Saturday, December 27, 2014

It's a Mystery....

One of my favorite oft repeated phrases in the movie Shakespeare in Love is "I don't know, it's a mystery"....




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUUlkpSOIcg


I can't get it to embed - but I love Geoffrey Rush's character, Henslowe. His continued faith in the seemingly impossible is inspiring. I need inspiring.


I keep finding myself at a crossroads. I become inspired and give things a weak start and fizzle. Repeatedly. But I know I need to try. But I continue to detour to something easier... less rewarding and more frustrating, only to find myself back at the place I have been so many times.


I am pretty sure it is because I am afraid of failing.


What a weenie I am.


This morning, I picked up my One Year Women in Christian History Devotional I got from my husband for Christmas. For December 27th it was about Tamar. Oh my. Have you read Genesis 38 before? I read it three times trying to wrap my head around it. Seriously - it's bizarre. And yet - it is an amazing representation of the phrase "it's a mystery".


Tamar was married to Er, who died. Because of then current customs, was made to marry his brother, Onan. Any children Tamar and Onan would have would be considered heirs of Er. Yeah. I said that. So Onan refused his seed to Tamar. You have to read it I cannot repeat it. Onan dies. Judah asks Tamar to sit tight and wait for his youngest to grow up so she can have a child by him. But then it doesn't happen so Tamar takes matters into her own hands. She covers herself and sits where prostitutes do - somewhere about the gates, and snares Judah - asking him for his signet ring and such until he brings her payment. She leaves with the proof before he gets back. Later when she is pregnant with her father-in-law's child, she is accused of adultery and Judah wants to burn her for her sin. HA! She brings out his signet ring and low and behold his anger quickly ebbs and she delivers his baby. Yuck.


How convoluted is that?


But how convoluted is life?


What I love about that story (because I can always find a bright side - at least when I am not in my depressive mode) is that God used the situation in all of it's ickiness. His son Jesus was born from the line of Judah.


Amazing.


Redemptive.


Inspiring.


So - after years of finding my own way around my fear of failure, can I use this to inspire and cause myself to actually act on my desires to live by my art? I am scared. Because I am pretty sure failure will destroy me. But - what if? What if I give it a shot and it works? What if I am able to use what I see as gifts to help in the ways I have always wanted?


Glorious.


What if I do fail and I am at my lowest point ever?


Grace.


God is gracious. I will hitch up my britches and my idea of greatness will finally be dependent upon my heavenly Father. I have not tried because I know I am not great and I know I will see it and that scares me. But my Heavenly Father is great. And I must put wheels to this faith....no matter where it leads.


I mean - if a baby born of a virgin who was born to save the world from it's sin all from the line of Judah and that crazy story in Genesis 38....anything is possible.


Love.


Love.


Love.










Monday, October 13, 2014

Where do I run?

I will be the first one to tell you that I have been a little put out with Facebook and Pinterest, and assorted blogs....


We are WAY too aware of ourselves....and we think we are WAY too important. And WAY too clever....and that our opinion is worth something.


I know. I am the same exact way.


I do believe that there has been a bit of a maturing process for me in the last few years though.
I think...I HOPE....


I have come to my blog proclaiming my irritation with trying to keep up with all of the folks that proclaim their greatness via various venues (love that alliteration). But I must say I was one of those people. Back in the day...2 maybe three years ago...and would have been prior to that had I all of the social media available to me then. I was a pro at it all...breast feeding, disciplining, balanced diets for 3 babies 3 and under....I had it under control. And I would tell you so.


But it was all I did. I did not have to publish this stuff. I did not have to post pictures of what all we were doing. I wore the baby puke like a brooch. But I was kind of old when I had the babies. I was ready to stay at home and waller in my babies and whatever they produced. I learned fast that my world was no longer mine - but theirs. And I was okay with it. I loved it. I was thankful for it. I knew my limits. Trying to do choir and music team at church proved too much for me even. So I hunkered down and enjoyed the ride. But baby - had I the means - I would have proclaimed to you how good I was at what I did.






