Signs of Your Strength: When A Challenge Is Change


I ran across this quote the other day, and I really liked it.  The clothes definitely don’t make the woman.  The woman will always make the clothes.  In the same way, the situation will not make the woman…but the woman will most definitely make the situation.


Yesterday evening, I piled the kids into the car (it’s kind of an SUV. Don’t tell anyone.) to go pick Ben up from the ferry.

I love this drive across the island.  It gets me out of the house, I have to put on real pants for it, which sometimes is a bit of a struggle on comfy days when I am warm in my sweat pants, and it is a beautiful trip through the woods to the water every day.  Plus, I get to be seen with Ben (super hot).  It is a nice break in the day that I enjoy, for a number of reasons.

After I picked Ben up we hopped over to the store for a couple things.  Bread, apples, hand lotion (it is seriously dry up here), gluten free pasta for pasta salad, cotton balls and vaseline for a quick fire starter.  When we were done with our little shopping trip and standing in line, Ben and I noticed Alice looking particularly odd: In the middle of all the bustle of unloading the cart, which is the kids’ job, she was standing perfectly still, looking directly at Ben…and chewing furiously.

She had snagged a pack of Rollos next to the checkout line, shoved two into her mouth, and was trying to chew them as quickly as she could before we noticed.

Honestly, it was hilarious watching her small act of crime played out in such a quick moment.  Her eyes held a look of fierce determination to enjoy those chocolates as long as she could before they were taken away, which they promptly were.  We talked to her about stealing and took the roll of chocolates out of her clenched fists, and left it at that.  On one hand, it was surprising to me that this hasn’t happened before.  Maybe it has and I just don’t remember it; but given the number of kids, and the number of times we have taken them to stores, statistically this should be something we have seen often.  So, that’s a good sign!

I also got to eat the rest of the Rollos.  That was a little bonus on the side.


Stressful situations will bring out your true nature, whether you like it or not.

I was very proud that although Alice had a small moment of thieving, she accepted the consequences after and didn’t throw a tantrum in protest.  She knew what she did went against what we have taught the kids, and she didn’t feel entitled to the chocolates when we took them away from her.  It is wrong to steal, and that’s the end of it.  Despite her little stature, she bravely accepted the discipline that was appropriate for her actions, and that is commendable.

Right now, I am stressed out…and trying to hold a commendable spirit.

This afternoon a real estate agent is going to be visiting our property in order to “dig a parking spot” next to our property, so they can sell the forest behind us.  It is a weird piece of land back there, just smack in the middle of the hill and the only way to get to it is across our driveway.

To say I am not thrilled about any of this is putting it lightly.  The owners of the property have had it for 20 years, and it has been ignored for the entire length of the time.  All of a sudden, they want to send developers and landscapers across our driveway in order to begin permits on the land, and potentially chop down the forest to which we have just been introduced, and subsequently fallen in love.

The thing is, we just got here.  I didn’t move out into the middle of a forest to have traffic in my front yard.  We moved here to get away from it all.  I’m not sure what our recourse is, or what is going to happen, exactly; but we’ll definitely find out, one way or another.

The funny thing is, when faced with “life,” my initial response is to fight back.  I almost hate to admit that I have such a warrior’s spirit, because I don’t particularly enjoy fighting back.  However, I can just feel when my eyes get that look of fierce determination and I stare long and hard into my opponent’s eyes, and dare them to make the first move…

Tear down the forest?  I’d like to see you try.


The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

– Lieutenant General David Morrison

Life gives us challenges all the time.  Most of the time they are positive challenges, though, and the change is for the better.  But if you aren’t ready for change, or if you cannot see the challenge as a moment of change, then the challenge will become an obstacle, instead.

Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of the Australian Army, was addressing a spate of immoral behavior that was unleashed in the Australian Army a while back, and had a very stern warning to those who had caused, and propagated, the immoral situations.  He demanded of his Army that “If you become aware of any individual degrading another, then show moral courage and take a stand against it.”

The power to change the world for the better is always within our abilities.  Sometimes we can help each other, sometimes we can change situations…sometimes it takes time and patience to see the change that is needed.  I believe there is always a solution to challenges.  It may be an unconventional solution, it might be a difficult solution, or it might be a solution as simple as walking away from the situation, but there are very few times when there is no solution available.  The fact is, though, that not everyone will see their ability to find a solution, and every challenge becomes an obstacle: either an obstacle to succumb to, or an obstacle to turn a blind eye.

The thing is, as Lieutenant General David Morrison said, “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept,” and it takes a strong person to see the change in the challenge.

I will always know the strength of a person when I see them stop for the change.


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