Friday, September 30, 2011

Jack Welch on the Wall

When I was a junior in college, I found a quote by Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE:

Control your own destiny or someone else will.

I wrote it down and pinned it to the bulletin board that hung above my desk next to photo collages of friends, magazine cutouts and a life we all thought we wanted (and would have).  I wanted to embrace controlling my destiny, perhaps because I knew I was not in control, but controlled; whether it be by my fears, my family, peers, boyfriends....think of me as a leaf in a stream, carried by the current, sometimes gently, sometimes getting a little "beat up" in the process. 

Yesterday I was searching for a quote or saying to put in my oldest boy's senior yearbook patron ad and I found Jack Welch's quote.  We decided to go with something else, something that will mean something to him..and make him laugh, but I can't share it here yet.  (Not that he would ever read this. As if!)

Anyway, coming across that quote made me think...who is controlling my destiny?

If we want to go theological the answer still isn't clear cut.  Some believe that God started the world and now it's running on momentum and God is hands-off, watching.  Some believe that God has a hand in every little thing that happens.  Most believe that God has a plan for each of us and that God can use for good everything our free-willing selves choose to do.

So if I'm reclaiming my awesome, I need to start thinking about controlling my destiny.  But controlling my destiny may have consequences, some you expect and some that are unanticipated and may not rear their (ugly ?) heads for quite some time. I don't live in a vacuum; I have a family, friends, obligations...I can't just decide I want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and beat feet, you know?  (No, I really have no desire to do that, it was an example.)

Yesterday one of my friends posted a quote on crackbook   fb, "...if you get a chance, take it.  If it changes your life, let it..."  Hmmmm.  Ms Medium isn't a chance-taking, acceptor of change.  Remember the leaf in the stream, getting carried by the current?  And now I'm thinking about controlling my destiny and taking chances.  It's a lot to think about, at least it is for me. 

I'm taking baby steps and one of them is realizing that finding my awesome depends on me controlling my own destiny.  How I feel, who I am, what I do cannot be based on another human, no matter how much I love them, respect them or want them to accept and love me.

Baby steps.  When the Husband's response to a new outfit I choose is, "I [meaning him] don't have to wear it." (which means he hates it), and I loved it, I will still love it.  (And my dark purple nail polish.)  To be fair, I don't think he's trying to control me or my choices, just voicing his opinion.  It's my problem that I internalize his opinion and don't trust my own.

Controlling my own destiny (and finding my awesome, cuz it's all about me.;) ) is about trusting myself to be rational and practical but it doesn't necessarily mean just going where the current takes me.  It's not going to be easy and sometimes my outfit won't work.  (Let's hope that's the worst consequence. ;) )

That handwritten quote from all of those years ago might still be kicking around in a box (doubtful), but I'm glad I was reminded of it yesterday and I want to embrace it again.

To loosely quote Martin Luther, "Sin boldly, and trust in the Lord bolder still."


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Go Out Walkin'...Errr

This morning as the beads of sweat trickled down my cheeks I focused on not hitting the wall.  Literally. 

It was great to have a treadmill in the house so my exercise wasn't dependent on anyone else's schedule.  I know that every day I can hop on and walk/run and get it done.  Eye on the prize.

Usually I walk at the park.  On days when the parking lots are sparse, I admit I am a little anxious in the wooded areas and I look over my shoulder more frequently.  (The Husband gripes about how unsafe it is or me to run/walk with ear buds in because it makes me less aware of my surroundings..."It helps me keep my pace." I argue.) 

"Keeping my pace" was a figment of my imagination.  That is lesson one learned from the treadmill (which I plan to name...).  You see, setting the treadmill, I had to stay at the pace or admit defeat and lower the speed. 

Have I mentioned my prideful nature? 

