Archive for October, 2011

So Much TV, So Little Time

I’ve been on my couch since 7:48pm. It’s now 10:02.

At 8pm, our other new favorite show comes on. “Person of Interest”, starring Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. We intentionally get the kids in bed by 7:30 on Thursdays, just to watch this show.

At 9pm, I watch “The Mentalist”. I love the character of Patrick Jane, but Michael isn’t a fan, so he usually leaves me during this time.

Tonight, however, the World Series is on, as well as the local high school game.

It’s all just too much. Not to mention, I have my phone right here, plus the old laptop, so between all the television, texts, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been more connected than ever.

Yet I’m sitting in my living room alone.

That’s just weird.

It makes me miss college, when there was always a group of people watching tv together. I don’t think I ever saw an episode of “Friends” alone. I guess if a show is called “Friends”, that’s kind of the point, right?

I do have an observation from all the couch sitting and television viewing tonight. Volkswagen has the best commercials. If I had money, I’d totally buy a Jetta, just because they’ve sold me with the advertising. Way to go, VW.

It’s the top of the 8th inning, and the Rangers are winning. That’s a really good thing. The World Series reminds me of why I love baseball. I don’t watch regular season, because I can’t invest the time, but baseball is such a great sport. I’m impressed by the skill and self control of the players. It’s not flashy or aggressive or in-your-face like football or basketball (but I like those, too). It’s a smart sport, and fun to watch. Plus, I married a baseball player, who is also really good at explaining things, so that helps.

I’m fading fast, and my eyes hurt from all the watching. I’m probably going to dream about cops chasing baseball players who are secretly preventing crimes because of numbers generated from a machine.

I’d watch that.




October 28, 2011 at 3:20 am Leave a comment

So, What Comes Next?

What happens when the prayers you prayed for years finally get an answer, and the answer is no?

What happens when you aren’t given the opportunity to fulfill your calling?

What happens when you faithfully follow in obedience, and it seems to be in vain?

What happens when you can’t stop the tears?

What happens when your heart hurts and you need comforting?

What happens when you thought you were finally on the right track, and you have to go back to square one?

What happens when square one is the most miserable, lonely place you’ve ever been?

What happens when grief and loss seem to be the biggest part of your life?

What happens when you can’t be tough anymore?

What happens when you can’t talk about your hurts, for fear that you’ll just become another prayer request on a list?

What happens when you run out of prayers?

What happens when you can’t fix your children’s fears?

What happens when you just don’t know?

The only thing I know is to go to the Truth.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Listen, LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Protect my life, for I am faithful. You are my God; save Your servant who trusts in You. Be gracious to me, Lord, for I call to You all day long. Bring joy to Your servant’s life, since I set my hope on You, Lord.” Psalm 86:1-4

“Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.” Colossians 3:2-3

“In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

“You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith- more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire- may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

I could go on and on…because this is all I’ve got today.

And it’s more than enough.

October 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

This May Change My Mind

I woke up this morning, packed lunches, got everyone dressed…and read this blog post.  Apparently, I have been reading blogs that are wrong for me (although they are terrific, just wrong for me) and there are many women out there who think more along the same lines as I do.

I also read this post and it also encouraged me. Women writing for women is starting to have more appeal…overnight!

I genuinely hope I didn’t sound as if I was trashing women’s ministry. I especially hope that no one would think I was talking about my own church’s ministry. I love those ladies, and they are precious to me.

I am honest, almost to a fault. In the 13 years I’ve been a “grown-up”, I’ve just had a hard time finding “my place” in a women’s ministry. I’ve also had a hard time finding those writers/speakers/bloggers who I can connect with. I assume, because they’re the ones getting paid to write or speak and I’m not, the problem is mine, not theirs.

And I don’t think I’m alone in this at all.

But I know they’re out there. There are women being led by God to say what needs to be said into the lives of the messy, such as myself.

This morning, I found two great posts that speak to me. There are hundreds more, I’m sure. I’ll find them after I do the dishes and make the beds. And pick up the toys. And take a shower. And put on makeup. And play fourteen rounds of Zingo. And watch five episodes of Phineas and Ferb.

Or maybe I’ll take a nap.

October 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm 2 comments

Maybe I Should Be a Deacon

I’m not a girly girl.

