was to “have to” say no. See, that way, she wouldn’t be mad at me, because I didn’t WANT to say no! And I loved her project. I did! It’s super important! But I “have to” say no…as if someone else was making that choice.

I didn’t lie to my friend. I do think the project she asked me to help with is super important. It helps kids in our community, and I think it’s amazing. And I was sad not to help. BUT. When I weighed that project against the other things I know undoubtedly that God has called me to do right now…I knew my answer this time was no.

That was my choice. But because I was so afraid, I didn’t own that choice and, instead of preventing disappointment, I just created confusion. After all, if I was so sad, why was I saying no?

See what I did?

Have you ever done that? (Hoping I’m not alone in this brand of crazy…)

DSC_0035-001

Learning to say no when I should and yes when I should is a process. It’s not a matter of reading one article or having one conversation and being done with it. And I suspect – like all annoying “growth opportunities” – it will change just as seasons of life change. So that’s something to look forward to.

I’m grateful to know I’m not alone in this journey – both in learning to say no, to draw boundaries, to make hard choices and in not getting it right the first time, questioning the choices I make, struggling to figure this thing out. So while reading one article or blog post or book won’t let me snap my fingers and make this easy, finding women who write about their own struggles and encourage me through this process is huge.

the best yes book

Lysa TerKeurst’s latest book is one of those resources I’m loving right now. The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands is all about everything I just shared. Except with more wisdom and lots of examples and encouragement that are keeping me mindful of this struggle and determined to keep plodding along toward My Best Yes. The book helps readers (including me):

  • Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
  • Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
  • Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process.
  • Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your Best Yes today.

At TheBestYes.com, you can read the first chapter of Lysa’s book for free. You can also learn about the Bible study she’s written to accompany the book (as well as watch a free session of the DVD curriculum and download a free chapter from the study guide).

This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour. To learn more, click here.

If You Build It: GoldieBlox and Girls

DSC_0062-001

This summer Annalyn started saying the worst thing. I’m not referring to her sass-mouth that just about puts me over the edge in approximately 3.7 seconds. No, I’m talking about this phrase:

“I’m not good at this.”

She’s said this about dozens of different tasks, and it’s driving me up the wall. I’m sure she’s heard Mark or me say that – whether in complaint or humility – and is parroting us. Which makes me even MORE upset! I’ve tried to talk to her about it, and I’ve tried to encourage her in the moment (reminding her that yes, she CAN do whatever it is she’s trying to excuse her way out of).

I haven’t heard her use those words much recently, so hopefully my efforts are working. But I know this is just one stop in a long journey of teaching her that she is capable and clever and GOOD at a lot of things.

DSC_0046-001

You know, she isn’t brilliant in every subject or gifted in every area. There are already things that Mark or I are good at that we can see she might not be. But that’s the beauty of discovering who this little girl is. Because there are LOTS of things she IS good at! And while singing on key is [so far] not her strength, inventing and building is something that captures her imagination and comes as naturally to her as singing along with the radio does for me.

I’ll never forget the time she cut up a bunch of scribbled on pieces of paper (coloring in the lines is also not her favorite activity), taped them together into a very convincing rocket ship. SHE MADE A ROCKET SHIP. Out of scraps. That blows my mind!

And over the weekend, I walked into the living room to find that she’d co-opted her baby sister’s toy box (a plastic crate from Walmart, because that’s how we roll) for a doll bed. But it was okay, she told me, because she’d scrounged up another basket for her sister’s toys. And now the stuffed elephant (THAT BELONGS TO HER SISTER, but whatever) has a home.

That kid’s mind is always working. And even though many of her inventions are unnecessary or impractical, I love that she thinks that way. I love that she wants to create, to build. And so GoldieBlox, construction toys made for girls, is the perfect toy for us!

GoldieBlox logo

I heard about GoldieBlox for the first time last year when the company made news with a super clever commercial. Very quickly, it went on to win awards – including Toy of the Year. It didn’t have to win awards for me, though. I was sold after watching the ad and reading a little bit about the company’s goal to get girls building. I bought Annalyn a GoldieBlox kit for Christmas last year – and yes, she loved it as much as I thought she would.

So, OF COURSE, when The Motherhood contacted me about learning more about GoldieBlox, reviewing their toys and (Hello!) giving away some toys to my readers, I jumped at the chance.

[Side note: I wouldn't say that every webinar, conference call or Twitter party I participate in is FUN. Educational or interesting, yes, but fun? Not really. Getting the chance to talk with the founders of GoldieBlox, though, was AWESOME.]

I felt like this:

DSC_0009-001

{Can you tell that acting is another one of her interests? Heh.}

Anyway.

I loved learning about the beginnings of the company AND its goals for the future. These moms saw something they didn’t like, saw a NEED – and did something about it. I love it!

Also, while I knew GoldieBlox was more than just a pink version of boys’ toys, what I didn’t realize was the amount of research that’s gone into finding out just how girls learn best. It turns out that the construction kits are centered around a character and a story for a reason; girls typically have strong verbal skills, so a story + construction set bolsters confidence in spatial skills while giving young inventors the tools they need to build and create amazing things.

Cool, right?

Goldie is a young engineer who likes to build things with her friends. Each set comes with a book that tells a story with instructions for building something related to the story. (So it’s problem solving plus engineering!) Plus it has extra blueprints in the back of the book for additional projects. (PLUS the GoldieBlox blog has more ideas, and you can buy a bag of parts for even more building fun!)

Downloads79

The company has three award-winning products on the market right now:

GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine (3-6 years old)
GoldieBlox and the Parade Float (3-6 years old)
GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank (5-8 years old)

At the beginning of every GoldieBlox story, some basic engineering vocabulary is introduced with a basic “Bill of Materials.” The pieces you get with GoldieBlox are based on the Seven Simple Machines (wheel and axis, lever, pulley, etc.) As I learned from GoldieBlox, these are the basic building blocks of every physical thing.

DSC_0008-001

When the founders of GoldieBlox were asked about specific skills they hope to teach girls with their toys, they said:

“One of the most critical skills we are teaching around engineering is simply confidence. Research has shown us that girls are less likely to pursue an activity if they don’t know they will be amazing at it. So by giving girls confidence and exposure to words, when they see and hear these words later in life, they won’t be as intimidated, because they will already understand the concepts!

Another important message we’re sending girls through GoldieBlox is to not give up! Even Goldie, in the stories, will have something not turn out the way she wanted it to and will have to try again at making something.”

I COULD NOT LOVE THIS ANYMORE.

DSC_0007-001

As Annalyn played with her Parade Float kit, she said, “I’m like a real builder, Mama!”

Now THAT is something I like to hear.

DSC_0015-001

GoldieBlox GIVEAWAY

Do you know a little girl who likes to build? I’d love to give you a Parade Float and a Dunk Tank kit! Simply visit the GoldieBlox site and tell me in a comment what part of it you’re most excited about.

The winner must live in the U.S. and will be selected randomly after the giveaway closes on Friday, September 5.

This post is part of a compensated campaign with GoldieBlox and The Motherhood. All opinions (and over-acted reactions caught on camera) are my own. And Annalyn’s own. They’re ours. And they’re real.