In line with keeping my pace is hitting the wall...I can walk and search for the right song on my ipod at the same time, adding in a motorized walkway however, adds a new skill set which I will have to master.  I have to focus on keeping the pace more on the treadmill so when I got distracted I found myself slipping back and dangerously close to hitting the wall, the literal one.  That just doesn't happen at the park.  I guess it's a good thing I don't try to chew gum while I'm on the treadmill, that might max out my multi-tasking abilities. ;)

Positives to sweating with the instrument of torture?  I do not have to worry about childcare because they were still snoozing, except for Miss M who watched from her high chair with amusement as she ate her cereal.  That means I can exercise every day, rain or shine regardless of when the Husband leaves or gets home.  I did not have to side-step dead frogs (happens more that you'd think), avoid attack grasshoppers (apparently there is some sort of grasshopper plague?  Wait!  Frogs and grasshoppers, that's two plagues.), and I didn't have to wait for any gaggles of geese to finish crossing the path. 

I did miss the park though.  I missed watching the steam rise from the pond, the wildflowers waving in the breeze, the changing leaves, the breeze and even the older men walking dogs that can fit in my purse.  At the park, I can get lost in thought more which makes the time go faster (though probably not my pace).

The treadmill will help me reach my fitness goals.  I know I have the discipline to hop on every day and I don't have to go anywhere (like a gym) to work out (which is good because I have hermit tendencies) and as I explained above, walking on a treadmill and adjusting my ipod is not as easy as you might think so I don't have to embarrass myself in public as I master that new skill.   

Tomorrow I will sweat again.  And the day after that.  And the day after that.  Most of the time, I will use the torture device, but when time allows, I think I'll go back and visit the geese and the grasshoppers and sidestep the frogs. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

One Perfect Word

Four letters. 

People struggle to define it because it has so much baggage attached. 


If it is so difficult to define, why do I call it perfect?

We give it, we take it, we fake it, we make it...L-O-V-E..

Love God, Love your neighbor.  To love is the greatest commandment.  Yet, somehow we lose that in translation, in reality, in humanity.  We forget we are called to love (whatever that is) and we say we are showing love by trying to teach, encourage comformity, share truth (often "in love", which so often is instead beating someone over the head with what one believes another "should" do or be.)

It is perfect because in the words of the Beatles, (and God) all you need is love.  1 Corinthians 13 was a reading at our wedding...  4"Love is patient.  Love is Kind... 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  and then 8 Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect will disappear.''... 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 


Not my knowledge or understanding or belief system. 

Everything else can fall away and all that really matters is L-O-V-E.

I am guilty of being less than loving.  I make snarky comments.  I lack compassion at times.  I think harsh or judgemental thoughts.  I confess it to you today and I will surely commit these same sins again.  I don't want to, but I forget to just L-O-V-E sometimes. 

Casting Crowns sings a song, Here I Go Again (and they may not agree with the whole sentiment of this post but they don't have to...), "Father hear my prayer.  I need the perfect words, words that he will hear and know they're straight from You...So Maybe this time, I'll speak the words of life with Your fire in my eyes...But this might be my last chance to tell him that You love him..."

This morning I realized the only words of life I need to speak with fire in my eyes...are words of love.


Not "Woulda, shoulda, coulda."  Not "Be like me."  Not even, "Believe what I believe."  Just love.  I love you because you are a human being.  You are beautifully and wonderfully made.  You are loved just as you are. 

It's the one perfect word and the love doesn't come from me.  I am a vessel, the hands and feet.  Whether you believe in what I believe or not.  I believe it and so that love can pass through me. 

and that L-O-V-E passing through perfect.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reclaiming My Awesome

A few weeks ago, a very hip mama friend (and when I say hip I mean hip, chic, cool, totally awesome) posted this link on her fb page.  I read it and then I linked it to my fb page and then...kept thinking about it. I kept thinking about finding my awesome.  Thinking about where I lost it and if I was *shudder* stealing my own kids' awesome.

And then...I had a fb (you see how the crackbook fb is a heavy part of my life, yes?) conversation with another rock star mommy friend of mine about being modest and she responded with something to the effect of, "If you aren't your own cheerleader, who will be?"

Hello!  I was a cheerleader in high school (back in the stone age when the cavemen played with a ball made of dinosaur skin. ;) ) But being my own cheerleader? Well, that just wasn't goin' on.  At some point I learned that "tooting my own horn" was very, very bad.  I waited for others to point out my gifts and even then, I struggled with accepting the compliments I so desperately craved.  I was taught, observed or through osmosis, got the message that humility was the way to go. (This is why the Husband calls me Ms. Medium...and he does not value the medium.  He values the awesome he sees within the confines of our home, when I actually speak my mind, have an opinion and claim the authoritative knowledge I posses through years of life and several thousands of dollars of degrees.)

