Good rainy Friday morning. If you're in Southeast Michigan at least. No complaints from me! Except that many Donny doodoos have been exposed. Again, not my problem. I'm off today; working the weekend. I don't mind so much working as that it is more challenging for staffing. Although it doesn't seem like such a monumental thing, I'm asking you to pause for a moment today and pray for the staff of the hospital. That we would have enough folks to give extra care to our patients and so that no one working feels they have been stretched too thin. This week the Lord has been really working in my heart regarding not just my "job" but my "work." If that makes any sense. I've always prayed for my workplace and have a renewed determination to be a prayer warrior for my hospital. In a way, lately this feels like my church. There are Believers there as well as those who don't coming together for a common goal and whether they know it or not; they are the hands of Christ as they care for patients. I know that those hours spent at work can be draining but I also believe there can be that kind of good tiredness that comes of ministry and that is my desire for the caregivers I work with. Anyway, there's my thought for the day!
Mac did some of the housework yesterday that I would've been doing today (God love him!) So this morning I have a just few quick jobs to do like laundry, bed linens and the bathroom. Then I'll get myself together and with my mom, I am facing a dreaded and horrible thing. Textile shopping. My mother loves textiles. They give me the trots. And shopping for fabric with my mom ends one of two ways, snot-producing laughter or me just choosing the first cheap fabric I find so I can get out of there quickly. Being that Pat is recovering (is that the correct spelling? it looks like my sofa pillows need to get off the booze) my sofa pillows for me, it would be better if I could maintain long enough not to purchase clearancedCarebear Halloween material for the job. The Mr. and I scored a gently used couch a few months back that is an excellent laying-on for TV couch. It's a pillow back which means it has a wide seat cushion and we have wide seats ourselves. If we stack the pillows at one end we can both lay on it to watch Desperate Housewives reruns, which is our current favorite pass time. So we love the couch but the pillows of the pillow back are splitting at the seams. The couch is a beigey tweedy earth toney kind of affair so I'm hoping to find some kind of fabric that will go with. This is all very interesting, no?
Meanwhile, my friend at work gave me this gourd looking thing that has a spongy dry looking thing inside and she swears it is a loofah sponge! Per her report, if you crack the shell off this non gourd you have a loofah. She asked me where I believed loofahs to come from to which I replied "Loofania." Apparently this is not correct as another person states they come from the ocean. I have not yet de-shelled the loofah gourd but word is, a person can plant a loofah garden. This sounds like tomfoolery to me but if it's true I am so planting a loofah garden (picture above; an alleged loofah on the vine.) I spent a large portion of my time yesterday peering down the tiny hole in my loofah gourd examining the sponge like innards.
What else can I share? Oh, I got a hair cut and color refresh and everyone is complimenting me on my new color, which is not new. However, no one is necessarily noticing the cut, which is new. My theory is that I usually just slick my hair back into a pony so the highlights are not as noticeable and I'm wearing it down lately. This is almost as important to the public as my pillows. Perhaps I'll have my mom take a picture of my hair for your consideration. That depends entirely on how good/bad it looks today as it is precipitating and not favorable to beauteous hair.
Well, I'm spent. Off to make the bed and have another cup 'o Joe. I have to call my mom very soon to ensure that I wake her up as opposed to letting her have a cup of coffee and get herself together. She's not a morning person. Don't tell her I said that.
Jonah 4: 6And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
I work with him, maintenance guy. Last winter, when I had first started this facility, one of the other maintenance guys had gotten into a car accident on the way to work. I was supervising the house so Don called to tell me that James was in an accident, that he was ok. And that Don had prayed with him on the phone.
This morning Don stopped me in the hall, "I was looking for you Friday afternoon!"
"I was probably hiding." I had told Don's boss that my goal for the day was not to cry until I got into my car. Bad day.
"Well, I wanted to spend a moment in prayer with you but when I couldn't find you, I just took my break to pray for you."
I know this man who disappears into the scenery except when he steps out in faith.
I didn't cry in my car Friday. I did today in the hallway.
Thank you God for sending me your love, through this man.
