Thursday, May 29, 2014

This Could Really Be A Good Life

I looked at my phone this morning, which contains everything I need to do life. Seriously. I would have no idea what to do with my day, what to buy at the grocery store, or remember anything if it weren't for my phone. I don't know what I did before The Phone. I probably looked up once in a while ;)

google images

Anyway, I put reminders in my phone all the time to go off at a certain time, reminding me to do things like take meat out of the freezer or to bring tissues to my daughter's promotion ceremony. This morning I needed to remember to send a towel and a bottle of water with my son to school this morning, but I didn't hear the phone chirp, and I forgot. And when I finally remembered that I had forgotten (only by checking my phone and seeing the friendly reminder), the bus and my son were long gone.

I chided myself for forgetting and then started complaining in my head about myself.

How when I look around this house I feel like a crappy housekeeper.

How when my kids fight and sassy-mouth me, I feel like a crappy mom.

How when I can't remember something as simple as a towel and a water bottle, I just feel crappy about life in general.

I have no shortage of things to complain about. I am the type of person that usually sees the glass as half empty, and it takes a lot of energy to turn my thoughts around. Maybe I'm just a negative person by nature, maybe it was the way I was brought up (which would be an interesting study in the whole nature versus nurture thing). But if I don't have anything immediate to complain about, I can usually start making things up in my head. I know, it's a little weird that I would do that, but I do.

As I was heading home from dropping off the towel and the water bottle at school, the lyrics to the song on the radio caught my attention.

We all got our stories but please tell me 
what there is to complain about.
{good life, one republic}

The things that I  frequently complain about are pretty superficial. Like the fact that my manicure is chipping when she promised it would stay a little longer than normal nail polish. Or the weather. Or a mess in someone's room (not mine, obviously).

That song really made me think. What is there to complain about? Because even though there is plenty of negative in life, there is a ton of positive, too. And choosing to rejoice in the positive rather than dwell on the negative can bring about a huge change in perspective.

This really could be a good, good life.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

You Are Beautiful

For we are God's handiwork, 
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
{ephesians 2:10}

I just walked in the house after being outside for a few precious moments, enjoying the sun's ascent into the sky before it gets too hot and my day gets too busy.

Photo

I know that God's work is everywhere, but sometimes I don't see it through my hurried, anxious, what's-next and what-if state. But when I went outside this  morning, I was stunned once again at the masterpiece He has created in the world around me.

I love artwork, especially pieces from the Renaissance time period. Pieces from artists like Mary Cassatt and Renoir (I googled an image search of these two and included the links, so just be prepared for what you might find that has nothing to do with Cassatt or Renoir) absolutely take my breath away with their beauty and elegance, but nothing can compare to a beautiful sunrise or the mountains on a hazy day.

Everything, from a delicate rose to a jagged mountain to a baby's laugh, has the thumbprint of God firmly stamped on it.

This includes me and you, too.

God's ultimate masterpiece wasn't Earth itself, as exquisite as it is. It was us. You and me. We were made beautiful, bearing His image.

So God created mankind in His own image, 
in the image of God He created them;
male and female He created them.
{genesis 1:26-28}

To look in the mirror and criticize yourself, to compare yourself to what you see in a magazine or on TV, to hate yourself for what you are and what you look like...to think otherwise is a mistake.

From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
{psalm 50:2}


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Story of My Life

What do they have to do with this post?
Absolutely nothing at all.

Hey! Do you have that One Direction song stuck in your head now?

I hope your Memorial Day was a nice break from the daily monotony of life.

What did you do?

So my kiddos were in school yesterday (yes, I know--it's not even right) due to missed school days way back when the even just the threat of snow would cause our schools to close down for the day. Too many of those, and a Memorial Day make-up day is what you get. But that's okay, because my husband and I got to spend THE ENTIRE DAY together, which is a rare occurrence. I didn't have to teach and he didn't have to work, and it worked out perfectly.

I didn't get anything done that I needed to, but it was so nice to have the whole day to do whatever we wanted. So I convinced him to take a walk with me, we went to Lowe's and to the nursery for some plants, and then we ate lunch together. It may not sound perfect, but what is perfect, really?

It's all in what you make it.

I'm reading a book by Andy Stanley called Your Move. It's all about making choices and what goes into the decisions we must make.

What do you want your story to tell?