I love being female. I love a lot of female things, like shopping, pedicures (I’ve had three in my whole life), Pride and Prejudice, and the color pink.

I struggle, however, with a lot of things identified with being female. For example, the Twilight series. Seriously? Vampires in love? It’s all just weird to me. Another thing that gets my goat is when a type of jewelry becomes trendy and “everyone” has to have it. Hand stamped necklaces? Trees of life? I can’t think of any others off the top of my head, simply because I CAN’T KEEP UP WITH THE EVER CHANGING JEWELRY TRENDS.

But my biggest, and most personal issue with women deals with the church. Women’s ministry. It’s not my thing, and here’s why:

1. I feel really uncomfortable in big groups of women. I feel very un-cute. I feel like I’m supposed to be wearing my finest frock, and be cute and witty. I’m not. Small talk is not something I’m good at. I don’t like saying, “I’m fine, how are you?” forty-seven times, especially when I’m not fine. But I also don’t like saying, “Things are not good for us right now. We’re struggling with some stuff” and have someone give me a smile that doesn’t reach their eyes and say, “Oh, girl. I’ll be praying for you”, when I know they won’t. What their tone and body language tell me is that she’s thinking, “this girl has issues, I need to get over to those cute girls who are having much more fun.”

2. Most women speakers just talk about how to be a godly wife and mother. I’ve heard it all. But you know what? There’s more to me. I struggle with reading blogs and books written by Christian women and they all say the same thing: “I have all these dreams and callings, and now my days are filled with diapers, and God has changed my heart and I will glorify Him in the poop.” That’s very noble and all, but when I’m dealing with poop, I just don’t see the glory of God. Some might say I’m unspiritual when I say that. I do think God is glorified in our homes every day, and being a wife and mom is the highest calling, but at what point did God stop dealing with us personally and give us over to our husbands and kids and their desires? My understanding of submission is to respond to being loved “as Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her”. It’s a response, not a relinquishment of all of our goals and dreams.

3. My life is messy. I have three kids that are creative and fun. We are on the tightest budget we’ve been on in years. Times are tough right now. The impression I get from women’s blogs is “have a beautiful home”, “make pretty clothes if you can’t afford them”, “entertain friends, make cute food, and don’t worry if your dishes came from Walmart”. Women take time to go paint pictures together, get their nails done together, meet at Starbucks or go shopping. Right now, in my life, I can’t do any of those. Our schedule and budget don’t allow it. But the “cool girls” in women’s ministry give the impression that you should find a way to make your home pretty with a can of spray paint and a glue gun, and have a party with friends and a DIY coffee bar while you do it! I have great friends, but none of us can do that right now. So where is the voice of the messy? Who speaks for those of us who have are trying to put thoughts together on a blog while two of our children are sword fighting right next to our head? I know nobody expects me to be perfect, but I do sense an expectation to be attractive, all the time. I’m not. My life is not. And I have a great life. It’s just not what the influencers in women’s ministry today would expect.

So what would women’s ministry look like to me? I don’t know! So I probably shouldn’t complain, should I? Some of the finest, most precious women I know are leaders in women’s ministry. The issue is mine, not theirs. No ministry, no matter how well done, will work perfectly. I just wish women actually ministered to one another, and went beyond the hair discussions. I would love to know that my not-new clothes and toys on the floor were okay. I don’t live in a gated neighborhood with covenants and a pool. I don’t drop my youngest child at mother’s day out and head to Starbucks. We live within our means, and that means I don’t participate in the “ministry opportunities” that involve writing a check to every cause. But I love my life. I’m deeply loved by my family, and they understand me and accept me. They minister to me, and offer me real relationships. I am loved by my friends. They make me laugh, and don’t ask more of me than I can give. They teach me to love those who aren’t exactly like me, and I’m honored to know them.

In a sense, as a woman, I am ministered to by my family and friends. Maybe I feel uncomfortable in groups of women because I don’t have a need to be ministered to by them. I hope that the women who DO have that need can find a group of women who will truly do just that.

Or we’ll just have to petition to become deacons and hang out with the guys.

(That wouldn’t go over well in my world.)

October 24, 2011 at 2:16 am 3 comments

I Don’t Think Michelangelo Intended It For Children

We went to the library today. Molly, being the freckle-faced brain that she is, headed straight for the non-fiction and quickly chose a really cool book on art. We looked through it together while we waited on the others to choose their books.

