Scooching Forward

From the Brave and Resilient Classic Series

“I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” Those words sear my memory, almost as indelibly as the time I first rode a bike without training wheels. I’m sure during my wobbly inaugural ride (of only a few feet), I chirped, “I did it! I did it! I did it!”

You, too, know the exhilaration of accomplishing something you weren’t sure about at the start. Doing well in the class. Getting a promotion. Giving birth. Working out more often.

oldLadyCroppedI know well the pendulum of I-can’t and I-did-it. Years ago while recovering from a hospital stay, my mom visited me while my dad attended a business convention. Our first morning alone together, I made breakfast while Mom dressed. When Mom reached the carpeted steps joining the bedrooms to my main floor, she hesitated. Three simple steps that take three seconds to descend suddenly appeared a cavernous pit to Mom.Even afraid to grip the hefty railing, she rocked a little forward, stammering, “I can’t . . . I can’t . . . I can’t.” The combination of Mom’s still weak legs and her new medication morphed her mid-60s body into a fearful child. Petrified to ease her foot onto the first step, Mom’s “I can’t   . . . I can’t . . . can’t” faded to a whisper when I suggested Plan B. With my holding her hand, Mom sat down and together we scooched our bottoms down each step.

Decades later I sit here writing to you, pondering how often I, and maybe at times you, stammer, “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” Our mortified doubts may not leave our lips, but we all have our share of inferior moments where we are adamantly convinced that we cannot do something. I can’t deal with this marriage anymore. I can’t stand the way my boss treats me. I can’t go another month without enough money. I can’t endure the chemo. I can’t hack being single this long. I can’t get through to my teen. I can’t live like this anymore.

I get your “I can’ts.” It’s why I’ve created this website as a respite for anyone who needs a little encouragement, a welcoming place for those “I can’ts” of life. As much as I identify with your “I can’ts,” God gets them even more. He already knows all about your reluctance, your uncertainty, even your skepticism. He also knows how brave and resilient you are—what you can handle and just where you need a hand.

So before the next cacophony of “I can’ts” rumble and roar, reducing you to an emotional slug, why not share those “I can’ts” with God?

Go on. And sit on your tush, if you need to. He’s already there ready to scooch along right with you. Ready to hear your “I can’t” break into, “I did it. I did it. We did it, God!”

Brave & Resilient Tip #2:  Do not give in to the “I can’ts” of life.   

What helps you scooch forward?

See the Tips & Help page for practical ways to keep scooching forward in your life.

I Love You Always

Sunday in Target I nudged close to the Mother’s Day card section, but just wasn’t ready to linger there. When you’re a member of the Mothers in Heaven Club, you feel torn between staying far away from the annual packed card aisle in early May and the old habit of buying a just right card for your mom. Ever since I can remember, I made a card for Mom or hand selected one from among hundreds at the store—that is until she died in the spring of 2001, two months before Mother’s Day. Since then for me, Mother’s Day is the most challenging of card seasons.

Yesterday in another store, with fewer shoppers around, I ventured to look and actually pick a card for a dear friend who has become a mother to me. I admit though, my heart wrenched a bit at all the card markers: You are Always Dear to Me, World’s Best Mom, We Love You, The Love of a Mother. As I quickly thumbed through the floral and sparkling paper creations, I didn’t shed a tear on the outside, but I think my heart needed a tissue.

If you’ve lost your mother or she is currently slipping away from this earth, perhaps you can relate to the emotional seesaw of the world celebrating Moms, while you can no longer pick up the phone or give her a hug. No matter how incredible or challenging your relationship with your mother was or is today, I encourage you to think of some of your favorite Mom memories, the little things that remind you of why she will never be just like anyone else’s mom.

ChristmasLakeMomandMe - Version 2Every Mother’s Day since my mama finished her brave fight against the ravages of cancer, I have tried to do something she loved doing—bowling, planting flowers, laughing, shooting photos, baking, making her killer mac and cheese with real American cheese (she was a cookin’ from scratch kind of gal and I am too).

The windblown look while speedboating on Christmas Lake in Minneapolis, Mom’s hometown.

So this Mother’s Day, I encourage you to pause and honor the character qualities, fun hobbies, or life lessons your mother has taught you. My mother was a conversationalist and loved to chuckle. When people say this about me, I smile and think of Mom. My mother, Bernice, endured several intensive medical treatments in her life and I never once heard her whine or wallow in self-pity. My mother was one of the most brave and resilient women who ever walked on this planet.

So Mom, even though I can no longer lick your famed homemade chocolate pudding from the saucepan or chuckle at your stories or chat with you early every Sunday morning, I can find a tissue for my heart and whisper the words you used to conclude your handwritten letters to me, “I love you always.”

Brave and Resilient Tip #26: Recognize and celebrate the good and the beautiful in everyone.