Not 10, or 30, or 50 years from now, even though it's important to think about the future in those terms, but what do you want your story to say tomorrow?

My daughter really wanted to go to the field the other day to practice with her brother and his team. It's not very often that she wants to do these things, and I tried to encourage her, but I could tell she was holding back. I asked her why she was hesitant, and she answered that she knew the boys probably wouldn't want her to come to their practice. And she may have been right. Who knows what the boys would have thought had she shown up. But the point at the moment wasn't what they thought, it was that she was basing her decision on what someone else might think about it.

So I asked her the same question I learned the prior week from Andy Stanley: What do you want your story to say? That you wouldn't go to the field because you were scared of what other people might think or say? Or that you were brave and went anyway, fully prepared for the possibility that you wouldn't be able to do what you planned--but that you went anyway?

It's not often that I've thought through my decisions with that light shining on them. Many of the choices I've made have been made under what I perceived as the scrutiny of other people. I was more afraid of what they might say or do than of what was the right path for me, and because of that, I've felt very unsteady, like grass waving in the wind. Even realizing that God does have a plan for me couldn't keep me from making decisions based on what other people thought.

But every time I repeat that phrase to one of my children, I'm repeating it to myself as well. What kind of story do I want to tell?  One that I wrote, or one written by someone else (or a bunch of someone elses) who doesn't really know me at all?

So no, maybe a day eating lunch at home and going to Lowes doesn't sound like the perfect way to spend a day with your spouse, and you'd probably have come up with a little more exciting plan than we did, but the thing is, we decided. We did it. And we had a good day.

We wrote our own story yesterday.

What does yours say?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Love is a war

I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

You know how you feel when everyone else is in a great mood and you feel like you're faking it.

It helped that my husband stayed behind a few extra minutes so we could catch up.

Yes. I said catch up. Because there are times in life when that's what you really need to do, even with your spouse. Catch up. Reintroduce yourselves to one another. Have a chat.

I asked my friend the other day if she remembers what she did BK. (Before Kids). Because it's kind of foggy for me. What we did with all of our time I can't even begin to explain to you. What I do know is this:

1) I got off of work at 5 and was home by 5:30.
2) I only had to work one Saturday a month and no Sundays.
3) I thought I had the busiest schedule on the planet.


Obviously, I was a tad self-centric (not the same as self-centered, according to urban dictionary, since a self-centric person isn't full of themselves. They just simply believe that the world revolves around him/her. And I wonder where my kids get it from), since I didn't stop to realize that there were clearly people who had much busier lives than I.

BK, my husband and I had plenty of time to get acquainted and stay acquainted. We did things together. We ate dinner together. We did yard work (blech)--together. We took walks together and talked about the kids we would have and how they would behave in a world where no one makes their kids behave and they would never cry in the grocery store, either.

AK (After Kids) I had to eat every single word I ever claimed. Judger becomes the Judgee. My kids threw fits in Kroger. They smelled up Target with their dirty diapers. And they talk back with their sassy mouths. In. Public. My husband and I quickly had to learn what it truly means to DIVIDE and CONQUER.

So we're divided.

We haven't gotten the conquering thing down quite yet.

The divided part is hard. I don't like it so much. Sometimes I look back to the days BK and think how nice it was to have a full, uninterrupted, non-coded conversation.

Sometimes, the division can become so large that when you turn around to find each other, it's like you're looking over the Grand Canyon. You might even squint and wave, hoping the person on the other side will recognize you. And you wonder to yourself how this ever happened.

It must be the kids fault. ;)

It's overwhelming, the responsibility of being married and raising a family. Sometimes I think it's asking for more than I can give. But these are choices I've taken an active role in being a part of, and giving up and giving in aren't part of the equation.

With every new day there comes a new start, and with every new start, there comes the promise of change. We can start to close that Grand Canyon gap by doing one thing that lets our spouse know that he or she is a priority.

Like holding hands in the car.

Like sending a "thinking of you" text.

Like giving a hug in the hallway instead of just passing by.

Like staying behind after the kids get on the bus for a few extra minutes.

__________________________________________________________
Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.
 Love is a battle, love is a war;
 love is a growing up.
{james a. baldwin}

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ride On

This says L-O-V-E to me.

I've always loved animals. Especially horses.

See, I could get down on their level. Really identify with the animals.

One time, I even tried to save a little blind mole from an unfortunate, and ultimately fatal, encounter with one of our cats.

