Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Neither Nor?

Mari asked, "Would you rather die or spend your whole life crying?"

After a pause, I asked, "Where did you come up with that question?"

She replied, "I just want to know what you'd rather do: spend every day of your life crying or just die."

When I still had no response, she announced, "I think it would be better to die and go to heaven. There's no crying there."

I never could figure out what made her think of that.  She seemed to bounce back from her existential query straight into wonderings about snow-cones and other snacks.  My thoughts lagged behind.

Depression can make you feel like those are the only two choices sometimes.  And when faced with the notion, perceived preferences can grow blurry and burdensome.

How would you have responded to her?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Joy Dare 5.28.12

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

3 gifts that made you laugh
the debate over love languages
our thanksgiving memory
grown brothers and sisters in one room...loud love and laughter
3 gifts found in community
rides and lunch provided
texts of concern and hopeful prayers
even a week of medical crisis can be a very good week
gift in a plate    grilled pineapple with pork chops and onions
in a pot    mashed potatoes with bacon and cheese and garlic
in a package    creme brulee coffee with family and friends

3 hard thanksgivings
painful infections
bondage to bed rest
the disintegration of MY plan for this week
a gift worn    pants one size smaller
a gift white    Greek yogurt
a gift whispered    "Daddy's asleep but I need to say to him Happy Birthday Daddy!"

3 gifts found in church
organ and piano duets
new songs of praise
Spirit and Truth
3 gifts in today's work
the laptop and downloads and all my messy files
a household of children who help with [mostly] a smile
the husband called out to work on a holiday & his birthday ... answered with a glad heart.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flashback Friday

(Originallly posted 5/31/07)

To Top It All

Ok, so I'm driving home from our local discount superstore, and I glance over at the lady driving the neighboring SUV. She held a jar in one hand while bracing the steering wheel with that elbow. I watched as she used her other hand to untwist the jar's lid while steering with her other elbow!

My thoughts were mainly focused on how dangerous that seemed....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Season Ticket Holders

Sitting in lawn chairs, feet propped on the backstop fence, we holler for our sons.  She and I have been cheering together for years - hundreds of baseball games it seems we've shared.

"Be patient!" she pleads with my eager batter.
"Always run it out!" I remind her disheartened runner.

This game is tied.
The go-ahead run is on third. Two outs.
First pitch: swing and a miss.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Joy Dare 5.21.12

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

3 gifts about me
I place a high premium on truth
singing under my breath happens involuntarily
I'm learning the beauty of prompt apologies

3 gifts found in His Word (Proverbs 21)
"All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart."
"To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice."
"Better to live in the desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Yes Ma'am!

May is the busiest month of our lives.  It makes December look like a giant yawn. One school year is concluding, while plans for the next are being solidified. Everyone is playing ball. Or coaching ball. The rest are watching from folding chairs while slurping frozen tubes of colored sugar water.

This spring we have been heavily involved in the initiation of Celebrate Recovery with our church.  Then there is the planning and preparing for all the weeks of summer ministry. It takes many hours just to get face time with each of the kids. Throw in a touch of housework, a little piano playing, some writing projects, and all-night thunderstorms, and we're swamped!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Flashback Friday

(Originally posted in 2007)

Speaking Love

Landen received a letter in the mail yesterday. It was from his "friend-girl" of nearly a decade. I wish you could have seen his face as he read her kind, encouraging words. His smile sighed, and his head nodded with each mark of punctuation. When he was finished reading, he scanned the paper - front and back - and then sat back in his seat to relish the idea that someone thinks he's great. After a moment of pondering, he sat straight up, tore the heart-shaped stickers from the corners of the envelope, and put them with the letter in his pocket. He immediately got out a piece of paper and began penning his recipricol message of "like". He patted the outside of his jacket pocket and said, "Now, that's some good stuff, right there!"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Redneck Gardening

Elizabeth had gone outside to pull weeds with Luke. She knocked on the back door, and when I opened it, she breathlessly announced in her most important sounding voice, "We, we, (huff puff) we need, I need to get a big trash bag, (gasp, grunt) for the weeds!"

She grabbed a bag and dutifully returned to the project at hand. As they worked, she asked Luke, "Why we pulling up all these weeds?".

Luke explained, "We need to kill them so they won't come back."

"Oh! Let me go get my little gun and I will shoot them dead!"

"So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good."  1 Peter 2:1-3

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who We Really Are

I remember my shock as she offered her wisdom - this lovely lady, proper and soft-spoken.

"Our husbands just don't always do the right thing, do they?" She was gracious and kind, with no hint of malice or resentment. I had viewed her tidy, tender marriage from afar, and her humble honesty furrowed my brow.

#1.  Her husband messed up?
#2.  She was displeased with him at times?
#3.  She was admitting these things in public?

