Monthly Archives: December 2011

Order Up!

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2 love handles, 1 over opinionated personality, and a side of entitlement!  Order Up!  I watched the waitress pick up the ridiculous slab of mess that someone had the nerve of actually requesting.  I watched with hawk-like  eyes to see who she sat the order in front of!  I wondered who could consume all that; it had to be for at least a family of four!  She left the counter and headed down the aisle, trying to balance the other over indulgent orders, a pound of high school insecurities and a heaping of wild and crazy hair.  At least someone ordered something appetizing and healthy as well; a side of confidence.  She rounded the corner and headed my way.  I looked around to see which of my restaurant cohorts had daringly took on this challenge.  She started to slow as she got closer to my table so I became more intrigued!  Was it the rich couple in front of me? They could afford such a feast. Or maybe it was the overly successful business man to my right who seemed like he could take on the world.  I second guessed the dumpy straight edge teenager behind me because clearly he couldn’t afford the order.  She came to a halt, turned left, and said “this is all yours”!

What!?  Clearly she was mistaken!  I spoke loudly so the other diners would know that I was attesting such an insult.  “Excuse me Miss, but you have been mistaken.  This is NOT my order.  I clearly ordered 1 slim figure, a perfect family, a side of accolades and success, and a cup of ease”.  She looked puzzle, apologized, and vowed to get it right the next time.  The businessman to my right smirked and said “I thought that was a little much for you to handle on your own”.  I watched the waitress argue with the chef about my order, she walked back to the order screen glanced down in confusion, and then went back to collect what she thought to be acceptable.

I sat calmly and went back to people watching.  I couldn’t believe I got reservations at the hottest restaurant in town: Life!  People tried for ages to get a seat, but it was really only offered to a chosen few.  Another order was called out: A slab of unsuccessful relationships, a few lost friendships, a trickle of embarrassing moments, and a cup of grace.  Wow, this order was worse than before!  I mean the grace clearly was the best thing on the plate, but that slab of relationships smelled horrible!  She rounded that same corner, stood right in front of me and plopped the tray down on my table.  She didn’t even ask this time if it was mine!  Before I could oppose she was off delivering an order that sounded more appetizing than my trough.

I was outraged!  I didn’t wait this long to get into Life to get the scraps no one wanted.  I stood up in the middle of the aisle and shouted “THIS IS NOT MY ORDER”!  The music stopped, the room got quiet, and all eyes were on me.  The straight edge kid behind me started a slow hand clap, but was embarrassingly not joined by the rest of the crowd.  The manager scampered over and asked me to please express my dissatisfaction with my plate.  I let Him know that this was nothing like the reviews in the magazine.  I heard Life was all about having fun, enjoying your time, and relaxing.

I pointed to my neighbor’s meal of wealth, the couple’s cups of fame, and even the teenager behind me had a large helping of time. The manager asked me to look closer at my plate and agreed it may not have been his cooks most aesthetically pleasing platter, but asked me to consider the cup of grace, the topping of love, and the overwhelming sprinkles of life changing moments.  He reminded me that the couple in front of me had a dessert of infidelity, the businessman had a cocktail of lonely nights, and the teenager didn’t need anything extra; he had it bad enough being a teenager.  He advised me to take a bite before complaining and see if it tasted better than it looked.

To my surprise the slab of bad relationships left a “finding my husband” after taste, the lost friendships were hard to swallow at times, but the cup of grace surely helped.  The embarrassing moments actually made me smile a bit and wasn’t as bad as I thought.  I motioned for the waitress and asked her to return the first order sent to me.  Though the love handles, opinionated personality, and entitlement seemed a tad scary, I clearly wouldn’t be able to leave without trying the confidence.  Before leaving Life I vowed to return with my son or daughter and help them navigate the large menu placed before them.

Always with love,
Modo

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Boxing Match

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10…9…8…7…I prayed he wouldn’t get up, but I knew him for quite a while now and knew he wasn’t quite out for the count. As projected he bounced back and tried to hit me with a one-two, but I dipped and dodged the swings of the tongue. My component was my husband and boy he must have worked out since our last go round because it was much easier to win our new car fight than this one. For a moment I tried to remember how this warm-up spar turned into a full fledged boxing match.

It was a normal Saturday morning, which meant I was griping about how we once again let the chaos of the week take control of our small abode. It also meant my husband was pretending to be asleep. Before I knew it, a quick jab of “say something else” started the battle. The lights dimmed, the mic dropped from the ceiling, and that famous guy with the good hair was in our living room. In this corner wearing mix matched church socks, a dingy white T-shirt, and black framed glasses….The Doz. And in this corner wearing the same shirt she had on from last night, morning hair that would scare a ghost, and who knows where she put her glasses because she never can find them….Modeezzy. Ding, ding, ding.