Three-quarters of the way through, we came upon a full page picture of Michelangelo’s David.

Yep. He’s naked.

No six year old on this planet, at least not one that is normal, could see that and not giggle. So the giggles commenced, and I quickly turned the page. Naturally, her brother and sister wanted to see it, but Censor Mom kept a tight grip on the book at that point.

Please understand, I’m all about art. I think it’s educational, beautiful, and makes our world a better place.

But I know my kids. I know that for the next month, everywhere we go, there would be a discussion in public about “that naked guy in that art book”, and I just really don’t want to deal with that.

Molly added the book to her “check out” stack, and I let her check it out, but we made a deal that she wouldn’t talk about it or show it to her brother and sister. Molly is the only child I have who would actually make that deal with me and keep it. She’s a gift.

So we get in the van, and Aidan confiscates the art book. He immediately tries to find “the naked guy” and Paisley is yelling, “I wanna see! I wanna see!” Molly starts to cry, because she’s very aware that she promised Mama, and they give it back to her.

I told the kids that the picture is of a statue of David, the same David in the Bible. Aidan was just about to be impressed, but then realized that we were talking about King David. The one who killed Goliath. The one who defeated Saul. The one who wrote all those cool songs. He said, “It can’t be that David, Mom! The David in the Bible would be wearing clothes!”

In his innocent eight year old mind, all Bible people are clothed, all the time.

And he hasn’t heard the Bathsheba story yet. That one’s gonna open up a whole can of worms.

It kind of makes the whole naked statue thing seem pretty PG rated.

October 12, 2011 at 2:31 am 1 comment

Making a Difference

We spent the weekend at a beautiful cabin a few hours away with some friends of ours. The cabin belonged to their family and we were invited to come rest, relax, eat and fish, all of which we did in abundance. It was just what the doctor ordered for Michael and me.

On the way home, I received some really sad news. I lost a good friend today. He’s no longer on this earth, but I’d like to tell you what he meant to me, and the difference he made in my life. As you well know, if you’ve actually hung in there with my blogging inconsistency, words are how I process my emotions.

Mr. J became my friend last year. We go to church together and he has always made extra effort to show kindness to me. Whether it was my singing or my speaking, or whatever I was participating in, he always had a nice thing to say about me. People like that are rare in today’s world. I have treasured his kind words, because God used him to encourage me many times when I needed it.

A year ago, Mr. J called me and asked if I would serve on the missions committee at church when it was time to start a new year. I agreed. At my first meeting, Mr. J nominated me for chairperson of the committee. It has been one of the biggest challenges for me personally, but one of the most humbling, wonderful experiences I’ve had. We make all decisions as a committee, but everything I’ve suggested or idea I’ve shared, Mr. J has backed me up. He tells me that he’s proud of me. That he sees me as a role model and an example. He told me he thought I could do great things for Jesus. He would pat me on the hand during our meetings, just to let me know he thought I was doing a good job.

I shared with him once that I’d love to write one day. He immediately told me that he thought I should share my feelings through words, because he just knew that I had things to say that would make a difference.

Mr. J believed in me.

Mr. J saw in me what I could not see in myself most of the time.

Mr. J wanted the absolute best for me.

Mr. J told me that if he could pick anyone to be his sister, he’d pick me.

Mr. J told me that, in his mind, I was perfect. I tried hard to assure him that I’m certainly not, but he insisted.

I’m sure he was just being sweet to me, he was a very kind man. But his confidence in me made a huge difference. I know that I would never have volunteered to be on that committee, even though I love missions. I really would have assumed that someone else could serve better than I could. I would not have jumped on a summer mission project for our whole church to raise money for water wells in India if he had not told me that day that he knew I was there on that committee to do great things for Jesus.

When someone believes in you, they are like the diving board that propels you to fly through the air, doing all kinds of stunts before the splash and the smiles that follow.

When someone believes in you, and TELLS YOU that they do, they are like the plug that goes straight into the outlet and lights up the whole Christmas tree.

I’ll be grateful for the rest of my life that Mr. J believed in me.

I’m so glad he was my friend. I miss him, and I can’t imagine how his family must feel. But I hope they know that he was a man who made a difference, because he knew that Jesus made a difference in him.

October 2, 2011 at 3:17 am Leave a comment

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