Thursday, February 4, 2010

FPC (Flexible, Patient, Calm)

"How flexible are you?" the hotel reservations clerk inquired of me.

"Oh, you have no idea! I am sooo flexible. I'm about the most flexible person on the face of the earth," I boasted. "But, you mean how flexible am I on the arrival date, don't you?"

The poor guy on the other end of my phone. He did not know what a buzz word he'd just sounded.

Of all the code words we amassed in the past five months that Kathryn lived with us, the most oft quoted was: "FPC." Short for "Flexible, Patient, Calm," this is the internal memo we announce as needed in response to (or anticipation of) escalating anxiety, tension, difficult circumstances, mounting chaos and just high spirits. She had a way of recognizing and naming what has become second nature to us.

Akin to the British, "Keep Calm and Carry On," our shorter version builds solidarity, keeps us united to make the most of any circumstance. It's at once a claim of credit deserved if you've kept your cool, a reminder to repeat that directive without any affect, and a call to action to take the high road. It's become a household policy and an injection of comic relief.

Especially when Jim says it. For 90% of the time he botches it up--first by accident, now on purpose. "Flexible, patient, and mild" was one permutation he spewed out mockingly. Over Thanksgiving, he'd verbally pat himself on the back with a double tap and it became "ohoh! who's flexible, patient and bountiful?" loud enough for all to hear.

The true test of learning something is being able to teach it. So it is cause for celebration when I hear my own lessons turned back on me by my kids. The other day we left Golden Spoon (the originator of the California frozen yogurt craze). I have frequent cravings for their pistachio flavor which rotates sporadically into the standard offerings. Predictably, that day they did NOT have pistachio. As we left, Reid sweetly pointed out, "Mom you were flexible." Yes, indeed I was.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Jesus was meek (which could be a synonym for mild). Anybody got a verse for flexible?

Be joyful in hope,
patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:11-13

Be completely humble and gentle; be
patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-3

But the
meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. Psalm 37:10-12


  1. We make-up those little family sayings, too. And my Hubby loves to flub a familiar phrase. tehe.


  2. So good to catch up on your week of blogs! God truly speaks through you to me and I am always encouraged and blessed by you.

    I know others are too. I am praying these will be a published daily devotional someday!
    Love and prayers always,

  3. I have learned,in all things, therewith to be content.

  4. I am laughing so hard. FPC/FPM/FPB - the 'bountiful' addition was a perfect alternative for that amazing Thanksgiving meal. "oooh who's flexible?" I love it.

    One a serious note though - the FPC lesson is one that carries me through the day. What a fantastic reminder to stay composed, listen, and then act. Sometimes we just need a bit of time, a short moment to gather ourselves and realized - it will all be ok. Just...Keep Calm and Carry On. Tomorrow will come and go and it will all be just fine.

    Thanks for this reminder - I just wish I were there to giggle with you all. But...I must keep calm and carry one. love love.