I thought things would get even easier as the boys got older. Not really easier - actually a little harder.  I have young people. What I have found is that tweenies and teens prior to driving, have social lives and school requirements that keep me on the road and with my hands full pretty much every day. Plus I started working full time knowing that in a few short years they would be in college and the activities that are preparing them for college can be expensive...especially when you have three about the same age. AND I am dealing with hormones - mine leaving me and their's ramping up. I have to work HARD at saying NO so that I can be home to take care of my husband and my home - and stay somewhat organized. There are days I am swamped with my expectations and their expectations and other's expectations and I panic. I am overwhelmed and I run.


Where I run is either my salvation or my undoing.


If I run to the television, or my books or social media....I find I am only putting off the inevitable break down that will leave me in the bed for a weekend. Honest truth.


But when I run to my heavenly father, I find rest and peace.


I have found that thanking God in the midst of my over-whelm-ed-ness....seems to pull my act together...knots the frayed ends and draws my scattered vision upward. In sitting on my couch being still after reading his Word I find rest. I am encouraged and my tank is filled. By lifting my voice to God I am pulled together and made whole again...


What is it we expect? I think back before all of the social media expectations were a lot less than they are now. There was a simplicity to the job of "mom" and "wife". Mainly because we were the ones that defined it for ourselves. I did not feel the pressure I do now.


I will be the first one to tell you that I do not do it right. I just do it by the grace of God....and I can trust that it is sufficient. That is just pure wisdom given by God. I am not all that and a bag of chips. But I can do this - through Christ who strengthens me. So very thankful.


Matthew 11:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”



But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.



Monday, October 6, 2014

It is not all up to me...

It's too much....




We live in an incredibly tough time. Between Facebook and all of the status updates on how much other's are doing and how well they are doing we make it hard to live a simple life. And then we have Pinterest to make us feel like we are just not doing it well enough - ever. But we keep going back and looking.... 


We want to measure up....It is poo. But it is still true.


I generally thumb my nose at these things - I have become quite good at setting a low standard for my fellow moms.


Who am I kidding. I SAY that. But I work hard at making it seem like I don't care.


Truly - when I am being honest I will tell you that my heart longs to be all things to all people. I grieve that I cannot be what other's need me to be. It is true.


It is a waste of my energy though. And it is a desire that is born out of my own need to be important, to please people to appease my neediness.


I can feel this little rubber band that pulls tighter and tighter with every post I read, with every new recipe and idea that is presented to me and there are days when that rubber band snaps. It hurts like hell realizing that a lot of what I do is for naught. That I just can't do it.


I can tell you now that I know of no way to fix it - permanently anyway.


I am not an organized person. I am not a high energy person.


There is only one thing I can claim that makes my desires and all my loose ends settle...


Knowing that in spite of my imperfections - that I am a child of God. He knows me inside and out and though I hurt him repeatedly with my bad choices and consistent pushing aside of his voice - he pursues me relentlessly. It always comes back to him. Always. I am amazed and gratified at this knowledge...I am loved in spite of myself.


Matthew 6:  33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


This is all I am required to do. The rest will be added. Today I am walking in this knowledge.


I am thankful that it is not all up to me.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cream Brûlée and Jell-O

I have been pondering things this morning. Perfection verses imperfection. I see myself sort of as the Julia Roberts character in My Best Friends Wedding. I wish I could say because of my hair or my long legs or beautiful face but no, that's not it. It is all the asinine decisions she makes.

I see myself as Jell-O.



I have a love-hate thing about this movie. I hate it, because I wanted Julianne to get the guy (I mean really who wouldn't want to get Dermont Mulroney?). But I loved that the movie didn't let her. Kimmy was - well - let's just look at this quote:

"She's annoyingly perfect and when I say that I mean there is nothing annoying about her perfection, it is vulnerable and endearing, and THAT is annoying as shit. If I didn't hate her I'd adore her."

Kimmy was willing to be so open. And she was kind. Truly kind. Of course she didn't like that Julianne was so close to Michael, and rightfully so. But for Michael's sake, she was going to overlook the past relationship and accept her as a part of Michael's life. Let's not get into how dangerous that could be down the road - but look at her heart. She was everything that quote says and it is absolutely annoying as shit (sorry -I had to borrow from the quote :P).

I have always been the rumpled, creative, seat of my pants kind of girl. I live and die by my emotions and feelings and it gets me into so much trouble. So while I am rooting for Julianne and totally get where she is coming from, she breaks my heart, because I see myself in her. Pursue what you want to the death. Thank goodness for her she did not get what she set out to get. She would have been miserable. Getting what you want is not always a good thing.

