Rockin' Out
Monday, October 31, 2011

There is so much to love about this picture of Dylan and three of his buddies, jamming out in my mini-van, electric guitars and all.

But my very favorite thing is the look on the face of my much calmer firstborn:  "Help."

best foot forward
Friday, October 28, 2011

Growing up, I was concerned with being "the best."  Or at least "among the best."  Which was good in some ways - if I had a test, I studied.  If I had a performance, I practiced. Constantly.  If I had an interview, for a job or college scholarship, I looked up practice questions and practiced my answers in front of a mirror. (I haven't had a job interview in a while....but I might still do that when the time comes.  I have performance issues.)

It was good to want to do my best.  But it did have an ugly side.

If I couldn't be among the best at something, I didn't do it.  Period. Didn't even make an attempt. I never played an organized sport.  I never even considered cheerleading, even in early elementary school when all my friends were doing it.  I never took a dance class.  In High School I never took any advanced math or science courses that challenged me and might result in a grade less than an "A".  In doing so, I didn't experience the growth that comes with failure, and I missed out on a lot of opportunities.  There were careers that seemed interesting to me, but I wouldn't even consider pursuing as a college major, given that I might have to take classes that were too challenging.  

All that boring back story is to say that I see the same irrational fear of failure starting to sprout up in small ways in my kids.  And I want them to be braver than I was! Much braver.  And so...I take a deep breath and I let them see me attempting things that often result in "failure." 

When they ask, I try and draw a picture of an alligator fighting a monkey, even though I know it won't resemble anything close.

I dance around during our family jam sessions, (with the blinds tightly closed) even though I look like an idiot have virtually no moves.  

I play racing games on the Wii even though I have no chance of winning.  That one stings a little.  

I play kickball in the backyard even though my 6 year old is better at kicking than I am.  

I tried to boogie-board at the beach and nearly broke my tailbone when the waves immediately pushed me off and under.  I am not graceful flailing in the waves, but at least my kids saw me try!  

I hope, in all my small attempts to do something hard for me, that they are getting a message that it's okay to look like an idiot sometimes.  It's okay to be brave and try something that you might not ever be "the best" at doing.  I want them to get out there and have adventures and fail and maybe a make a "C" in a class or two.  If it's hard-earned "C"in chemistry, I'll be more proud than the "A" in English that comes so easy to them. (Okay, that's me projecting my own regrets...but I'm sure they'll have their own examples!)

So to my fellow moms with the same gotta-be-the-best-and-can't-look-like-an-idiot-issues ----- Be brave today.  Let your kids see you flop around ungracefully and fail at something.  Give them courage.


Tips from the Small Group Trenches
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm the guest blogger today over on my husband's ministry blog.  Sharing my tips for wrangling rowdy kiddos in a small group setting!  Check it out by clicking here.

Me and "my boys"


drugstore make-up favs
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My sister-in-law recommended this Physician's Formula Mineral Wear over on her blog, and after a few months of use I still really like it:

I still sometimes wear a cream foundation underneath the Physician's Formula if I have a special event or something, but most days I just quickly brush this on and I'm good to go.   (Stephanie had previously used Bare Minerals and likes this brand better.) Runs around $10 bucks.

I've also added these two inexpensive (CHEAP!) drug store finds to my make-up routine and can give a thumbs up for both:

e.l.f eyelid primer

This primer cost a whopping $1.00 and was the product that was most recommended when I Googled "best drugstore eyeshadow primer."  It goes on smooth and helps eyeshadow stay put thruout the day.  (Not as good as department store brands I've used, but for the price it's pretty good.  FYI: It's sheer and doesn't really provide any color.)

I bought this cream liner in metallic olive and I really like it!  At only $3 bucks, I plan to purchase it in black as well.  I've never used a high end cream or gel liner so I can't give a comparison - but it goes on very smooth over the primer and stays put!  

Find all these at Target or your favorite drugstore.

Any favorite drugstore brands to share? 

that nasty green-eyed monster
Saturday, October 22, 2011

Comparison is an ugly game.  It steals confidence and creates instability.  
Judging my life based on the lives of others makes me feel a bit schizophrenic:  I can't even decide from one week to the next whose life I should be jealous of....

Sometimes I look with jealousy upon the full-time stay at home mom, who can devote all her energy to the home and family.
Sometimes I look with jealousy on the full-time working mom, who makes a nice paycheck and puts her college degree to it's best use.
Then I remember that my part-time mom/part-time professional life is an incredible gift, and to live it with excellence I have to do so without comparing myself to anyone.

Sometimes I look with jealousy on my tall, thin friends, who can wear the lasest styles and look amazing while doing so.
Sometimes I look with jealousy on my friends who do not meet the standards of "beauty" that the fashion magazines foist upon us, but they nevertheless exude a confidence that makes them truly, truly beautiful.
Then I remember that it's me -- my 5 foot 4 inch self -- that my husband loves and finds beautiful, and to speak or think ill of myself is an insult to him and to my Maker.

There are days that I wish for an exciting, bigger-than-life personality that exudes passion and joy and is always the life of the party.
There are other days that I so long for a calm, humble and quiet spirit that exudes peace and wisdom.
Then I finally remember to be grateful that God has made my personality somewhere in the middle, and allowed me to be a good friend to many who operate in either extreme.

Envy is nasty.  It destroys gratitude, and creates a hardened and unthankful heart toward the plan God has for my life.  That green-eyed monster of jealousy has no place in the life of this woman loved by God!

How about you?  Jealousy ever rear it's ugly head in your life? 


Time for a Collective Ahhh
Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dylan's birthday card to Lauryn last month was so, so sugar sweet.  (Made all the better that he made it all on his own, without prompting from mom and dad.)

They fight those two, like cats and dogs, but they also look out for each other and have moments of brillance when they play and create together. (Nothing funnier than a skit or puppet show they create in tandem.)

At school, we drop the kids off at the front door, and they walk in together. Lauryn's kindergarten teacher told me that her brothers walk her into her classroom every day, help her put away her backpack and lunch, and she gives them a hug before she finds her seat. Makes my heart happy.  Watch out world for those Cliff kids!

A Wall of Dirt
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A wall of dirt invaded Lubbock this week! I happened to be working late Monday, so I was on the road in the van around 5:30 when I saw it coming.  It went from night to day in a matter of seconds.  Too bizarre!

I heard on the news that there has not been such a massive dust storm (called a haboob) (which makes me giggle) since the 1930's.  Here are some pics and video for my family outside of Lubbock that didn't get to experience the haboob for themselves....

Lubbock Dust Storm from Jonathan Cliff on Vimeo.

Cliff Familyt

I'm Starr Cliff. A domestically-challenged mom, climbing over mountains of laundry to bring you my stray observations and amusing stories about my kids. (more)



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