FIRST ROUND!!! I came out fighting with everything I had, as usual. A few jabs regarding old stuff from last week, a quick left about dirty dishes, and an upper cut about working hard. I kept it coming with a left, right, left: bedroom light still broke, hallway door held together by a hair tie, and of course the dishes. Actually I punched with the dishes for a good minute…nonstop…with all my power…until I literally couldn’t stand it anymore. I knew I had him, he was wavering, but the Doz was a patient fighter; he didn’t swing much, studied his opponent until the perfect time. And to my surprise he slammed me with a below the belt “you didn’t cook dinner last night so why should I wash dishes” punch. I blacked out, I went kamikaze. Boxing turned into street fighting and all rules went out the window.

SECOND ROUND!!!…I didn’t even wait for the bell to ring. I came out with illegal punches all over the place. I hit with a “remember when” swing, the “I always” jab, the faithful “dirty dishes” punch, and “you no good” gut jab. But he just wouldn’t go down! I panicked for a bit and started to feel backed up in my corner. I didn’t want to have to use the worse move of them all “the family” swing, but I had no other choice. As I approached to lay the blow, I slipped on the “I’m sorry” forfeit. I didn’t see it coming, and before I knew it I was going down. The fall felt like slow motion as I watched the ring of “I take that back” quickly approaching, but right before I hit the ground he caught me.

He caught me with his silly jokes, big cheeks, and funny dances. He caught me with holding me until I fell asleep from crying after my grandmother’s death. He caught me with vowing to love me for better or for worse. He caught me with his love. I was defenseless and the fight was over, but the amazing thing was that we both won. I didn’t vow to never train for another battle; I didn’t vow to never throw a swing; I didn’t even vow to never start a battle again. But I did vow to never push away his ways of catching me….because it’s what got us in the ring in the first place.

Always with love,

Modo

Humpday Hero Feature: Natalie

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Talking with Natalie was like catching up with an old friend!  We literally talked for hours, laughed til my stomach hurt, and even shared tears and secrets.  Her humility about her life expierences, ability to navigate a family of 7, and her deep passion for changing the world one workout at a time was life changing.  If you have suggestions for future humpday heroes please send emails to: swtvolumeup@gmail.com  For nomination rules please click the Humpday Hero tab above.  Don’t forget to click the follow button below/above to subscribe.

Quote from the nominator.

“I am amazed at how Natalie is able to manage a family, school, friends, while being a marathon runner, a faithful child of God, and a military wife; doing it all with a smile, humor, and humility.”

Nominee

Natalie Fisher-Davis

How do you describe your 9-5How do you describe your 9-5?

“I don’t have a 9-5 I have a 24-7. It’s  chaotic, comical, and never-ending. It’s a constant cycle, like a conveyor belt (laughs)! My husband wakes up very early in the morning so I try to get up with him, or I often pretend to be asleep. I have a 17- month old and sometimes when she wakes up I will stop whatever I am doing and freeze frame and pretend I am asleep (laughs). She believes it every time. The rest of the kids wake up at different times, which I believe is to get their own individual time, which is smart. But, it’s great having a big family because they distract each other, which helps me out a lot. “

If you were the ruler of a country, what would be the first law you would enact?

“This is hard because I am not a bossy pants. All my rules would be things you see in a kindergarten class (laughs). To be kind!”

You are stranded on a deserted island, a genie appears and can grant you three wishes (can not wish to leave island), what are your wishes?

“I would first wish to make the island my home, with all the amenities, so it didn’t feel like a deserted island anymore. Secondly I would wish that my family took a cruise and got stranded on the same island. Then we would populate that joint and make it a city, which I would be ruler of and everybody would have to be kind! (laughs). I wouldn’t need another wish because I would have everything after that”

Its Saturday 2:00 P.M., what are you doing?

“We just moved to Washington so we would probably be driving to Costco.”

Describe the first time you fell in love with someone or something?

“I was and am very much in love with my husband. I can’t remember when I actually fell in love with him because it just always was, but the love I had when I had my first child(ren) was like no other. Its amazing! It makes my heart ache with insane happiness. I feel that same way about all my kids. And when they cry and stay up all night, its equivalent to having your first fight (laughs)”

If money was no factor, what would you do choose to do for the rest of your life?