I lost. (I'm scarred from that one.)

I grew up riding horses. (I use the term "grew up" loosely, because I didn't actually have horses, my grandparents did. So I spent a lot of time around them. Plus, I took riding lessons for years. And even though I just spent the last 30 minutes of my time looking through old pictures, I cannot seem to find a single one of me on a horse, but I know they exist. Honestly.)



So I was super excited to get a Groupon for a local stable that offers trail rides on rescue horses. I'll go whenever I get the chance, which is somewhere around once or twice a year. (Someone, please let me come riding with you. You won't regret it. I promise.)

Guess who my lucky riding partner was?

My daughter.

Guess who was only marginally excited about going on a trail ride with her mother?

My daughter.

I walked into the stable on Sunday, a mix of sawdust, hay and horse filling my nose. I breathed deep. I belong here.

She, on the other hand, walked in, took one look around, and said quietly to me, "I'm not going."

Um. It took us an hour to get here, and I'm not just going to turn around and leave.

I was convinced that she would get on that horse and be just fine.

Fear.

It was written all over that poor girls face. She would not even touch the animals. So when I got on my horse (Jake), I was actually kind of afraid that we would have to leave her behind. I weighed the choices in my head. Give in to fear, get off my horse, and leave. Or, terrify the girl, make her get on, and have a miserable time. Or, stay on my horse, go on my trail ride, and leave her in the barn with a bunch of (nice) people she didn't know.

Hm.

The mom and daughter team who own the barn and the rescue horses needed to get the trail ride going, as they had them scheduled on the hour every hour on Sunday. Our ride was scheduled at 2. And by 3:00, my daughter was still refusing to get on that horse, so the mom and daughter said to leave her and they would take care of her.

It felt very weird to just leave her in a situation I knew she wasn't comfortable with with people she didn't know. But I had a decision to make, and I went with it.

I saw her standing by the barn in the distance, easily identifiable in her bright pink jacket, riding helmet still on her head.

Had she been standing there the whole time?

"I got on the horse, mom!"

No words needed. She did it!

Fear. It can paralyze us, assuring our hearts that we aren't strong enough. It keeps us company when we are lonely and beats us up when we are feeling low.

What makes you scared?

You are stronger than you think.



Monday, May 19, 2014

Our House

At our house, unless mom is on our tail 24/7, we do not clean. Like, ever.





The shoes on the table really add a certain touch.

At our house, sharing is a concept we refuse to embrace. Especially when it comes to half-eaten bowls of microwavable popcorn, because that is serious business right there.



At our house, we hide chocolate chips in really weird locations because some people absolutely cannot keep their grubby fingers out of the chocolate chips that are meant to be used for baking.



At our house, we eat breakfast in the office. And it's weird breakfast, too, because mom is on a weird breakfast diet kick.




At our house, we leave half-eaten waffles on the dining room table because we sleep through our alarm and only get up 10 minutes before the bus comes.



At our house, we cover Medjool dates in chocolate and call it dessert.

So I got lazy and just spread the dates in the pan, then covered it with the chocolate. Then tried to cut it. Not pretty, but tasty indeed.

At our house, we mix peanut butter with honey, add in some flax and chocolate chips, and call that dessert, too.


(At our house, I still look at the word "balls" and giggle to myself because I am thirteen years old.)



At our house, we keep 6 foot tall ceiling fans, blades propped up on boxes, in the living room. The stroller adds a certain j'ne sais pas. (For Sale, by the way.)



"...But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
{joshua 24:16}

Friday, May 16, 2014

Wash. Rinse. Dry. Repeat.

Wash.
Rinse.
Dry.

Repeat.

I looked around my kitchen this morning and was decidedly spiritless about the prospect of cleaning it yet again, with it's sticky syrup from this morning's waffle breakfast still on the counters as well as last night's quinoa still sticking to the side of the unwashed pan.

I wrinkled my nose at the mess and turned toward another room, only to discover more chores waiting for me, taunting me with the monotony they represented.

I'm not the adventurous kind by any stretch of the imagination. You'll never catch me with a yearning to jump out of an airplane or to go bungee jumping. I value my life, my limbs, and my sanity too much. But sometimes, on a day like today, I could do with a little excitement.

FYI: From my own experience, when you go looking for just a little excitement is when trouble starts brewing. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking otherwise.

