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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Danger Will Robinson....Danger

I wish I had a robot that would signal when danger is approaching. I am like the proverbial frog in a pot put on to boil....I adjust with the times and am in danger of boiling to death.

I have been on a bit of a tare lately. I have berated Christians as a whole for being unloving. I am pointing a finger at myself as well. My judgemental attitude towards some things is absolutely wrong. My defensiveness on my pet preferences is highly sensitive. You mess with what I hold sacred I will light into you....

But - what do I hold sacred?

Quite frankly, it's a little hard to tell these days. Other than my family and friends I find I am quite free of other issues.

I find I have become a bit .....ummmm.......lackadaisical in my stand for right and wrong. I think that sometimes I water my beliefs down too much. I don't think I have to stand on a street corner and shout it - or even - heaven forbid -  belittle or condemn others. But I do need to make sure that I am known by my deeds. That I am seen as a follower of Jesus by the love I show and that I do not quell when courage is needed to share a concern in love. I want the vision to make things better. I want the energy and strength to work hard at serving others. I want to let things that do not matter lie and not quibble over silliness. Picking a fight never solved a problem. Generally it creates one. My actions should follow my words. My words should announce my actions.

Politics, wealth and power...these things do not last. Politics is a waste of time and energy. It renders no help to the common man. I will vote my conscience but until this vehicle for human consumption and greed is fixed it is a waste of time. How does one fix the vehicle? I am at a loss.

The pursuit of the almighty dollar is certainly out of our control these days. As far as power is concerned - well I am a control freak but even that is driving me insane. When I look at the big picture - when I see this broken world, it is more than I can bear at times. The bombings, the fear, the desire of others to hurt so many, the selfishness of the government - and I am totally being bipartisan here - it is depressing. It makes me want to give up.

So what is the answer to living in a world that is so very, very broken?

Narrowing my vision.

My first job - loving God, my husband and kids - raising my children - to love God first and foremost, to love others well, to see needs beyond their own is my priority right now. They are the future of this world. Any influence I have on them is right now and will be my best chance at making the future better.

My choice of work will affect many. I love these high school kids. I am scared of them too. I see such potential but I also see kids that have been raised to think of themselves. And more than likely it is by example. They are as a whole without courtesy and without concern when no one is looking. Integrity is lacking. They have the answers for sure. If you ask them what they think is important they will tell you, and mostly it sounds good. But - I do see that there is a difference in their walk and their talk. We have made our kids the center of our universe and it is starting to show.

We have become so self aware that we are not aware of anything else. And our kids are the proof.

But my Special Ed kids at the High School are amazing. I have found my passion. I love substituting there and helping my friends as well as loving on those kids. I think the fact that I will be an outlier from the General Ed may help in my desire to befriend and guide those kids as I work with my sweet Special Ed kids. I am excited about what God has in store. I pray I can be used to point them in the right way. Actually I ask God to help me do that for anyone I am with.

The best way to do that is to keep my eyes peeled. Getting too comfortable and letting people pleasing be most important is not what I am called to do. The more uncomfortable I am - the sharper I am. The more I am reading scripture and calling on God, the better I serve. I have to keep asking God what is best. Not what is best for me - or how can I please others, but how can I truly help.

I do not want to be that proverbial frog in the boiling pot of water. Heaven forbid.

So - reading the Bible, prayer, seeking to serve others and help in the community, teaching my kids to love God, serve others and to guard their hearts, and to respect each other in their words and deeds, these are my first goal. The house and it's state of being shall be a distant concern. heh. Good luck with that. But I will try.

Here's to better focus -






Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I am a list maker....



I am so excited. It is a wonderfully, rumbly, rainy day. I have so much these days inspire me to do. I am so happy because yesterday I was busy doing and helping and I am happy, happy, happy to be at home.

  • paper mache' project
  • new recipe (and a contest) to try
  • reading a book in my reading nook
  • old movie I DVR'd

That's my warm and fuzzy list.

