I’m back! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my social media/blog cleanse and as you can tell, it lasted a wee bit longer than a month.
I’ve gotten a lot done in the past month and a half! Nothing earth shattering, but I diy-ed a lovely corner desk for my bedroom (with a TON of my hubby’s help of course) and I’ve enjoyed sipping tea and reading daily in my new beautiful space.
I put together my “2015 must-read” book list or two book lists actually, non-fiction books and children’s/youth literature to read (gotta keep my spirit young!). I finished several books including one I’ve always wanted to read, Frank Baum’s original, Wizard of Oz (more on that later). I’ve organized my recipes, cooked more, cleaned our carpets, and trained and ran a five mile race.
Most importantly, I did a much better job of being fully present to my little boys and had more quiet time to reflect and well, just be quiet.
Now, it’s time to start writing again and while I truly enjoy it, the cold, gray winter is fighting hard to keep me on a forever sabbatical, aka I’m majorly lacking in the motivation area. I’m thankful for the spring-like weather this week!
So, what better way to help catapult me (and maybe you too if you’re feeling the winter blues) out of this rut than a post inspired by The Wizard of Oz. What’s more magical than the glittering Emerald City and Oz’s crew of lovable characters?
If you love the movie and haven’t read the book, do it! It was so much fun to get the back story on all of the characters and there really is so much more to the adventure than time allowed for in the movie. And allow me to blow your mind with my favorite interesting tid-bit: The ruby slippers were SILVER in the book. What!? The theory is that they were changed to red for the movie, because that color was more dramatic in Technicolor.
Okay, now that your mind has been sufficiently blown…
In the first few pages of Baum’s original text, I was particularly struck by his description of Dorothy’s surroundings in Kansas. Sure that part of the movie was in black and white, but I don’t remember the movie evoking the same feeling of “grayness” and frankly depression. Dorothy, are you sure you don’t want to stay in Oz?!
“When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.”
Description of Aunt Em:
“The sun and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray; they had taken red from her cheeks and lips, and they were gray also.”
Description of Uncle Henry:
“Uncle Henry never laughed. He worked hard from morning till night and did not know what joy was. He was gray also, from his long beard to his rough boots, and he looked stern and solemn, and rarely spoke.”
Well, isn’t that all rather bleak and “gray”?
Sometimes life feels a little gray and I’m not just talking about that one weird scraggly piece of gray hair I pulled out of my head a few months ago. I’m talking about how easy it is to find ourselves focusing on the gray, negative, and more challenging areas of life.
Fighting the grayness can be a daily battle. Have you ever let your day melt into something similar to this…
I got up late. It threw my whole day off. I had to rush to get the kids ready, so I was short and snappy with them. I hit every red light on the way to the gym and someone cut me off. There were no open parking spots, so I had to drive around, which made me miss the class I wanted to attend. I forgot my headphones, so my workout was so long and boring without music. The kids were so crabby the rest of the day and didn’t want to nap. I was tired from their crabbiness, so I didn’t feel like making dinner. We had frozen pizza again, so I felt like I failed as a wife and mother, because I didn’t make something better for dinner. I had the worse day ever, so I make sure I let my spouse know it when he gets home and I spend the rest of the night making sure he really knows how bad it was.
Anyone else ever had a day like this?
Grayness can feel like a giant dirty snowball that keeps getting thrown in your face over and over again. Some of that grayness we bring on ourselves. In the above example, there were many chances to change the gray into Technicolor. Sure, we woke up late and it threw our day off schedule, but what if instead we were just plain thankful to be waking up at all!
We need to put up our little positive thought fighters up against the negative thought army that sometimes seems to be lurking around every bend. Thankfully, the above types of issues are only light gray issues (or “first world problems” as it’s trendy to say lately).
There are so many darker gray problems out there; the tough things that happen in life like losing a loved one, a cancer diagnosis, losing a job, struggling with infertility, etc. If you aren’t facing any of these, than today thank God for your “light gray” problems.
And then there are even darker gray issues that we know are out there, but many of us will never have to worry about. Pray for those in the darkest gray.
When dark gray things pile up in life, it’s like a dirty snowball that threatens to plow you over and drag you down the mountain with it. If you aren’t careful, when dark gray things pile up, it’s easy to start assigning blanket statements to your life like:
“We experience nothing but loss in our lives.”
“My life has been so hard.”
“Nothing ever goes right for me.”
Just the other day I was feeling down from a recent string of challenges; I was moping and said to myself, “Another loss, why do we keep experiencing nothing but loss.” Then I looked up at my two beautiful little boys and immediately felt ashamed for even thinking such a thought!
When the grayness sets in and tries to take hold of our lives and steal our sparkle, we have got to focus on the bright spots and all we have to be thankful for. It can sometimes feel like the devil is trying to remind us of every single bad thing that has ever happened to us! In those moments, we remember only the tough, sad, and tragic, so a pity party easily ensues.
In the Wizard of Oz, for Dorothy, Toto was her bright spot.
“It was Toto that made Dorothy laugh, and saved her from growing as gray as her other surroundings. Toto was not gray…”
Yes, we all have “gray stuff” in our lives (of all shades), but there are wonderful bright spots too. We have so much to be thankful for. We need to cling to our bright spots, our Totos, and lean on that deep sense of thankfulness we have for all that is good in our lives.
Forget the shades of gray and snuggle up with your Toto!
Who is your Toto when skies are gray?
What helps you get your sparkle back?