I could probably do a weekly post on the wisdom I glean from other people and usually, it's something they mention off-handedly. This week it was the Medical Director of the hospital at which I work. My position requires 60 hours a week of responsibility plus 5 additional days of over-night call per month. I work every third weekend and every six weeks that weekend is a 24 hour call rotation which puts me on the clock from 8:00 Saturday morning until 8:00 Monday morning.
I was talking about coming in on midnight shift to do rounds and working on the floor to try to fill some gaps and he stopped me mid-sentence.
"Stop it. Somebody else has those responsibilities, not you. If you start adding to your own plate, you will stop doing the things you were supposed to do in the first place. Trying to be everywhere all the time cannot work."
Sounds pretty much common-sense and it isn't that I didn't know this, but I think I needed someone else to say it out loud. The doctor's simple response immediately clarified three things...
1. I cannot do everything that I become aware needs doing.
2. If I keep stretching beyond what I am rightfully responsible for, other people will naturally step back. Ultimately, I will perpetuate the problem I thought I was fixing.
3. When my true responsibilities are not my priority they will suffer. I will be held accountable for what I failed to achieve despite the explanation that I was somewhere else doing someone elses job. I will be that person who isn't doing her job correctly. And that is unethical.
I think many women have that same tendency to just step in when other people aren't doing jobs whether it's in the workplace or at home. We just want it done and when those around us seem to be able to look the other way, we can't. We embrace the short-term fix of just taking over. And let's be honest, we feel like heroes or martyrs in the process. We feel superior. We might resent it but we feel superior.
The problem is that this teaches other people that there is no consequence for their own lack of character and lack of responsibility. What the people around us are seeing is not that we are superwomen for whom they are eternally grateful but that if they don't do the job, someone else will. Nothing bad will happen. By the way, when we draw the attention of said people to the fact that we once again have saved the day, they aren't impressed.
Here, finally, is where conviction comes to my heart: I am not allowing God to work in the lives of other people. I interfere. Have you ever seen a very bad little kid being disciplined by a parent when some other well-meaning adult swoops in to save them? You know what I mean, the one who says it's no problem that the kid just dumped cherry Kool-Aid all over the carpet running through the living room. It's the one who says that the child is too young to understand that interrupting an adult conversation is rude. The final message of adult number two is, don't expect anything from that poor little kid because they can't handle it. The kid learns not to take responsibility for themselves and guess what the parent who was just undermined feels? Angry. How dare you step in when I'm trying to teach my child to be a better person.
We saviors of the day doing our jobs and everyone elses are that obnoxious person.
My wisdom for the week; do what I am supposed to do well. Do my daily work at home or on the job with excellence regardless of anyone else knowing it but me. And let those around me learn excellence as well. Let them take the consequence for their errors so that someday they can experience the satisfaction of a job well done.
In short, get out of the way.
P.S. In case you still aren't getting it...No one is impressed with you/me.
I've had my share of years when my litany of pain was supposed to be the trump card that made all the difference. It was the excuse for bad tempers, laziness, fatness, a messy house and immaturity. Don't you love that stupid human trick of the pain contest? Whoever can make the longest list of grievances against life wins and gets to act like a spoiled brat.
If you can present the pain portfolio artistically enough you can even refuse to forgive present pain by being too weak and wounded to deal with it. You are hereby relieved of all requirements of the usual adult such as maturity, mercy, grace, and even responding to difficulty in a relatively calm manner. Now you are allowed to say this whenever you want to:
"I CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE!"
You can cry the ugly cry if those around you are breaking the rules and still expecting you to get over yourself. You can refuse to talk or you can screech. You can do whatever you want because you have had pain. Poor, poor baby.
It was in my late twenties or early thirties when I realized that perhaps other people might have experienced pain as well. Maybe even pain as bad or worse than my pain. May they didn't owe me a glimpse of their pain portfolio so that we could decide who got to be the official Victim.
If you believe the Bible or even have any sense, you have to acknowledge that there are people with histories that they will never reveal to you. There are just as many people right now in the middle of soul-numbing experiences that they leave at the door, greeting you with a smile.
Maybe we pain merchants who assign value and expectation by an internal formula are fools because we are not counting that which we cannot see.