 But I have to figure in:

  • 3 boys - bored from not being able to go outside. This could mean moment to moment interruptions.
  • I bought a new toilet mechanism for my bathroom toilet. It has been running constantly. The flap is no longer working so I really need to change that. This could totally blow the day.
  • I want my house clean first. It looks like it exploded because I ran the streets yesterday and did not finish putting anything up
  • I really need to paint the bathroom door facings and mirror I finished framing.
  • I really need to paint the ceiling in the living room
  • I also need to sit and think about what I want to replace the bathroom flooring and hallway flooring with. I cannot make up my mind and I need to make a decision SOON.
  • There are two baskets of clothing I have put off folding
  • One load (okay maybe 2) that need to be washed.
  • The kitchen shelving has been pointedly asking me to take things down and dust and wipe and repaper. Especially that stuff around the top of the cabinets that gets that fine greasy film covered in dust. Lovely.
  • I also wanted to take the kitchen curtains down and wash them.
  • The comforter on my bed? Not sure how to tackle it. Where is the tag with the directions for cleaning? Did I cut it OFF?
And sadly - that list is longer. I made myself stop because I was starting to feel the beginnings of a panic attack.

Suddenly my warm and fuzzy list is blurry and distant. I am also sadly - overwhelmed.

Reality requires me to pick and choose from each of the lists above.

As my aunt always told me, "Life is so....daily".

Of course it doesn't have to be a complete wash. My initial reaction is to throw up my hands and find a way to distract myself with things not even on my list - like browsing Facebook to see what my friends are doing, and then playing some Candy Crush because my lives are back and I know I can get through level 32 if I can just get a break. Three stars baby. Can't move on until I have three stars. I avoid Pinterest like the plague because that only leads to more guilt.

But what a waste.
Precious time spent accomplishing nothing spectacular.

If this day is to be done well, I must consider the reality list and do what I can on that one. And then stop and do one thing on the fuzzy list. Maybe two if I am lucky.

Waiting for a sunny day is best for the ceiling. My 47 year old eyes are struggling to see well on darker days. So that can wait until tomorrow. The kitchen shelving is a whole day project. And I don't have shelving paper, so I will wait until I have what I need on that one. The toilet needs to be tended. So that is on the list. I will put away the stuff all over the house and vacuum and dust. Once I finish the toilet I can fold clothes while I watch the old movie. The wash can be done in between all of that. I will worry about the comforter tomorrow. Kitchen curtains will come when I attack the shelving. The bathroom and hallway flooring I will look into tonight when the husband is home. As far as the kids are concerned. They will help me pick up the house and vacuum. Once that is done they are free to play Xbox or whatever thing they want to. If the fighting ensues they will get to help me take care of more things on my list. They are warned. I may be able to paint the frame on the mirror and the bathrooms then. If not - I can do that after Drop-in Bible Study in the morning. While the comforter is washing, I can start my other Reality List. And maybe - my paper mache' project can get done. My new recipe (and entering it into the contest) will serve as supper tonight.

Some of you probably do this every day. As a seat of my pants kind of gal...it is something I have to think about. Intentionality is sadly lacking most days. So this is not for you all...I admire and envy you your organizational skills. This is for those who are like me - good intentioned, yet scattered gals who give in to the desire to be piled up on the couch watching a movie with the kids or drinking coffee with a friend.....and the house to prove it.

But - tonight, when I lay my head on my pillow, I will feel accomplished. And though I am an accomplishment driven person (the list will have things like breaking in tennis shoes and making my bed - just to add to the list and make me feel even more accomplished), I understand that my worth comes from none of these things. Ultimately my worth is a deeper and freeing fact - the foundation of all of the other things. So I will be thanking God that I am a child of his * - that there is nothing I can do to make that happen - it is by his grace and mercy I am his, and fall asleep thanking my Heavenly Father for this day.

It should be a good day. I wish you a good day as well. (smile)
*See side bar



 

 


 


 (July 24, 2013)
This is a post to tell what actually happened with my day yesterday....
 - I called it. It took me all stinkin' day to fix the toilet. It was the only thing I did. I projected peace and pride in accomplishment and got frustration and brokenness. The valve that turned the water on and off to the toilet started leaking as well as the valve that turns the water on and off to the house. I fell apart. Crying and asking God why couldn't he have just made that go a little easier? I thought - if not vocalized a bit of profanity as well. So much for the warm and fuzzy list and the laying the head on my pillow feeling accomplished.