And I don't want no trouble.

So I look back at the messy house with it's messy kitchen and messy dishes (and I'm not even going to go into a certain girl's messy closet. She got frustrated with her lack of clothing yesterday and emptied all her drawers right onto the closet floor, and now you can't step in there. It looks like the closet threw up.) and try to put into play what I've been taught: to have a thankful heart beyond what may seem like boring, frightening, or problematic circumstances.  To reach out to God despite what may seem like a headache and offer up my thanks anyway. It's a sacrifice for me because I don't want to do it. I actually just want to complain about it, to wish it away, to be done with it. So to be thankful in the face of something that is contrary to what I'd normally be thankful for is a sacrifice for me.

Maybe it is for you, too.

Obviously, a few boring chores doesn't even come close to some of the stuff you might be dealing with.

But a thankful heart can apply in any and every situation, regardless.

______________________________________________________
Gratitude enables you to see the light of My Presence 
shining on all your circumstances. 
Cultivate a thankful heart, 
for this glorifies Me and fills you with joy.
{Sarah Young, Jesus Calling}

In the wayward socks on the floor, the forgotten binders, the half-way cleaned up baking experiment, the messy kitchen, and the closet that threw up clothes all over the place.

Why? Because as annoying and boring as the day-to-day tasks may be, they represent my life and the people in my life that I love. And that I'm very, very thankful for. (Despite the clear lack of responsibility. We need to work on this.)

______________________________________________________________
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. 
{psalm 69:30}

Maybe it's not obvious in the moment, but there is beauty in the mundane.

_______________________________________________________
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.
{2 corinthians 4:15}

Thursday, May 15, 2014

attitude transformation

She came down this morning, scowl on her pretty face.

"I. Don't. Have. ANYTHING. To. Wear."

I inwardly rolled my eyes and gave her a few suggestions.

None of them made the final cut.

Whatever.

Oh, how I wish she could see that the world is bigger than the outfit you choose to wear or how your hair looks on any given day.

I envisioned a mission trip to...to...to anywhere but here, proving to her once and for all that life isn't about how you look.

But with my own security still tied up daily in how I look, the lesson would be as much for me as it would be for her.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, they say.

I guess "they" are right.

I have such pale skin. It's been an annoyance to me since I realized that tan skin is what you want, and pale skin is what I got. Add to it that the veins beneath my skin are particularly blue, and are starting to stick out in a most unappealing and appalling fashion, and you have what I like to call ugly.

Just ugly.

And cain't nobody argue that one.

Who wants varicose veins when they haven't even hit the ripe old age of 40 yet???

Not I.

I tried to get them worked on, and instead of making them better, that doctor made them much, much worse.

I wish I'd never gone to that guy. I still give him the side-eye when I see his stupid ads on stupid billboards and the stupid tv.

I might be a touch resentful over that one.

Never mind the fact that my husband asked me to get a second opinion. I should have followed his advice and not the doctor's.

I'm still mad about it. And the fact that my ugly veins are bulging from my ugly legs.

It's enough to make me cry, just like my daughter did this morning over her clothes. When I rolled my eyes at her. And told her that she could certainly find another outfit that worked.

She was mad about it, oh yes she was.

Just like me?

Just. Like. Me.

Veins and clothes are not the same thing, I keep telling myself.

Because one is permanent.

So I've voiced my complaint to God every single day since I termed my legs ugly, hoping and wishing and praying that He will heal the veins. I know He can. I know He hears me.

So far, they look the same.

I wonder if God just looks at me, asking the same question I ask my daughter: when will you realize that the world is bigger than how you look?

I'm aware of the extreme need in the world, although not as aware as perhaps I should be. I listen to the news and see the pictures of people who could probably care less if their veins are blue or purple or green. They need food, clean water, and an end to violence that threatens them every day.

Yet I still choose to focus on my legs.

It makes me unhappy. It really does. I compare with other people's vein-less legs. I compare with pictures in magazines. I compare with Jennifer Lopez every single time she walks out onto that American Idol stage in a very short skirt (and then I wonder how she gets so close to the edge of the stage, because can't people below see all her goodies?).

Pretty soon I forget all about the world. And all the focus is on me, me, me, me, me.

I'll share something I'm not too proud of: It's a daily struggle for me to not think about me and only me. It is. I think I know what's best for me, and how to achieve it. But after a while of all that thinking about just me, it can start to make me feel a little sick in the head, and I start to get a little bitter and resentful because nothing is good enough.

