Tuesday, July 31, 2012


My daughter, Colleen, got in the car yesterday after her musical theater workshop and put her hair up in a high ponytail on the side.  I said, "Go, '80's fashion!"  She asked, "What do you mean?"  I told her that was the way we all wore our hair in the 1980's...just look at the videos of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper from that time.  She laughed and launched into a rousing rendition of Material Girl complete with miming the long, black gloves and diamond jewelry.  Remember the lyrics?

Like Totally!
"Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me
I think they're O.K.
If they don't give me proper credit
I just walk away.

They can beg and they can plead
But they can't see the light, that's right
'Cause the boy with the cold hard cash
Is always Mister Right.

'Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl."

Braden piped up from the back seat, "That's how the girl who got the solo in my last camp wore her hair."  After hearing that remark, I commenced telling a long story about my first few years in the Young Americans.  At that time Mr. Anderson and Bill would tell us the day or the week before we were going to learn a number so we could prepare.  Now for most of us, that meant making sure we knew lyrics, notes and steps to each song.  But for a girl in our organization, Melissa, who had been acting since a very young age, it meant dressing up in the style of the number we were going to be casting.

If we were staging Oklahoma, she would come to rehearsal dressed in overalls, a plaid shirt and wearing her hair in pigtails.
If we were staging Grease, she'd walk in wearing a white T-shirt, rolled up jeans and bobby socks.
If we were staging Yankee Doodle, she would wear red, white & blue.
It worked almost every time.

At the end of my tale, Colleen said, "That was pretty smart."  Braden, on the other hand, said, "Well, I think it's just terrible that she feels like that about money."  Colleen and I looked at each other, realizing that we were clearly missing something.  We said, "What are you talking about, Bud?"  To which he replied, "You know, that song.  I can't believe those lyrics.  How could anyone feel like that about money.  I think it's awful."

I realized he had been reflecting for the entire length of my five minute story on the lyrics to Material Girl.  He was exiting the car but first wrapped up his thought by saying, "I bet if all someone cared about was money, they wouldn't be very happy.  In fact, I bet they'd still be single."  Then he slammed the door and went into the house, leaving me behind with my mouth agape.

I have really awesome kids, and I'm so proud of them...
but even I was floored by the depth of Braden's comment. 
It was one of my most gratifying moments as a parent. 
That my 12 year old young man knew that a relationship
should be based on more than
material things,
"cold hard cash"...
well, I was so thankful.

And when he said, "single," I don't really think he meant unmarried.
I think he meant solitary...
because let's face it, whether you're married or single,
if the whole basis of your relationships
is centered around wealth, then you're really not relating.
You are alone.
You are single.
You have but one, solitary purpose, and that is to focus on the outside...
which probably and sadly means you're missing something on the inside.

Thankfully, no matter whether we are single, married, partnered, whatever,
we are never really alone
if we let Him fill that void.
Never solitary...
never lonely...
as long as we know love is more than stuff.
Relationship is more than material wealth.
Commitment is more than credit cards, mansions, luxury cars, riches...
Love is giving.
Love is sharing.
Love is Him.
We are living in a material world...
But despite this, we can live with abundant inner riches,
as long as we are His girls.  (And boys!!)


  1. I know it may seem like a say this all the time... well lets face it- I do say it everytime I see your family.... but HE IS PERFECT!!!!!!!!!
    ....and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!!

    1. You are sweet...he's gettin' the Mary Leist "big head." Gotta tread lightly from now on. :) (But I must say I think he's pretty special too.) Love you, Mare!

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