Somewhere along the way, I heard a [well-intended] message about consistently building up one's husband and protecting his dignity, calling and reputation.  This positive notion took a negative twist when bondage to my own pride and reputation compelled me to only speak positively - even when we were in crisis. And I carried the concept through almost every aspect of my life...parenting, health, discipleship, and family management.

While I aced every quiz in "How to put your best foot forward", I missed the class on "How to share your REAL struggles honestly with others". So a thousand times, I've slathered on a stage smile and dishonestly uttered the words, "I'm fine", and promptly changed the subject.

Like some items of clothing are reserved for "just around the house".
There are some sentences that are simply not cute.

Sadly, I spent many years protecting the general public from what I assumed they had no need to see.  Meanwhile, I allowed this obsession to express to those in my home that outsiders' opinions are more important than our healing within. This exhausting PR campaign crowded with "how life should be"s and "what I hope you think of me"s has brought me to a weary place of surrender.

The approval of God is all I seek.
I'm so grateful for friends who have braved the jungle of my defences in order to offer me a safe sounding board and gentle truth.  I now realize my total honesty to a limited few has been self-serving and anchored in fear.  I also thank God for beautifully transparent people - those whose integrity and humility allow God's truth to shine so bright - warm and comforting.

I pray He will allow me to be the kind of friend who is both a courageous confidant and a fearless vessel of His Light.

Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Live inside the dark
But that's not who we are
We are children of the day

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine!

~ Kari Jobe

Monday, May 14, 2012

Joy Dare 5.14.12

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

3 gifts found in the dark
fear to dispel
dreams to explore
peace & rest

a gift outside
wooden rockers on the patio

creme brulee candle

upside down
body wash, lotion, ketchup...they're designed that way...let's let'em roll, people!

3 gifts from my parents
music appreciation
hunger for the Word
brown eyes ;)

3 gifts held in hand today
paperwork (hard thanks)
hand written mother's day wishes
my kindle with it's purple case

3 gifts found in my children
repetitive forgiveness
re-occurring challenges
real love

a gift picked up
milk from the dairy

a gift put away
canisters of cereal - at capacity

a gift put back
clean dish towels ready to wipe up another day

3 gifts inside a closet
new flip flops
the story of my keys
CR tee shirt to wear every Monday

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Joy Dare 5.7.12

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

3 gifts tasted

biscuits with butter and honey
crisp green salad with a rainbow of chopped veggies
salty rich pistachios

3 gifts flat

Mari's very first softball pictures
Discover statement with a zero balance
love notes - red hearts and swirls from little girls

3 gifts found in difficult people

graphic reflection of how I am at times
opportunity for me to choose gentle compassion
space to be slow to speak

3 gifts before 9am

two quick miles of sunshine and shade
text messages touch base with a ":)"
tidy rooms and completed chores

a gift in a sign
"Construction Ahead: Expect Delay" -story of my Kingdom life

in a smile
my handsome husband, with polarized shades perched on his shiny head,
blue eyes look straight into me

in a snack
green apple slices and walnuts (does it get better than that?)

3 gifts found in Christ
freedom to offer such to others

3 gifts about my home
safe and set apart
oscillating volume level from library to parade
the place where their story begins

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Help

It is one my most dreaded chores.  But periodically, it must be done. The washing of the car seat cover. (Thank you for that sympathetic sigh of support:) There's something about the complete disassembly that almost overwhelms my brain.

The cover had been laundered and sun-dried, but this morning it needed to be reattached to the seat shell.  I delegated the task to my 9-year-old daughter.  Not in a weaselly effort to dodge a drag ... I wanted to offer her the opportunity to learn & problem solve.  Yes, THAT was my admirable (secondary) motivation!

"Well, at least, can you HELP me?" she plead, half-way suspecting my sabotage.

I assured her, "Yes.  Bring all the straps and buckles, and the seat and the cover in here, and I'll help you."

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Not Forgotten

Elizabeth asked to pray at breakfast today.  "Dear God, thank you for today. umm. I can't memember..."  I lifted my eyes to watch as my little girl lost hold of the prayer she had consistently prayed for months. 

We all have it memorized, "Dear God, thank you for today.  Help us find Mom's ring. Amen."

I watched her fidgety lips as she struggled to reclaim the wording that had flowed so easily for so long.  "Um...thank you...thank you us..." Eventually, Philip offered gentle conclusion as he squeezed the little hand he was holding and said definitively, "Amen."

I sipped my coffee and remembered the day my wedding ring was lost, and the dozens of prayers each of us have prayed. I wondered if vibrant faith was fading into muted complacency.

Lively breakfast conversation jarred me from my dismal daydream. I sipped again, and listened to the ideas darting across the table.