I have mistakenly believed I must fill my mind with thoughts of myself-my dreams, hurts, improvements, happiness. But too much thinking has left me unhealthy. It's time to live stronger than this. {angela thomas, stronger}

I think I need an attitude transformation.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind...For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
{romans 12:2-3}

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

freedom

I sit here, tea in hand, listening to the timer on the microwave beep, letting my kids know it's time to go outside to play in the sprinkler.

Freedom at last!

The battle cry of their hearts.

They want freedom. Long for it.

They could taste the sweetness of freedom. If it wasn't for me, my daughter reminds me.

Me. The Nefarious Parent. The one who holds them back, keeps them bound, reminds them of chores and then makes them do the chores. The one who makes the rules and enforces them, who expects honesty and integrity and respect and good manners. And don't forget about responsibility, courtesy and decency.

The one who checks behind them to make sure homework is done right. Who checks out friends. Who reads texts and emails and notes. Who is friends with the teachers and the principal, and who is okay with discipline at school when they get in trouble.

Me.

I tested my kids today. Gave them the opportunity to be responsible and follow the rules all on their own, without me hovering over them.

Guess what?

They failed.

Not miserably, but they still failed. Rules were broken. Friends were sent home.

And one unhappy boy sent himself to the mudroom closet for a self-imposed time-out. (Actually, he says he was bored, but I think it sounds better to say he gave himself a time-out, which is essentially what it was.;))

They knew they were in trouble. They didn't even argue or put up a fight. Voices remained even, calm.

It was freedom in the making. But they don't know that, at least not yet. They're still being shaped and molded, still being taught and coached and educated.

But one day they will realize that there is freedom in the discipline, independence in the rules.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 
Stand firm, then, 
and do not let yourselves 
be burdened again by 
a yoke of slavery.
{galatians 5:1}

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Drama

Oh, the drama.

Save the drama for your mama.

Or is it llama?

I don't know, but I sure do get drawn in.

We are a world of drama. I think we look for it.

So I clicked on it.

"Is Beyonce's Instagram Post about Solange?"

And immediately (well, after the annoying ad for e*surance), E! news came on to let me know about the speculation of said instagram post.

Did I tell you my volume control on my computer doesn't work? Everything I watch is like a silent film. So, no, I can't tell you if the post was or was not about Solange.

I can tell you that both those girls have issues (in my own profession opinion, of course), and so do we, for hanging on their every word.

With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.
{proverbs 7:21}

Save the drama for somebody else.

Friday, May 9, 2014

tell me--am i good enough?

There is a small (the "small" part might be a lie) part of me that wants a huge following.

In bible study. In blogging. In teaching.

In everything.

Maybe I love to talk about me (clearly.) Maybe I'm a glory hog. Maybe I need other people to affirm my awesomeness.

I don't know.

Yesterday only one person came to my class.

One.

Now, before you go and think I'm a complete loser who is failing at life (which is how I might feel sometimes, it's true), understand that three people were on vacation, so I knew they wouldn't be there, one was unaccounted for, leaving the one who showed up.

Hm.

And if you can do simple math, then you have already figured out that this means that there are only five people in my class to begin with.

Sigh.

About six weeks ago, in March, I was offered a job to teach a Barre class, but would be replacing Amazing Barre Yoga Girl who had been teaching this Barre class for a long time and had quite a following. People who took the class love, love, love her, and during the last few weeks before her departure, I was invited to take her class just to get a feel for how things go.

Observation No. 1: People were packed in that room, mat-to-mat
Observation No. 2: She did a lot of yoga, as a certified yoga instructor
Observation No. 3: Sadly, I am not her and have been unable to carry on her legacy

I've received mostly positive feedback. (One person said they didn't sweat enough. So okay. Harder workouts.)

Hey! Doing a great job! Love what you're doing!

Not coming back.

Blah.

Amazing Barre Yoga Girl went to another studio to teach, and a lot of people went to that studio with her.

Must be nice to have a following. I wouldn't know.

My husband has been supportive, offering encouragement when I feel down and nice words when things aren't looking up. He says that I'll have to build my own class just like Amazing Barre Yoga Girl did when she first started, and that the population of people who are available to exercise during the day is thin anyway.

He's a good guy.

