"I hold on to You for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post..." Psalm 63

Sunday, February 27, 2011

She's a belieber...

SIGH...
It hurts me more than you know to post that title and download the song that is playing in the background...but it had to be done.  
Please don't hold it against me!

SOMEone is in LOVE
She did some jobs around the house to earn her a STARRY-EYED seat in the theater.
She was just a little excited when I dropped her off to watch him with her friends.

And she was beyond giddy when I picked her back up 2 hours later.

And now, it seems 
she is
in
 ♥LOVE♥

Too bad she is too old to play with Barbies because she may just have begged for one of THESE:

I don't go for 14 year olds going CrAzY over boys...
BUT, since there's not much chance she'll ever stand in the same room as this one I say
"Go ahead and dream"

I remember feeling the same way when I was her age.  
His name was Chachi,

He was the Fonz's cousin.
And I secretly loved him. 

I hated Joanie because she stole him from me.


She had to go off and marry him
 and leave the rest of us girls to wonder what it would be like to be his wife.

Eventually I got over him, 
but at the time I really did think that one day he would come walking down the same side of the street as me and ask me to marry him.

 I have hope that SHE will eventually move on to better things too.
But, secretly, I'm happy to have her misty-eyed and dreaming of far away boys who do not know she exists.
It suits me just fine....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A few things I discovered about myself today

I can't say this has been one of my better days...
I'm not really proud of some of these things I've discovered.

Nonetheless, let's just get it over with.

*I despise bookkeeping. 
 Paying bills is a nuisance, and I'd rather not.

*I had a very black hair growing on my neck 
until precisely 10:45 this morning.
{There's no way that thing grew overnight...why don't people tell me these things?}

*Left to my own demise I have a rotten attitude
I found myself muttering under my breath this morning while shoveling the driveway out AGAIN.  The kids were almost late for the bus {because around here, two hour delays don't give us extra time to get ready in the morning, they make us sleep in longer than we should} which automatically made me the designated shovel-er.  I did not take to this kindly and had all manner of conversation with my kids in my head while I scooped and bent with my knees {mom, did you read that?}.  
Until I remembered I haven't been born to some sense of hierarchy that exempts me from hard labor. 
I immediately repented of my selfish ways and tried giving thanks for my healthy {albeit it heaving in over-exertion} body. The rest of the shoveling really went a lot faster after I wiped the snarl off my face.

*Panera is fast becoming my home-away-from-home
I get some "work" done there without being distracted by all the work in my house. 
The people there like me all the time and treat me like I am their favorite person in the world.  
They also cook whatever I ask for me...

*Sometimes I forget to run the dishwasher 
for DAYS...
until there are no clean plates and we have to wash them before we can eat.

*I'm not a very good planner
It's 5:50 pm and my family is due to return from their wanderings any minute now 
and I still have no idea what's for dinner.  

I have a host of other things to add to this list, but it occurred to me that adding anything else after my last paragraph would only further incriminate me.  
I stink at staying on task.

***************************************
WAIT!  I'm back...I have one more thing to add because

*I'm fantastic at making a quick meal
Especially if I have frozen chicken strips, a box of pasta and a jar of creamy alfredo on hand.

Just when I thought I failed at this day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beauty...

I've set up camp on my back porch this afternoon. 
 And, who wouldn't? 
 The mercury reads 63*...

The busyness of my day almost kept me inside. 
 I almost missed it....the beauty.

At first glance,
everywhere I look
is Brown
and Empty
and Drab...

Maybe because I am sitting here reading this...

Reading of  another's discovery of the true meaning of this life we live-
seeing from her eyes the moment in time that it all kicked in...
that choice she made to no longer live out of her feelings
and 
began to live out of a heart of 
Grace
Thankfulness
Joy
Maybe because I am being reminded of the time when I, too, began to uncover this mystery
 JOY instead of DESPAIR...
The mystery that must be chosen daily.

Maybe because of all of this; 
a heightened re-awareness of my surroundings,
maybe because of all of this, 
instead of seeing just 
empty branches
patches of mud
piles of debris
death...