The movie actually has a happy ending.

Towards the end there is a scene that shows Julianne toasting Michael and Kimmy.



Heart breaking and such a perfect ending.

And right.

Bittersweet. And to me, that is what makes it so yummy.

Lately I have had an urge to let everyone know that I know I am a complete doofus most of the time. I want them to know that it is not something I am totally unaware of. I want to sit down and write a story about my life...about every stupid thing I did and how sorry I am for it. When I look back at all of the things I have done - whether good intentions gone wrong or just me being mule-headed and going for it in spite of it all...I have many regrets....things I wish I would have done differently. My poor parents...they are exhausted because of all my shenanigans.

But....

Regardless of what has happened in the past, I hope those that know me understand, that I will work to love every moment of my life - both good and bad, because it has brought me here. I am blessed beyond belief. This morning anyway - I think I understand how blessed I am. I see how my parents love me beyond well. Every spot on my carpet that drives me insane most days  - well today - they are a reminder of three precious boys that are growing much too fast. The crowded garage that I mean to organize and all the furniture I mean to refinish in it - are a reminder of how much we have and how God has blessed me with a husband that provides for me and loves me in spite of me. And  I feel I am the best version of myself so far. Today. (I will feel differently tomorrow - thank goodness for the occasional "todays"). And God willing it will only get better as he completes his work in me. I pin my hopes on this verse.

Philippians 1:6 
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Thankfully - most people do not think near as much about me as I think about myself. I have had so many awkward moments, the majority of my life could be a cautionary tale - but how wonderful to realize that I have such riches in spite of it all.

Life is not like a movie. Not nearly as neat. But I have hope for the future so I can get through today - with grace and love for others. It is more than so many have. I have hope that GOD will bring others to the same place, regardless of their situation.

Contentment. Thankful for it today.







Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We can't all be right....we just can't.

Christians struggle with how others see them. Anyone who understands who Jesus is and what he did and why he did it would understand that he came to bring life, and to make it more abundant. Loving your neighbor as yourself is just one of the things  he calls us to do, but he EMPHASIZES it.

Now when I saw the pic of the girl in front of Hobby Lobby holding a Chick-fil-A cup and wearing a pro life shirt, I giggled. I can only imagine the reaction of some to this picture. Then she came back and posted a pic of herself in front of the flag holding a gun and a Bible. The thing is - that does not necessarily make her a Christian. Her goal was a reaction...and she got it. I say she handled it exactly as she should have...she understands the extreme reactions that occur...hopefully on both sides of the partisan line. And she was using it to make a fuss. And it worked. (smile)

What has burdened me most about these memes...both the ones that reflect conservative beliefs as well as the ones that reflect liberal beliefs is the lack of concern and lack of  human feeling that is behind them. There is a type of respect we seem to have forgotten in our radical grip on what we see as "right". We have forgotten that there is a dignity and basic concern we should show to each other when it comes to what we hold near and dear. We cannot keep our mouths shut when it comes to having to listen to someone who believes differently than us. I have seen people attack and be bitterly offensive in their defense of their own philosophies. There is no need for that. There is no need to be mean, to belittle, to offend others by a knee jerk reaction to their idea of what is right. Just because they believe it does not mean it is so. BUT  - by listening and being respectful, who knows? We might find a grain of truth that leads us to more of a balanced place.

What has made my heart heavy the most is that both sides think the other is evil. And that is just not so. There are good hearts and fine people behind even the most bewildering of beliefs. Do I always agree with them? No. Do I have to belittle or make them feel small because I think I am right and that they are wrong? No. I do not. I want America to stay free. I want you to be able to worship the way you want. I want to continue to worship the way I want. I want to be able to express ideas that may differ from yours and I want you to be able to express yours as well.

What kills me is we act as if we want to deny others the consideration of free thought and worship, all because we want to be - right - the one who gets it, the one who truly understands how things should be. But we all have this desire and we all are a little different. And there cannot be one idea that is considered any more important or worth less than our own. Or we risk the loss of this valuable right.