But it still doesn't stop that tiny voice in the back of my head from shouting all sorts of mean and inappropriate insults at me.

I'm not good enough.

I'm a terrible teacher.

Nobody likes my class.

I may as well just quit.

{Insert slumped shoulders and a frown.}

Is there anything on this earth that can fill that void?

Beauty? No.

Job? Sorry.

Other people? I'm shaking my head no.

Money? Causes mo' problems (got that from the Notorious B.I.G.)

Fame? Drugs? Power? Popularity? Kids? Husbands? Alcohol? Perfection? Cars? Houses? Possessions? Sleep? (okay, so sleep is a maybe...)

No, no, no, no,no, no, no, no, and nope.

How do I know this? Because I've tried most of them (except the fame part, obvi, even though I think it would be fun to be famous for a week).

I am reading a book by Lysa TerKeurst called "Am I Messing Up My Kids?" (because sometimes I really need to know--Am I??), and in it she talks about how she asks God to fill her--not just sometimes, but all the time.

"...I must let God fill me. I must let His approval fill up the desperation in my heart. I need to stop searching, stop questioning, stop the unrealistic expectations of others." (Lysa TerKeurst)

I won't say I'm not disappointed by my class attendance, and I won't pretend that it doesn't bother me when it feels like people are choosing Amazing Barre Yoga Girl over me. I need to work hard and continue to build my classes up. But I can continue to walk down a path of defeat and disappointment, or I can ask God to fill my heart so that I don't need to get approval from others to let me know I'm an okay person.


"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, 
for his compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; 
therefore I will wait for him"
{lamentations 3: 22-24}

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Just Random Life Stuff

Hey there.

So.

Here are some things that are going on in my life lately. Not big, fantastic things (okay, one big, fantastic home decor thing--to me home decor is big and fantastic and everything in between), just things, in no particular order of importance.

Last night a mystery toothbrush appeared on my kitchen counter drying rack. We don't normally make a habit of brushing our teeth at the kitchen sink (I'm sorry-gross), but in my head, I assumed that maybe one of my kids had need of brushing their teeth here rather than the bathroom. Why, I don't know. I asked if anyone could lay claim to said mystery toothbrush. Husband-negative. Son-negative. Daughter-enthusiastic YES! Okay, then, but why are you brushing your teeth at the kitchen sink? Oh! she says. (Oh! I think.) That's not a tooth-brushing brush. That's a cleaning toothbrush! Okay. See. Not a big deal, except that we use already-been-used toothbrushes to clean the occasional small, nasty crevice, not virgin toothbrushes that have never met a mouthful of germs. She got a brand-new toothbrush to do her dirty work when there are several, mind you, several toothbrushes already available for cleaning. Unreal.

I know.  Let it go.

I have a muscle spasm happening in my upper arm/shoulder area, and it is like this tiny little invisible elfkin is pushing on my shoulder. I can see it move. It's so random.

I fixed a healthy tilapia dinner last night (I'm working toward a healthy no-processed-foods meal plan, but so far no one else is one board). Do you want to know who ate it? Me. Do you want to know who tried it? In-my-good-graces daughter. Do you want to know who refused it? The other two. Those guys. So I say, fine. If you don't want it you're on your own!! (thinking they'd just say okay and eat it) and instead, one of the others says "There is one thing I don't eat, and that's fish," and then they proceeded to make their own dinner. Fine. And guess what. It's salmon tonight.

I have taught six exercise classes this week and have three more to go--two today and one on Friday.  (Perhaps the reason for the muscle spasm? Of course, sometimes I get muscle spasms in the area right underneath my eye, and it's not like I'm exercising my eye, so maybe not.) If you know me, then you already know this because I've already told pretty much everybody I know because I'm so freakin' impressed with myself. This is the busiest I've been since I was working full-time, and I'm loving every minute of it! Okay. Enough about me.

My daughter and I got into an argument (of sorts) over the baby picture we would send in for the slideshow at her elementary graduation. I know, I thought it was stupid, too. (Not really, because I held my ground for a long time. So did she. And I still don't agree with her.) I sent in an adorable picture of her (in the heart PJs). But she didn't want that picture. She wanted this picture, and could not be swayed. Finally the voice of reason (the husband) stepped in. She wins. I lose.