My senses are aware of something else..
Beauty
There is still GREEN out there
LIFE
and GREEN out this way 
{the Christmas tree that is faintly holding its' color doesn't count}
Leaning in closer, 
what looked dead actually has visible signs of rallying
Closer still..
Tiny pockets of new life being nurtured at each fingertip
Down there,
 beyond all of the barren limbs
the Creek ripples softly.
At first it goes unnoticed,
but in the stillness of the air
I hear it.
And it's loud.
I almost missed how loud it was...
I almost tuned it out.

Farther out there is a flock of geese honking their way through the skies.
And at all corners of the woods there are birds,
 communicating with one another.
Calling out.

There's a freshness in the air.
It's palpable.
But I almost missed it.

OUT THERE
there's still a lot of 
death 
and 
decaying
At least that is all it appears to be at first glance...
But I am ever aware that out of 
death
comes
 life.

But I must 
CHOOSE
this
LIFE
daily.

I must
CHOOSE
JOY
daily.

CHOOSE
THANKFULNESS
daily.

CHOOSE 
GRACE
daily.

HOLY JOY...
It comes from a heart of thankfulness.

It starts with seeing this life of mine 
is God's story.
Not mine.

And it ends with a new perspective on life.
CONTENTMENT


"... when I do this, give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This,this, makes me full. I “magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30 KJV), and God enters the world.
What will a life magnify? The world’s stress cracks, the grubbiness of a day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted? Or God?..."    Ann Voskamp
There's always beauty where we look. 
 We miss it sometimes in the busyness of life
 or in refusal.
But it's still there...waiting to be noticed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This life...

It's a mystery to me...

There are some things I can not understand.
There are directions I can not uncover.  
There are questions I can not answer.  

No matter how many times I ask the same question, sometimes there are just no clear answers.  
I've been asking one question for years.

Sometimes I've asked the question through tears.
Sometimes through frustration.
Sometimes out of obligation.
Sometimes to please other people.
Sometimes out of exhaustion.

{google image}
 The question has gone unanswered for years.
And so I keep asking, 
searching 
and waiting...

The question at hand is this one:
What do you want from me?

Although I ask this question to many people in my life; 
sometimes audibly, 
sometimes silently,
 most often this question is directed to God.

Let me explain:
I am a pleaser.
It's pretty cut and dry.  
Tell me what you expect from me and as long as it fits inside my parameter of standards,
 I'll do my best to comply.

Most people in my life will do me the courtesy of explaining what they need from me, 
resulting in my immediate response,
"Your wish is my command"....
{okay, not always...but I try}

It's a fairly simple process:
we form a relationship,
we meet each other half way in mutual respect,
you give...
I give..
and we get along just fine in our little box of relationship etiquette.

It does not work this way with God.

Granted, He's gone to the trouble to write out a little tiny instruction booklet
 that consists of 66 books in which to instruct me in my general day to day living.
I crave the instructions in this book and go there often to seek some of the answers to my other questions.
 I'm not usually satisfied with one version of this book...
I long to understand these instructions thoroughly, so I read them in several versions
I've learned over the years how to search this book for the answers to some of life's dilemmas...
to search and not stop searching until I find what I'm looking for.
This is good.
And I'm so thankful for it.

But to that BIG QUESTION that constantly looms over my shoulder...
there is no explicit answer.

I've learned to break the question up into little bitty bite sized pieces.
"WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME today?"
And the answer to that is easily found...

"Look for ME"
"See the people around you like I do"
"Love them"
"Reflect ME"
"Choose JOY"
"Trust ME"
"Worship ME today with each breath"
"Be thankful"
"Be intentional"

But I confess that I want more...
it just isn't enough.
And maybe it's because I hear time ticking by and it makes me feel anxious.

At the risk of getting too wordy, I'll sum it up like this:
I need some detailed directions for today 
so that down the road
 {and frankly, at this point, it's not a very long road}
when I find myself waking up in an empty house
 I am not surprised to find myself 
alone 
and without 
direction.

I didn't choose to be a single mom.
I didn't choose to raise my kids alone.
But I have chosen to make them my priority and remain home with them as long as is humanly possible.  Somewhere along the way I guess I made a conscious decision NOT to change the way I looked at my life JUST BECAUSE my circumstances changed.  

It is not always easy...
and I am constantly looking for ways to supplement our income.
But for now..as long as God allows, it is my choice.
My confirmation comes in the blessing of 
a roof over our heads, 
abundant food on the table
and the provision of all that we NEED.