“To feed the hungry! I don’t know how we have so much obesity in this country and at the same time thousands of people going hungry every day. I recently read a study about fast food and the amount of money spent on it, its billions of dollars. The cost per dollar to end hunger is so low. Literally if people would just go through and order what they usually would and then NOT take the food just once, it could help eradicate hunger.”

If your life could be described by a song, which would it be?

“(laughs) I am seriously one of those people that never know the title of a song, and just hum it to make someone know what I’m talking about (starts humming). The song “I’m forgiven” has helped me get through really hard times in my life. It basically reminds us that all wrong we have done in is forgiven by God”

What is your life motto?

“To push forward, press on.”

What are three things you cannot live without?

“I can and I have lived without a lot, but because I have 5 kids there are certain things I have to have. A home, a vehicle, and food. That’s really all we need to survive and when you have a big family our source of entertainment is already met.”

Who is your hero?

“I can’t say I have just one. I see God’s work in all people. So maybe Christ would be my hero. I give thanks to the people around me daily because I know God is moving through them. I actually use the word hero loosely because if one of the kids helps me change a diaper they are a hero. Everything should be recognized because all people are blessings.”

Which actress would you choose to play your life story?

“ My daughter, JoJo. She is one of the best actresses I know. She can cry on demand. We were recently in a store and she started crying because I wouldn’t buy her a dress. I ignored it because I know that she was practicing. The store clerk started feeling bad for her and offered us a discount. I tried to explain to her that she was fine, but she didn’t believe until I told JoJo to change to her other cry, which she did (laughs). She is amazing, she can do accents too and it doesn’t hurt that she looks just like me.”

Final words to the readers

“ God is love.”?

 

Humpday Hero Feature: Nivia

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Interviewing Nivia can be summed up in one word: enlightening!  She was a breath of fresh air, offered her wisdom with such humility, and her laughter was contagious.  She vowed to no pictures, but her beauty radiates through her words.  If you have suggestions for future humpday heroes please email here: swtvolumeup@gmail.com  For nomination rules please click the Humpday Hero tab above.  Don’t forget to click the follow button above to subscribe.

Quote from the nominator.

“Nivia has taught me lessons that not only apply to my professional life, but also my personal.  After I leave her supervision I feel like a weight was lifted off of me and it helps me get through the rest of the work week.”

Nominee

Nivia Van Damme, LCSW

How do you describe your 9-5?

“I don’t know what a 9 to 5 is; my day is way beyond a 9 to 5!  I am a therapist.  It is busy to say the least, hectic, and challenging.  I often start early and end late.

If you were the ruler of a country, what would be the first law you would enact?

“This is actually a question that I ask my clients!  It would be to eliminate hunger.  It’s hard for me to conceptualize that there are human beings, of all ages that spend the day hungry.  To be hungry, all day, is the most painful feeling for someone to endure.

You are stranded on a deserted island, a genie appears and can grant you three wishes (can not wish to leave island), what are your wishes?        

“First I want to make sure I have shelter.  I want food because I have to survive.  The last wish is difficult.  I would love to have the companionship of my family, but why would I want to subjugate them to a deserted island.  See, this is a reflection of myself on a daily basis (laughs).  The third wish would be a wish for good health.”

Its Saturday 2:00 P.M., what are you doing?

“Driving home from either the market or after seeing a client.”

Describe the first time you fell in love with someone or something?

“One of the first memories of deep love is the birth of my first nephew.  I was a teenager when he was born and it was like having a new toy.  His father, my brother and I were very close as kids.  He would walk me to class and everything, he was  great.  So when he had a kid the love  for my nephew was precious.  The love that I have for my nephew to this day is still very special.”

If money was no factor, what would you choose to do for the rest of your life?

“I have tremendous love for my family, so I would first make sure that each of them were financially secure.  Then I would be extremely involved in eradicating hunger.  I would also work with eradicating childhood illness.”

If your life could be described by a song, which would it be?

“This is a tough one!  I love music.  I associate music to relaxation, my culture, and my roots.  I can’t think of a song though, I owe you an answer.”

What are three things you cannot live without?

“I am not very attached to material things; it seriously could all be taken away.  I won’t say one of the things is my faith/spirituality because that could never be taken away.  The first would be a form of transportation.  I could not imagine walking around Los Angeles.  The second would be my family; they represent so much to me.  Thirdly, my mental health.  My mental health gives me the ability to evolve, to be, to create.  It’s a great fear of mine to lose my mental health.  Working in the field I work in, I often see what it is like to lose pieces of your mental health and its heart breaking.”