Well, my friends...I have decided that I need to follow the advice of the rock star.  Instead of downplaying or ignoring the accomplishments, I need to embrace them.   Because, I have accomplished some amazing feats!  I am wearing some battle scars (after 6 kids, my abdomen is not concave as it was when I was 18) but I have achieved, seen and done a lot!  I have a long way to go but no more hiding my sparkly light under a bushel!  (Well, it may take baby steps. ;) )

So, I am reclaiming my awesome.  It may take me a while and I may need to reevaluate what my particular awesome is, but I am going to put my chin up and say, "Hey world!  I am ready to claim IT!"

So join me.  Look in the mirror and be your own best cheer leader and say, "You are awesome!"

(Btw...this is totally Biblical.  God gave each of us gifts and if we don't show them and share them, they're getting wasted!)


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Double Digits

Today we wish *N* a Happy 10th Birthday!

I still remember clearly the day his father, AKA the Husband said, "I think we should have another baby."

We were sitting at our favorite lunch spot, Sutton's. *J* was in first grade, *C* was not quite one, sitting contentedly in a high chair, I was sipping a glass of wine (not a normal midday beverage, I assure you).  I almost spit the wine out in surprise.  Really.  In the Husband's mind, things were going very smoothly with two, *C* was a very easy baby, *J* was doing great as a big brother, his job was good, what were we waiting for, we already had his name picked out.  (Seriously, the day we brought *C* home from the hospital, I told him the name I wanted for our next son.)

I'm not sure it was more than a month later when we found out *N* was on his way.  And the placid and easygoing *C* started a round of horrid ear infections and I ended up in the hospital with dehydration, then with you see, apparently life was too calm and we needed to shake things up. ;)  

The day he was born, 4 days late, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, not sure I was in labor.  I emailed my FIL but didn't mention it because I was sure it was a false alarm.  I called my SIL to find out how much warning she needed to get here to watch *C* (none, but I told her to wait), sent *J* off to school with no idea anything was going on, and tried to send the Husband to work an hour away.  He refused.  SIL arrived unbidden and encouraged us to go (I was still thinking false alarm)...  It was a good thing we went because it was pretty intense and it was time.  The Husband and the midwife talked Monty Python between contractions.  ("Hello, I'm having a baby here, pay attention to me!" ;) )

Life with *N* is not calm, but it sure is happy.  He IS our enthusiastic boy. He loves to please and he is our perpetual motion machine.  He loves baseball (the Husband is taking him to Cooperstown as one of his gifts), stays up late reading, has a strong sense of justice (particularly as it applies to him, "It's not fair!") and has some "frat boy" tendencies.  Our life is richer and more intense and joyful because he is in it.

Catching, his favorite position!

Happy Birthday, *N*!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In Which She Confesses a Shortcoming...

I have a confession.  
It's not a deep dark secret, or maybe it is.
As a homemaker, I am sorely lacking.  I love a clean, uncluttered and tidy home.  I just....I'm waiting for the cleaning fairy to arrive and apparently she is running way behind schedule.

Now, part of it is that I have offspring who are sorely lacking in the "pick up after yourself" department and part of it is that I just don't feel like it, whatever the "it" is.  I do the laundry, the dishes are done.  I even sweep up after the food thrower  Miss M does her customary baptizing of the floor with whatever she deems inedible on a given day.  

But if you were to come to my home today you would find a living room floor littered with Duplos, train tracks, little people and whatever books the lovely Miss M has pulled from the shelves.  The counter is piled with school papers, mail, a skein of yarn, books and various writing utensils. (Instead of a junk drawer I have a junk counter.  My mother is rolling in her have no idea.  Just one more way I would have disappointed her.)

Here's the thing.  Clutter bothers me A LOT.  However, I get a little tired of repeating the same tasks over and over and over and over again; tasks that no one appreciates.  I clear the counter and a new slew of papers replaces the old.  The toys will not be going anywhere for many years.  