I still continue to ask the question...
because I believe it is a relevant one...
one which I must continue to seek the answer to
BUT 
FOR ME
FOR RIGHT NOW
God has granted me the privilege of my heart's desire.

This is not a popular choice in the single-parenting world.
Actually, it's not popular in just about any part of the world.
Even in the church...
it is not popular to be a single parent who CHOOSES to stay at home to raise her children.
At least once every Sunday morning someone asks me if I have found a job.

The church does not have a box that moms like me fit neatly into.
{google image}

And the only BOX I know to put me in is the one marked 
FAITH
without it, I'm nothing

I'll admit it isn't the answer most people are looking for when they ask how we are surviving.
But frankly, I'm all out of fake answers that satisfy other people.
I still ask the question...
more and more with each passing week.

"GOD, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?"

and really, all I'm looking for is a little tiny glimpse into the future...
because at the core of me, all I need is someone to tell me what they want...
and I'm there.

This is not a new place for me..
for years now, the blinds have been pulled
the window has been nailed shut
and the resounding answer has been 
"WAIT ON ME"
{google images}

"And while you wait, keep moving forward."
And so I must wait.
It's dark in here..
 often lonely..
 and sometimes there are nothing but short whispers of instruction.

{google image}

But I've come to learn that I will be told what I need to know
WHEN I need to know it.
And not a moment sooner...

And in the meantime, my job is to
 be Thankful 
for the time at home
for the chance to disciple my children
for the privilege of living at a slower pace
for the honor of learning to TRUST God's hand

And I'm learning not to feel guilty because I don't fit in everyone else's box.
I'm learning to be grateful that God is turning and twisting my heart in these years...
He's making something new in me...
something that He can use later on.

He's just choosing to withhold the set of directions that dictates my next move,
for a time
and waiting WITH me.


"Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, 

   or, whine, Israel, saying,

"God has lost track of me. 
   He doesn't care what happens to me"?
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?
God doesn't come and go. God lasts. 
   He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. 
   And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired, 
   gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out, 
   young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. 
   They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired, 
   they walk and don't lag behind."
Isaiah 40:27-31

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Toddlers do not need tiara's..

My daughter was home from school today with a stomach ache.  It's afternoon now and she's feeling somewhat better.  But now she's bored, needing something to do with herself.
In walks a little thing called "FREE ON DEMAND", 
and next thing I know there are little girls walking across runways sporting fancy dresses
 and more makeup and hairspray than I use in a year.

Mother Tricia, in her sugary sweet way, just explained that she "prayed and prayed for God to send her a little girl who would become Miss America"...and now 15 month old Sami Jo is sporting makeup and strutting herself in a big poofy dress across a big scary stage.   Meanwhile, to attract her attention, her mom is squealing like a pig in the most unattractive way.  Sami Jo may win a prize for beauty, but I secretly hope they disqualify her for her mother's most unsightly display of stupidity.  To everyone's disappointment, Sami Jo is more interested in tumbling than her model walk.  
Too bad, Sami Jo...no Grand Supreme title for you tonight, sweetie.

Meanwhile, Child Star #2 is crying over getting her  fake eyelashes put on and her eyebrows waxed
 while her mother stands by clapping and smiling.  When the hair and makeup are applied she looks like a freakishly short 30 year old.  And SOMEhow, in a turn of events that is just too hard to comprehend, they have convinced her father to join her on stage for her "Fancy wear" portion of the evening.  He is dressed in some kind of ridiculous Egyptian costume, and frankly it will probably lead to the fall of Cleopatra.
 Fancy.
At the last minute, Miss Fancy Wear has decided to do a "TALENT".  Of course, mom tries to talk her out of it. Turns out, Miss Fancy doesn't HAVE a talent....which is evident the moment she starts belting out "Mary Had a Little Lamb".  I need not point out how embarrassed Stage Mommy is by this display.

Some of the girls wear something called "flippers".  

Not these... 
Should a little lady have a gap in her teeth or even worse, lost her baby teeth, 
she must wear one of these to fill in the gap...

Some of these girls are so mean and spoiled rotten I can hardly stand it. 
It's all pretty sick.   
The little girls are quite cute without all of their makeup, but the moms
...downright RIDICULOUS.
And the amount of money that goes into the costuming, salon visits and pageant fees is
  UN-be-lievable.
I'm so mad I will never, ever get that hour back.
I watched the whole spoiled rotten show.
And now I feel like I might lose my lunch.

