Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cute shoes, a Clutzy Speaker, and Great Questions


In the past 10 days, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to two groups of terrific moms — one in North Carolina and one in Wisconsin. My only regret is that I didn’t get pictures of each of these groups. (If I get to speak to your Mom to Mom group sometime, will you PLEASE be sure we get pictures? I always forget that!) But you can be sure they look a lot like you—and other moms you know.

My morning in North Carolina brought a new “first” in my speaking experience. I actually spoke sitting down with my foot iced and elevated! It was quite a scene—I really do wish we had gotten a picture!

I didn’t start the morning with a foot injury. No, I waited until just moments before I was to speak and then I performed a feat (no pun intended) that would be absolutely non-reproducible, by me or anyone else! In walking across the room to get some water, I managed to catch the toe of my cute red shoe on the leg of a chair. Nothing really unusual for me about that. But read on: my big toe actually came out of the shoe and got caught on the front edge of the shoe—and bent backward! OUCH!!

“How in the world does such a thing happen?”, you may be wondering. I could never do it a second time — at least I hope not! It was all about the cute shoe . . . and I have my friend Kay to blame for that.

Kay is a real Southerner (she grew up in Alabama and now lives in Atlanta), and thus is my chief clothing consult when I speak in the South, where even moms always seem to manage to look really cute all the time. Or at least that’s my impression. Those of you who live in the South may take it for granted — but for us northerners, it can be a little bit intimidating.

So I ask my friend Kay about what to wear when speaking in the South. In the Fall, for example, where it is actually HOT in October. As I stand in my Wisconsin closet eyeing the woolens that hang there in ready protection against the winters which seem to start here in October, I think of Kay’s advice (only half tongue-in-cheek): “Just wear cute shoes and carry a cute purse. The rest doesn’t matter. It’s all about the cute shoes and purse.”

So of course last week when I was speaking in North Carolina I was wearing cute red shoes. Now these cute shoes are actually very uncomfortable. Very, very uncomfortable. I bought them really cheap at Marshall’s and only wear them for short periods of time — never, for example, in airports or when walking long distances carrying grandchildren.

Last Wednesday I obviously wore them too long—even though it was early in the morning! But the women there were wonderful, producing ice packs, towel wraps, a chair to elevate my very red big toe, plus lots of great mom-TLC. And, despite my clumsiest intro yet, we had a great morning together.

The best part, I thought, was their questions. They had asked if I would do a Q&A after my talk (which I love doing) and had submitted some terrific questions. A wonderful discussion grew out of both what I could share with them and the great, creative ideas they shared on various topics.

Then this week I had a similarly great discussion time with moms at a Mom to Mom here in Wisconsin. (Just for the record, some of those moms had cute shoes, too, I think. The only reason I’m not sure is that being a northerner, I don’t always tend to notice shoes.) These moms also had great questions.

And it got me thinking: one of the most important things in life is asking the right questions. It’s the starting point for so much learning—and growing. Over the years I have often agonized over what was the “right thing to do” in various situations. Often when I bring up these questions with Woody he will say, “Well, for starters, at least you’re asking the right questions.”

So I’m thinking that in the next few blog posts I would like to share a few of the questions these and other moms have asked me recently. And share some of our discussions in response to them. I say “discussions” because good, hard questions don’t tend to have easy answers. And I definitely do not see myself as an “”answer lady.” I am most definitely still learning as I go through my mom-life. And I learn so much from all of you.

But there are some great guidelines—from God, above all, and also from experience. And from other moms. So I hope you’ll stay tuned for some great mom-questions in the future.

And watch out for those cute shoes!

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