And then...and then, one of the same little darlings who seems to think every flat surface in the living room is meant as a storage space for his stuff will say, "the house is messy." Sometimes I breathe deeply and respond calmly, mostly I'm pretty sure steam comes out of my ears and my voice can be heard on the other side of the state.  (I live in a big state.)

I have made cleaning schedules, I have scrubbed and scoured and organized and felt a huge sense of accomplishment...that fades with the new dumping and tossing and crumbing of the floors.  

Part of me thinks Phyllis Diller had it right when she said, "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."   

At any rate, I really want to get a handle on things...if only because the lady two doors down only comes and knocks when it looks like Fisher Price had a meltdown in here...and she came knocking yesterday....


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy #7!

Today we wish boy #4 a Happy 7th Birthday!  he is being very persnickety about it.  He keeps arguing with the 4 yo brother that he isn't 7 until the time of his birth this afternoon which was causing the 4 yo to repeat that *E* is 7 in louder and progressively more whiny tones as we drove to school with 2 dozen cupcakes lovingly made by the Husband last night...after being out of the house for almost 12 hours between work and commute. 

(Why, yes, I did marry a saint. ;)  he also made *E*'s cake for today.  He's just that kind of guy.)

7 years ago we welcomed our fourth son.  There was much rejoicing...and much joking about the fact that this was the third son to be born in September.  *E* loves a good joke but he is also a tender-hearted soul who worries quite a bit.  (Actually, all of my kids have a propensity to worry. I think it's genetic...from me.) 

When I reflect on the day of *E*'s birth, I remember how many people came together to help us out, neighbors who babysat and did school drop-off and pick-up and tag teamed childcare for us.  *E* was our first seminary baby and in our little "compound" there was a sense of community.  It wasn't because we all looked the same, listened to the same music or even espoused the same values about everything.

I think it came from the fact that we all espoused the Greatest Commandment...I think it's because we loved God (why we were all there) and we shared that love in word and deed in love of our neighbors, in grace and compassion; lending a hand, sharing a meal, giving a hug or leaving a joke on your door.  We were not all perfect, nor did we all embody this love and grace all day every day, but there were enough glimpses of grace in those many hands and hearts that it made most things that seemed or felt impossible quite doable. 

I learned a great deal in seminary, but I think the most valuable lessons were learned outside the classroom among the peers who loved and shared and cared and blessed and allowed us to do the same for them. 

*E* (And *I*) were born in that environment.  Now we have a church home that provides that love too.  As we wish *E* a happy 7th Birthday, I remember the feeling of love that surrounded us then and reflect on the love I am surrounded by now. 

I pray that my sweet and silly boy feels that love as he grows and that you can feel it too.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Happy Fastest Service Ever Day!"

In the wee small hours of this morning, as a 4 year-old slumbered between us, the Husband said, "Happy Fastest Service Ever at Applebees Day Also Known As No Room at the Inn Day."

17 years ago this morning we drove to the hospital for a scheduled induction of our first son, *J*. 
I remember listening to "The Things We Handed Down" by Marc Cohn as we exited the highway. 

Don't know much about you. Don't know who you are.  We've been doing fine without you. We could only go so far. Don't know why you chose us.  Were you watching from above.  Is there someone there that knows us, said we'd give you all our love. 

This was a long-awaited day.  Not just because he was our first child but because I had been pregnant for 18 months (Why yes, I felt and looked like an elephant, so yes, I was pregnant for 18 but he was due on August 30th.)

While sitting at the admission desk, filled with excitement, a perfectly coiffed and made-up woman came in, already in labor.  I was in awe that it was 7 am, she was in labor and she looked fashion-runway-ready.  I was decidely not runway-ready...unless it was the elephants on parade.

The intake woman put her phone down, smiled at me and said, "I'm sorry, but there is no bed for you."  Can you believe a bunch of people had the audacity to go in to labor all on their own and stole my reservation?!  She told us to head home and they would call when a bed opened up.  I put on my brave face, thanked her and we left.  Not until I got in the car did I burst into tears. 