I fell asleep asking God to forgive me for my ugliness and thanking him that it was all ok. The toilet? It's fixed. The valves? They no longer leak. This is a miracle in and of itself. I did not have to call a plumber. The problem is solved by the grace of God and we were saved at least $160 by not having to call the plumber. The world in my head is SO much different than the world in reality. My goals can be so skewed. And my pride is a HUGE and MONSTROUS thing. God knows what I need most. Thank goodness for that. I suppose I will think twice before laying out  my neat and tidy lists and boasting of my ability to control my day by those lists. Great lesson - Thank goodness no matter how ridiculous I can be - I can cling to the fact that I am a child of God and he knows what will make me better. I still have hope that these things will stick with me (smile). Just thought you should know. 



Romans 8:13-1
13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Dark and Lonely Place

Nooooo - I am not talking about my life. I am talking about a book I absentmindedly paid $3 for and decided to read for fun this summer.

I loved the true history about John Ashley and Florida's historical background (especially since we were in that same area just last week- Swamp Bandit  - you should read about it - very interesting). The book started out promising. I liked the mystery and action it promised as well as the historical context - but as I went along I was distracted by something that came up over and over again.

Edna Buchanan's hero and heroine were perfect. It was off-putting. I grew tired of the statuesque Laura who was highly intuitive with raven hair and had a lithe body and down to earth personality. She was not real to me. She seemed cardboard. She wasn't ever scared except of losing her love (John Ashley) and she wasn't even clumsy. She was an expert marksman and kind hearted to all except those who threatened her happiness with the man she loved.

Yuck.

John Ashley was said to be "the golden boy". He was upstanding and brave and good looking. Very successful as a sergeant in the Miami PD and had a wonderfully close hugemongous family that revered him as just about perfect. He was kind to animals and the homeless and did not care that a very rich, very shady lawyer who had politicians in his pocket did not like him because he pulled him over for DUI. He managed to slide through the incident with accolades and merit. But of course it became his undoing when the man showed up on a beach dead. All fingers pointing to John.

And to add to the tedium of perfect people, the rest of it became a massive web of impossible intrigue. Every time I turned the page it got worse and looked less likely to have a happy ending. The book switched between the very interesting and sad life of John Ashley, who was a criminal of circumstance from the 1920's and the present day Ashley family(fictional). I loved the story of the Swamp Bandit. The history of how things were named down in Florida and how the Ashley gang came to be was wonderful. I did my own research and found that it was true. He and Laura had a tragic ending. Very sad - but it was good stuff. But I would groan when it came to the present day John and Laura. I could not wait to get through with it so I could see how it ended and be done with it.

And of course through all of that build up - the close of the book was incredibly simple and ended with no complications or ramifications. Much too easy. Too tidy.

So - my issue with the book: It wasn't that it became tedious to read. It was the characters. I love a story that lets you see the flawed with the good. The two are always intertwined. We all have the ugly and the beautiful in us. We are a mess of contradictions and inconsistencies. It is what makes us interesting.

My mother always scolded me a bit for my distrust of people who seemed "too good". Yes - that is wrong of me - but it always seems to me that if someone seems too good to be true - they are probably hiding something. We all are. I just prefer to pick and choose what naughtiness you get to see. The ones who batten down the hatches make me wonder what kind of bad they have hidden in there. Of course I am kidding - mostly. But I do believe there is a grain of truth to it.

I love the way God made us. Do I want to be better? Of course. Do I want to live in a world where people are loving and kind and seek to serve others before themselves? Absolutely. But for now - we are on a journey toward that.

Perfection gets old real fast. Is this a failing of mine? Maybe. I am not sure. But I am mulling it over.....God will give me the grace I need when I need it to be what he has called me. It is a journey.

If you are going to write a book about people in today's circumstances, keep it real. At least that's how I feel about it - today.

Looking for my next book.


Happy Summer folks -








Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Facts of (a more "mature" - dammit) Life

Yes....I said "dammit"....