So my son came down this morn in an outfit that does not match. The boy does not care. I do. This creates tension. It definitely should not matter to me, but i just bought him a bunch of fairly pricey Nike shorts and teeshirts, and they all match. But here's the thing about this kid. I cannot convince him that the teeshirts he was wearing (you know, the ones that are too short and the sleeves come no where near the elbows) were too small. He's arguing with me every time I tell him to go put on one of his new shirts. So I went through his drawer and took out all the old ones. Every single one. But I missed one, apparently, because down he comes this morn with an old tee (that doesn't match) and a pair of shorts. Did I tell you that it's going to be NINETY here today???

So I say, "Hey, your black dry-weave shirt will keep you cool today. Do you want to go change?"

No.

"But, now see, you'll be outside a lot today and that shirt will get wet. The dry-weave will stay--what--dry!" (Boooooo-ya)

No.

Later...

"You still have a few minutes to go change if you wanna stay cool today. Do you want to change your shirt?"

(I mean really, just go change the shirt and make me happy.)

No.

He wins. I lose. Another one bites the dust.

Okay. So now for the most exciting news of my week. Drum roll please...



YES!!

A barn door for my living room, and let me tell you, I need no words to express it's awesomeness!

Have a great week!





Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Give me a revelation

It's not everyday that a revelation comes.

Give me a revelation
Show what to do
Cause I've been trying to find my way
And I haven't got a clue
Tell me should I stay here
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I've got nothing without you
{revelation, third day}

But as I was sitting in church on Sunday, the words of the pastor at my sister's church hit me in a powerful way. And they were so simple.

Sometimes I've been confused about all this talk about paths. You know, like God's path, my path, the path of life, the narrow path, the wide path, the path less traveled. And I find myself asking:

"Which path should I take?"

And not only do I ask, but I stress about it. The path. Which path? This path? That one? The one I don't know about but should be taking anyway?

I've been known to look at God and ask why in the world He made this so complicated. It seems like a daunting task, all this figuring out of paths and such.

All I want to do is make sure I take the right one.

I was recently asked to speak to a group of women at my church. Now understand two things about me:
1) Public speaking makes me very, very scared, like the few minutes right before getting on a roller coaster when, even though I've emptied my bladder sufficiently, I suddenly have to pee again. Like really bad.

That kind of scared.

2)  I am really excited about this opportunity.

I know, it weird, right? That I would be so excited about something that scares me.

When I got the email, I didn't respond right away, just so I could think about it some more. But in my mind, I was already planning my outfit (heels? or flats? this is where my mind goes when I'm stressed. To the shoe store.) and I already knew that my answer would be yes. But then my mind started racing with thoughts. Should I? Is this the right path? Can I do it? Should I do it? Is this what God wants me to do? How will I know? What should I do? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, GOD??

And with every question, my heart rate went up another 10 beats.

I've heard that God is intimately involved in the details of our lives. I think that's probably right, even though sometimes it feels like I'm all out on a limb with no direction whatsoever. Like in the whole "what path to take" situation.

On Sunday, Pastor Scott asked the question that I've asked myself so many times: What does God want from me?

I'll tell you what I think He wants from me:

*to be good
*to do good
*to act good
*to read my Bible
*to pray

None of those are inherently bad things, right? And if I do them, then I should automatically know the path I should take. But as Pastor Scott pointed out as he read from the book of Romans, being good and doing good and acting good don't mean much to God, especially when my heart is far from Him.

Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
{romans 4: 3}

So teaching Sunday School, or working at the Rescue Mission, or holding my tongue when I have a really juicy story to tell won't win God's favor. Huh.

Then what?

Faith.

Faith, says Pastor Scott.

Faith, says Jennie Allen, author of chase (my current bible study.)

Faith, says Scripture.

For it is by race you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves...
{ephesians 2:8}

As Jennie Allen says in chase, "God simply asks us for our obedience and our trust." (pg. 73).

That's all?

And when I don't know which path to take?

Trust and faith.

And when I'm confused about which way to go?

Trust and faith.

And when I'm out on a limb and I need an answer or I'll fall on my face?

Trust and faith.

And when the thoughts are swirling around like a wind storm in my head, asking what should I do, which way should I go, which path should I take, how will I know?

Trust. And. Faith.

And without faith, it is impossible to please him, 
for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who seek him.
{hebrews 11:6}

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tea Time


Taking some time off to have tea with my sister. Catch you Monday :)