Will you laugh just like your mother? Will you sigh like your old man?  Will some things skip a generation like I've heard they often can?  Are you a poet or a dancer?  A devil or a clown? Or a strange new combination of the things we've handed down.

We went home and called our family to let them know.   I also asked my mother to please tell my sister who had been calling every day since mid-August not to call me.  (I didn't have caller ID, did anyone? And there's nothing like having someone call you every day to ask, "Anything yet?" to get on a pregnant woman's nerves!)

I wonder who you'll look like.  Will your hair fall down in curls?  Will you be a mam's boy, or daddy's little girl?

A couple of hours later, my doctor's nurse called.  "Dr. C asked me to call and tell you there's no room at the inn."  Seriously, those were the exact words.  I was instructed to come in the following morning and there would be a room for me. 

What do elephants  immensely pregnant women do when their plans for induction are thwarted?  Well, they go out to lunch of course!

When we walked in to Applebees, the hostess asked me when I was due.  "Two weeks ago."  Never, ever in my life have we gotten food that fast.  McDs is slower! ;)  I think they were afraid I'd deliver in the booth. Bwahahaha.

You may not always be so grateful for the way that you were made.  Maybe some feature of your father's that you'd gladly sell or trade.  And one day you may look at us and say that you were cursed but over time that line has been extremely well rehearsed by our our fathers and their fathers in some old and distant town from places no one here remembers called the things we've handed down.

I don't remember much else about that day.  I'm sure the Husband and I played cards.  I'm sure I went and sat in the rocking chair in the nursery looking at his crib all ready for him.  I'm sure I reluctantly answered the phone whenever it rang.  I know without a doubt that I had no idea on this day seventeen years ago what being a mom would really be like. 

You can thank us later for the things we've handed down.

Happy Fastest Service Ever Day AKA No Room at the Inn Day!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's That Day (repost from last year)

Today is a day that will live on in our memories as one of tragedy and pain, fear and loss.

I was pregnant (what else is new) and the Husband had the day off. We were watching the Today Show with our not yet 2 yo and preparing to go shopping for last minute baby things when we watched TV in horror.

I started to cry as I watched that plane fly into the tower on TV and *C*, seeing his mommy cry, buried his face in the couch sobbing. The whole day (and those following) felt surreal and we were wondering what our second grader would hear at school and would he be worried about his Grandpa living in NYC. *J* heard nothing at school and FIL was safe and fine. (He came to visit the 15th and I was never so happy to see him pull up to our house as that day...I ran out to hug him.)

The evening of the 11th we attended a special worship service out our church. I remember singing "A Mighty Fortress is Our God". I never sang that hymn with as much emotion as that day. It never meant so much to me. Still today, when I sing that hymn, I am transported back to that day.

My heart still aches for all those who suffered and for all those who experienced loss.

I remember people asking me how it felt to be bringing a baby into such a world. I told them that a few evil and misguided people may have brought horrible pain and destruction on thousands BUT millions of good, kind and loving people were out there too. We saw them reaching out to help in any way they could.

We live in a broken world, but God is always walking with us, alongside us. We can choose how to respond, with love and forgiveness or with vengeance and bitterness.

I am pretty certain Jesus would encourage us to love one another to work through the pain.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Wall

Have you ever hit a wall?

Last week I talked  to a friend about the feeling that perhaps I was having a midlife crisis.  Things that I was absolutely certain of, things I hadn't thought about in years, things that were absolutes in my mind suddenly became shades of gray.  My very wise friend suggested that maybe instead of a midlife crisis, I had hit a wall.  Perhaps, she suggested, instead of having a midlife crisis, I was feeling the strain of my lifestyle.

I said, "Perhaps." But I was really feeling so distressed about turning 41 that I really thought I was missing my carefree youth more than anything else. 

Until today.

Today I realized that perhaps my friend had a point and what I was truly feeling was that I have "hit a wall." 

Grad school, volunteer responsibilities, being a mom to 6 kids, and now a husband with a less flexible schedule (which I am thankful for, don't misunderstand) added to some sleep deprivation have turned me into an anxiety-ridden, verge-of-tears woman who has hit the wall big time. 