I just had my 47th birthday. I don't feel 47...sheesh...what am I saying? I feel 47. My head is perplexed though. It thinks I am 25 still.

I love reading where people talk about loving who they have become and how great it is to be sure of yourself as you get older and such a relief not to worry about looks....I think they call it growing old gracefully.

Well....that ain't happening here.

I am quite cranky these days. And though I have often said I would like to grow old and be like "Ousier" from Steel Magnolia's, I would like it to be when I am in my 60's....or 70's thank you very much.

I have had several things punctuate my older status the last several weeks. As if the looming birthday weren't enough I have suddenly gotten an issue with my legs that I did not pay attention to initially. I thought it would be like when I was younger. I ignored it, it went away.

Yeah....not so much anymore. I ended up with a swollen foot and at the ER having to get an ultrasound. Stupid. So stupid! So - lesson: My body requires attention now. I cannot ignore the little things anymore. Got a problem get it checked....I ain't regenerating like I once was.

Exercise. Ugh. Need I say more? I have got to exercise and lift weights because it doesn't matter how much I run around like a chicken with my head cut off....my body has decided that the muscle must deteriorate at a faster rate than before. Which means that the flabby stuff surrounding what used to be muscle is just that much more noticeable.

Drinking water. The heinous thing about drinking water is I need Depends when I drink it like they say I should. Thirty minutes after drinking a glass -  if I sneeze, I pee my pants. Not lovely. But I need it - now more than ever. Same thing with calcium. My bones are leaching it these days. So I need it to keep them strong. And dairy gives me indigestion.

The sun. Not such a friend anymore - and yet I need it to cover up all of the stinking spider veins that are popping up all over the place. Self tanners just don't do it. I cannot stand the way they smell....so I am at a constant quandary over exposing myself to the sun and making the wrinkles more pronounced or smelling like a science experiment.

Lastly - sleep. I cannot do without it. If I only get five hours, I am done for. The whole next day is a wash. I cannot do without sleep. I can't remember my name without sleep.


I am ready and willing to be happy about getting older....I just need a way to make it easier.

If anyone has any suggestions - let me know.

Please. I'm begging you.


P.S. After posting...I was thinking about my plight and though most of this is tongue in cheek and just good natured griping over my body's changes and the passage of time - it is also a reminder as to why we look on the things that are unseen....
 
 
2 Corinthians 4:13 - 18
 
.....Since we have that same spirit of  faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Monday, July 8, 2013

It's a process....

This last two weeks has been crazy busy. Exhausting. And painful. And convicting. And fun....

I am living. I am very aware of that.

Some life lessons have been underlined for me these last couple of weeks. I am one of the most hard headed people I know. I pray I learn this soon - if I haven't already.


DO WHAT GOD CONVICTS YOU TO DO. Don't put it off. Do it when he puts it in your head. Fast action is his way of keeping you afloat. Putting it off is Satan's way of bogging you down. I have put off God's calling to me time and again. I always have reasons I think he should fix for me before I do it. I think I have it backwards....maybe I should do what he asks first, and he'll help me fix the other things.


GOT A PROBLEM - DEAL WITH IT. I have had some health issues I have put off and put off again. It could have been easily remedied a LONG time ago but I put off going to the doctor. I hate the time I have to wait for doctors. Hoping it will go away doesn't always work. Some things just get worse. Playing ostrich and burying my head in the sand gets me no where. As a matter of fact, it slows me down. For my family - for myself I will do better.


DO NOT CARRY BAGGAGE. This one is hardest for me. I am a people pleaser. My people pleasing tendencies make me feel better about myself. But I cannot please everyone. I CANNOT. So I find myself in a funk for days once I have let someone down. I need to learn to prioritize. Stop when I can to help and not worry when I cannot. God will provide. I am not the Savior. Of course I know this. But sometimes I act like folks can't do without me. I find myself at a loss to think that someone else can do without me....but overall it is freeing. Walk on sister.

 Becoming more mature is painful at times....but it also gives much happiness. It's a process. One that should make us all better and better if we LEARN OUR LESSONS.


                                                   

Thanks for listening.....