What I call others to do is to find respect, if not for the person, then for that person's freedom to express themselves. Do I think it was right for the person who compared Holly Hobby up there to Reem Riyasha the Hamas jihadist? No. I think it was mean spirited and way off base, but it was their right. I shrug my shoulders and move on. Quite frankly I think Holly Hobby was a little less than classy to do hers as well. It made me laugh a little, because - dang - those things do seem to set folks off.

My goal here...is not to try to smooth things over. Being different is no big deal. Being kind, respectful and considerate of those no matter what they believe - is. Our country seems to be imploding sometimes and it is seems it might be because we all think we are right....

and that cannot be right.

Balance people...find it.

.....and find the gumption to protect freedom. Not to protect your own ideas. They are not always as important as you think they are.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Broken (selfish motives)

I have been away almost 6 months. Actually I have been here...I just haven't been HERE.

Actually that is not true I have started countless ponderances (that's MY word - I don't care if it is right or wrong..) and would find myself dangling at the end....like I wanted a neat tidy little package and couldn't find it so I left it to - well - sit in the void that is my draft folder. Bless them all. Maybe one day I will go back and see if there is a rational - or not so rational - conclusion I have come to about whatever it was I was thinking that day...

But today, I read an article about Mike Rowe going into a liquor store. Supposedly. Who knows if it's true or not? But there was a picture on the wall of a man that had stolen from the owner. Mike Rowe approved and told him so and got into a conversation with a couple of other patrons, one being a lawyer. The lawyer admitted that he would sue if he thought he could get money from it. Even though the guy was guilty of stealing from the man - it was on tape for Pete's sake. He also said if Mike Rowe posted the pictures he would go after him because famous people were fun to sue...they normally would settle. Really. What a slime ball. [ Since I read the article from another source I found Mike Rowe posted it to his Facebook page HERE You can read about it yourself. :) ]

My husband and I were talking last night. He said in a law class he took, that a family got sued because of something that happened when they were on vacation. Someone climbed over their fence that said, "NO TRESPASSING", used their pool without permission and drowned. And the people suing won. What the what? How did this get into court?

I think our legal system is broken. Lawyers who are after money and not justice, judges who are after the same. People who are on the jury who think they might one day be able to do the same thing and get money.  I have the same problem with the media. And the government. The bottom line is money; Money to continue our selfish pursuits.

There is no true north for people anymore, except for themselves. If it serves them then it doesn't matter about anyone else. And so the world will fall victim to it's own narcissistic whims. I like a straight shooter. I would much rather you give me the ugly on yourself. I will probably like you more. The more you set yourself up as "wonderful" the less I believe you. Let your actions speak for themselves. This is from someone who has learned the hard way that selfishness is a pit of despair.

I know we all have good and bad in us. But "REAL" is what I want to see. (As an aside, I read this: "The world has enough women who live a masked insecurity. It needs more women who live a brave vulnerability." from HERE the other day - LOVE IT) Unfortunately, most people are finding their worth in Facebook "likes" (I am not unaffected by these) and approval of others. I am a people pleaser...probably why I hate it so much. It feels like I am bound by it at times. So how to get to the bottom of it? Ask myself what are my intentions. If there is love for others in there somewhere (because honestly - my intentions will probably never be pure until I am in Heaven with Jesus) then I shall proceed. If there is resentment because I feel I have to, if there is avarice because I feel like it will get me somewhere - then I shall TRY to avoid doing it. Sometimes we have to do things even with rotten motives - but if I can at least KNOW that my actions are coming from a wrong motive - maybe I can salvage it somehow by working hard to be kind and not be an @hole when things don't turn out the way I want. One can hope anyway.

I can't even make any promises there. God willing through prayer and reading The Bible - I will see purer motives eventually. Can I expect this of others? Not really. And I will do my best not to judge. But if I can do it and maybe get others to seriously question their motives too, then maybe one by one we will all get to the point where we live to serve others before ourselves...just as Jesus gave us by example. Then we will see a government that works as it should, a justice system that serves justice rightly and a world that is a little bit more like it was meant to be when it was perfect.

Selfishness is the basis of almost every heinous act. I will have to meditate on this more...but I wholeheartedly believe that looking to others before yourself will solve so many problems. "Looking out for number one" is stomach turning. Trust God to look out for you...

Matthew 22:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(these things meaning the necessities of life (see 25 - 32)