There is only one fix for this economy based on whose pain is the worst pain and that is that pain is assigned no value except its achievement in the one who becomes more Christ-like in response. Will the person who claims to have lived through more hurt that Jesus please stand up? No?
Alright then, there is the measurement. Pain must create in us what it created in Christ. Any other response is that of flesh. The flesh only produces sin. And yes, we can be hurt and sin in response despite that beautiful excuse...PAIN.
The world doesn't revolve around your bellybutton. Or mine. Our pain is not the axis upon which those around us must orbit. The rules do change when we've been hurt. More is now expected of us. It is not likely to be a crucifixion of our bodies but it will be a crucifixion of our flesh.
Esther 4:14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
1. Applebee's after 9:00 p.m.; 1/2 off appetizers except the sampler. Best value, the nachos = $4.50 2. Fast food dollar menues= $1 3. Have parents whose only expectation is full-time college. Come to the realization that you can be a full-time student and be home in bed napping by 11:00 a.m. Parents are at work. Everybody's happy =$3,000/yr. tuition 4. Dollar shows =$1 5. Drive the 'rents car to save on gas = $60/tank of gas. 6. Live in the basement, save on rent = $400/month. 7. Metro PC S cell phone = $20/month. 8. When asking for money from parents (never "borrowing"); always round up to the nearest 5 = $1-4 profit. 9. The only difference between buying a ticket to a two hour movie and watching 30 U Tube videos = $8. 10. The realization that being a full-time college student living in your parent's basement is far from being poor = priceless.
There have been a few days above freezing here in metro Detroit so we Michiganders are running around in wind breakers and firing up our barbecues. Mac went to play wally ball wearing shorts and I didn't say a word, it was 48 degrees for goodness sake!
Looking out my window into my muddy snowy back yard I imagine the trees budding with green leaves and my gramma's dead dogwood blooming again. When you live around here, you approach Spring like a runner in a marathon...in February you take your stance waiting for the shot to fire so you can spring at full speed and take advantage of every moment!
I brought my plants in for the winter and the two ferns I took to my office have kind of turned into pot pourri in that they are dried out. I ignore them for weeks on end and this is what they do, stupid high maintenance ferns! The plants I brought in to the house are faring better. I will be putting my little pine tree seedlings into the ground come the thaw, probably along the front fence line on the south side of the driveway. The plants I brought home from my Grandma's funeral will need to be repotted because they are out growing their dishes. The ivy Jay brought from work for me to rehab is apparently never going back so I've adopted it. Then there's the window box that I used for my first experiment with herbs. I planted cilantro, dill, mint and lemon something or other. The cilantro and dill were pretty frail, I planted seeds late into the summer. The mint and lemon thing did well since I planted actual plants. But I'm thinking that I want different herbs this year and I know I want an actual herb garden. I did put parsley in the ground outside and it was my favorite. Every evening I'd grab a hand full to add to our salad and it was wonderful! I went to K Mart to buy some seeds but there are none in yet, when do they start stocking garden stuff?
One of the doctors at work brought in a cutting from a citronella plant for someone else to root in water. It smelled amazing! I never actually realized that was a real thing, I thought it was some kind of chemical in insect repellent! I am definitely going to plant some citronella. That will have to be in a pot so I can bring it in and enjoy the scent. Outside will be parsley, dill, cilantro, basil, mint and ?
Of course I'm also planning a vegetable garden. Last year it was on the fly, stuck in around a utility pole and with no forethought and certainly not on any time table. I kept cramming more seeds and plants into the ground until I couldn't remember what was where and it was way too late for watermelons to grow! My grande pumpkins never pumpkinated although they had lovely giant blossoms. Disappointing to be sure. And my beloved sunflowers? The Mr. week whacked them. I can't talk about that right now.
My dad built raised planters around the border of his yard, I would like to do that I think. I have a little spot between our deck and the neighbor's fence that would serve my purpose nicely and there is a water spigot right there saving me the daily hauling of 40 feet of hose to the garden. I'm imagining a horseshoe shape and this year I'm going to be ahead of the game in May when everyone else is planting their gardens so I have an actual harvest! The herb garden will be included in these raised beds I think. Perhaps sunflowers along the neighbor's fence? Maybe if they are in a raised bed the Mr. will not weed whack them. I can't talk about that right now.