Who is your hero?

“I have several heroes, all of whom I believe aided in molding me into the person I have become. My aunt was an amazing woman; she raised me and molded my personality, principles, and values.  She taught me how to take things not so seriously.  My dad taught me responsibility, work ethic.  He really taught me how to present things to people.  My mother was a very giving woman, her and my dad were complete opposites.  Philosophically, knowing Jesus exist changed my life.  I spent a portion of my life challenging my faith and eventually learned it for myself.  Politically my heroes are Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Dr. King, and Salvador Allende.  They were all so significant to our world.  All these significant people shaped me into the person that I have become today.

Which actress would you choose to play your life story?

“Oh gosh, you are making me think!  Let me tell you a funny story.  I used to work at Cedar Sinai Hospital and when you become employed you have to sign a confidentiality statement due to all the celebrities that come to the hospital.  The running joke was that I didn’t need to sign it because I literally never knew who these people were.  I don’t watch T.V. or movies much.  The last movie I probably saw in the theaters was Shrek!  I can’t even think of an actress’s name.  But, at one time in my life was a little obsessed with Dustin Hoffman.”

Final words to the readers

“Life is full of challenges.  We have to be ready to go with the flow.  Remember to hang onto the things that have value and let go of the worries, concerns, and material things.    Those things will give you nothing and if you allow them to define you they will eventually trap you.  Money has value and yes your positions in life can help you gain the access, but you have to balance it so you don’t lose sense of yourself.  This is something that has to be cultivated, it doesn’t just come.”

The Mad Dash

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5:00 P.M….10:00 P.M….11:00 P.M….12:30 A.M……2:00 P.M….5:30 P.M….7:00 P.M….The time I needed to leave work, the time I needed to be done packing, the time I needed to leave, the time I needed to get there, the time dinner started, the time I needed to leave again, and the time I needed to arrive one more time.  Time!  Time was all I thought about during the holidays.  It felt like it slipped away from me more often than it gave me extra, even when I paid for it to turn off.

 

But this holiday season it was imperative that I managed it well. We had three cities to navigate through within 24 hours, catch up with family, and pretend not to be exhausted throughout the process. This was a time of pure endurance! I had prepared for this day for months. I felt like the character in the Black Friday Target commercials. I timed the traffic at peak hours. I worked late and slept less. I would wake up in the middle of the night, screaming “pack, pack, pack” just to see if my husband was prepared for the holiday season. This was no time for mishaps!

I lined up at the starting line, did a few stretches, and was the first out of the gate at the sound of the gun. I actually left a tad early from work, but this was no time to count penalties, I had a race to run. Second hurdle of only utilizing one overnight bag (as ordered by coach husband) posed to be a challenge, but I cleared it with room to spare. Fatigue started to set in by hurdle three of driving down the 91 after the sun had set, but the coach splashed water on my face from the sidelines to jar my endurance. Fourth hurdle was cleared without a stumble as we pulled into the driveway to the T of the estimated arrival time.

But it wasn’t until the fifth hurdle that I started to trip up. The hurdle had been knocked down! Thanksgiving dinner was ready early! AHHHHHH this was unexpected. This meant that the time between dinner and estimated time of departure would be elongated. Time is imperative for maintaining endurance. If the time was stretched, it offered room for me to set in a comfortable pace turning my sprint into a marathon, meaning I had to slow down! I took a deep breath and mentally tried to prepare for this new change of pace; but it did not go as planned.
It started out with revisiting old family stories, laughing until our stomachs hurt, and watching the kids’ eyes sparkle in amazement at the people we grew out of. The stretch led into reminiscing on loved ones no longer with us, predicting sibling’s futures, and watching a series of hysterical YouTube videos. It rounded out with doing each other’s hair, movie watching, and dessert eating. And then endurance’s worse enemy struck: hugs and sad goodbyes. I had completely lost my pace, focus, and endurance.

I had succumbed to familiarity and it felt good. It was like eating that first piece of cake after dieting for 6 months; like wrapping up in a blanket and watching “Stepmom” on a rainy day; like watching your nephew crawl into your arms and say “I love you”; it felt like family; it felt like home. I had trained to get through the holidays but i had not prepared to be in them! Tears weld as I realized the sixth hurdle was in clear sight. While the rest of the race still had to be ran, I was aware now that I didn’t have to sprint.

I came to realize that if I run fast throughout life never slowing down to refresh myself with the reason I am running in the first place there is no reason to run at all. I vowed to terminate my entry in the mad dash of life and submit my name for the marathon of living.

Always with love,

Modo