This is not, however, the Great Wall of China.  I envision it like a wall on an obstacle course that I will either need to use my muscles to climb over or my brain to find a way around. It might not be tidy and it might not be first...but part of how I have accomplished anything I am proud of is by actually having to work at it. 

It will be one step at a time, one hand over the other, one foot in front of the other and I may even need to lean on some others for at least moral support, but I. Can. Do. This.  (Yes, I am trying to convince myself.  Like any mantra, it works best when I repeat it over an over.)

And...I am so thankful that I have these opportunities to use these gifts with which I have been blesses.  I will become more efficient, I will become more focused and if need be, I will ask for a "little help".

I pray that we each can feel free to ask for help when we need it and to be thankful in all things. 

Have a wonderful weekend.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Buddy

Today was the first day of school for the school aged darlings.  They all got out the door in decent spirits and on time.  Smooooooth.  I hope this is a sign of times to come.  I hope but I also knock wood and cross my fingers and if I had a lucky rabbit's foot...

After the children got off to school I went to get a fasting cholesterol blood draw.  On the way home I thought about hitting the McD drive through.  Not really, but Starbucks was sweetly calling my name.  I said, "Get behind me!"  and drank my water and ate my apple. 

Why am I gifting you with the rundown of my exciting morning schedule?  Because I did not get my morning walk in the park in until 4:30 this afternoon.  This walk has become my exercise and my respite.  I love the time to walk and think and listen to my ipod and just be.  *N* has asked to join me several times but I always say a resounding, "No!"

Until today.  After he was at school all day, I felt kind of guilty saying, "No." when he wanted to spend some time with his dear old mom.  I said whined about how I like to listen to my ipod but he has a very endearing smile and I just couldn't turn him down. 

He brought his ipod and his dad admonished him to zip the lips and just walk with mom.  He chattered happily on the way to the park and then as we got out of the car.  I was adjusting my ipod and he realized his had no juice.  Uh oh.  He said, "That's okay mom. You can still listen to yours."  And then he proceeded to point out a turtle. (We took a picture with my phone.) and a dead frog (I did not document it.) and he chattered happily the whole time we walked.  I kept the ipod down low because it helps me set my pace, but it wasn't the rock out walking I normally do.

That's okay though.  He was happy and he kept up with me.  It wasn't the way I usually exercise.  I treasure the time alone with my music, but I treasure my jubilant son more.  He might not always be so enamored of the walks with mom but it was a great opportunity to hear about his day and see the world through his not-yet-jaded eyes. 

I may not always say, "Yes!" when he asks to join me, but I think I will every now and then.  After all, he's 9 and can run an 8 minute mile so maybe I need to work out with him more often.

Praying that we each can take the time to see the turtles and listen to the voices whether they be God's still, small voice or the voice of an enthusiastic child.  Today I am so thankful for taking the time to listen to both.


Monday, September 5, 2011


Yesterday I was talking on the phone with a friend, one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet.  He is going through some stuff and he said to me, "I just keep going back to Paul asking God three times to take the thorn from his flesh and the Lord responds, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. "

I needed to hear that.  I believe it is true.  That does not mean I have to like it. 

Call me stubborn.  Call me sinful.  Call me human. It's true in the same way that 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 is true.

Stubborn as I am, I argue with the verse, "I won't boast, or become conceited or take any blessings for granted, honest!  But a little relief would be very nice right about now, God!"  My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.

But, why does it feel like things fall apart or fail to come together?  What am I doing wrong? My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.

I can't do this anymore, it's too hard.  My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.

His power is made perfect in my weakness.  When I am able to put myself aside, let go of it and admit my weakness, God's power can and does shine through. I see it time and time again, in all sorts of ways, but sometimes  grit my teeth and bear the deviations with my plans with resignation, looking for ways to save face.

And I am reminded that resignation is a poor response to grace.  Grace that saves and heals and comforts and gives life should not be greeted with resignation.  Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:10 says, "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong." 

Perhaps saving face is boastful?  Perhaps when I try to maintain my own pride, I am not owning my weakness?  Perhaps, in order to for my weakness to bear out His strength, I need to lose the brave face and the protective covering and just let go.  Let go and let God.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.