I don't know who's "BRILLIANT" idea it was to produce this show...
but if someone tried to do the same thing with animals, 
PETA would be 
ALL
OVER
IT  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stink bugs and fairy tales....

Remember when last summer everyone was all in a panic over these guys?
Remember how we all thought that they would die off in the winter?
And remember when we heard that they do not mate INSIDE?
Me too.

It was lies....
all lies.
They are still here.
They have formed an army, 
 are multiplying by the second
and have decided they are not leaving our house.
But, that's not all...around here the Stinkbug's cousin also resides.  
We call her Ms. Box Elder.  
Her ancestor's have lived in this house for generations.
but that doesn't mean I like them.

Let me prove my point...
look who just walked across my computer screen...

sigh...
I hate them all.

I was 12 the summer these two tied the knot. 
 My sister and I waited in great anticipation for the wedding day to arrive.  
We spent the night at our grandmother's house so that she could get up early and watch the ceremony with us.  We sat in our jammies and dreamed of a storybook life just like Diana had. 
We were mesmerized and obsessed with all things Diana.  

Years later the whole world discovered  that Prince Charming doesn't always guarantee 
Happily Ever After
but even so, we don't really believe it and continue to be mesmerized by the idea.

There's a new Prince in town these days.  
And he's found himself a princess,
and again, all the world is watching...
every little girl wishing to be just like her.
 and so...one woman has designed a way to give every little girl her chance. 

If you happen to be in the neighborhood of London, you could wait in line to see what it feels like
 to hang on the arm of Prince William.
see that tiny little dot hanging out on the right arm of William?
That's a replica of the Princess ring...
and if you'd like, you can slip your ring finger through it and pretend for just a moment
 to be a Princess on the arm of her wax Prince.

I just find that funny...

I'm a fan of weddings...
but my
Happily Ever After
looks like this...

"You'll get a brand-new name
   straight from the mouth of God.
You'll be a stunning crown in the palm of God's hand,
   a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.
No more will anyone call you Rejected,
   and your country will no more be called Ruined.
You'll be called Hephzibah (My Delight),
   and your land Beulah (Married),
Because God delights in you
   and your land will be like a wedding celebration.
For as a young man marries his virgin bride,
   so your builder marries you,
And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride,
   so your God is happy with you."
Isaiah 62

I'm sorry, but that's just a whole lot better than
 a Prince made of wax holding a fake ring.


Monday, February 7, 2011

There are no words...

I can't think of a thing to say after reading THIS ARTICLE...  


Except maybe, I had my last cup of coffee this morning...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Holy Experience...

My sister introduced me to this blog....
The title says it all.

I've only just touched the surface of it, but I am drawn in tight and anxiously awaiting my next visit.  If I were invited to do so, I would gladly sit at this woman's table and watch the world happen around her. 

She wrote this...
I could barely rip myself away from the excerpt provided on Amazon...
but I'd rather hold the book in my hand, so I'm waiting to read the rest.

 She is the woman I wish I was...in so many ways.
I'd like to be her friend so that her life would rub off on me and my family...

I share her journal here because good meat should be shared.
Enjoy...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NOT {Wordless Wednesday}

It's supposed to be WORDless Wednesday here...but really...
Can we talk about Spring for a little bit?
I just want to pretend that it's right about the corner, 
as our "weather-predicting groundhog" indicated this morning.
  

They call him a "Prognosticator"...someone who prophesies.

I'm pretty sure he's of the rodent family, which if you ask me, is about the farthest thing from wise and discerning as you can get.  But, just this once, I'd like to think he has heard a word from the Lord. 
Please be true, please be true...

While my kids are still sleeping through their SECOND DAY off of school... 
{I am pretty sure the yellow bus could have found a way to get them there today.  
I vote we move towards a 3 hour delay and NOT a cancellation}

I am listening to the ice dripping on my roof 
{another indication that the roads MUST be melting too}
and thinking about things like THIS:

 and this
and these...



SIGH....
Oh please, wise rodent, please say you have heard a word from the Lord this morning...

Perhaps this is the right time to introduce my kids
 to the movie named after this day..

"A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again."

How very fitting.
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