This year I'll splurge on a few perennials and of course, the petunias will hang around the deck again. The pond will be reattempted and hopefully a more mature Donny will stop trying to rescue the plants by throwing them onto dry land.
I think a few rose bushes will go into the south east corner of the property line where the old shrubs need to be replaced. And a lilac bush somewhere as well, maybe two.
Of course the grape vines will fill the arbor again thanks to my cousin Tom who lovingly pruned them for us when my gramma died.
Yep, Spring is coming. The clearance sweaters and fabulous boot sales don't tempt me, I'm saving my money for seeds and flowers. Boy, I must be getting old.
Because sitting here looking at the muddy snow and bare trees soaking in the 38 degree morning, I can't imagine a better investment.
Pic: Southeast corner of the back yard when I'm considering rose bushes (will have to check about light/shade.) On the front yard side of the fence to the right of the existing shrubs I'm planning on planting my pine seedlings.
I was talking to someone a week ago and suddenly they wanted to prove to me that they could recite the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. No idea why they wanted to share it, we were talking about his childhood on a farm. It was an out of the blue moment. When he was done reciting these steps, he said something else,
"But don't listen to what I say. Watch what I do. Then you will know if I speak worthy words."
As I have struggled for control over eating, this resonated with me. It feels like indeed, the next step. Beyond wrestling with food and counting calories. Like a junky or a drunk, I come broken to God with no other ideas left. ..
1. I admitted I was powerless over my addiction - that my life had become unmanageable 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity 3. Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood God 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself 5. Admitted to God, to myself and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character 7. Humbly asked God to remove my shortcomings 8. Made a list of all persons I had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when I was wrong promptly admitted it 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God as I understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for me and the power to carry that out 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, I tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all my affairs
This past week I have concentrated on Step 1 and it's been a good week. I've stayed on plan and exercised daily. Praise the Lord, and bring on the new week!
Psalm 119:59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
*I have replaced the original "our" and "we" with first person "I" in the 12 steps.
After all these years, I have learned how to be a bride. I've thrown aside the former child bride who constantly sought affirmation of her beauty and her worth. Instead of standing before my husband like a delicate china bowl in need of filling, I now pour myself out over him. Where I once listened for the pretty words that told me I was loved, I now speak for myself.
The vulnerability of the young girl remains but it is not that born of need but of trust. Wedding gown and veil are replaced by bathrobe and pony tail now. Yes, my life is wholly in his hands. I am whole within myself now and have learned that speaking life is what draws a hedge of protection around us, not speaking death and fear. This is the purpose of marriage, to teach us in flesh what was already real in spirit. That we are the bride of Christ. The wedding of earth is a reflection of the divine, not the other way around. The bride doesn't come limping to the altar begging, "Give me a veil, pick me a bouquet, tell me how you love me." No, the bride prepares herself with carefully chosen garments and closely studied words to present herself to her groom whole and beautiful. The bride is a picture of confidence standing with head held high not to be reassured that she is treasured but to show her husband that he is worth her very best. Her vows are meant to speak the truth of her love. She is at the altar to present herself to her groom. She does not wait in a back room wondering why he has not come to find her but she marches up the aisle to take her place beside him.
The bride stands in utter joy, her back turned to her family and friends with her arm entwined with her groom's facing God to say that this is the course she has chosen for her life. Needing only to be his bride, she will always see God before her.
The other night I got into bed and said my evening prayer, "I love you." That was the first time I remember such a short conversation with God. No needs to present or praise to specify, just I love you.
Sometimes I have to say what I need, and I know it is important to speak with clarity instead of daring my husband to figure it out. "I'm unhappy, guess why?" Usually that means I don't know myself but like a petulant child, I want someone else to take my sadness away. When I talk to God I pour myself out with honesty and ask him to help me be more honest yet and so when it is time to speak of needs, I let the divine marriage be my guide. There are times that I need to praise and those times too must be spoken aloud. I tell God of my joy, my gratitude and that he is everything, enough and all to me. This too teaches me how to speak life into my husband's ear. Somehow the balance of need and praise strengthen me just in the speaking of it.
Why do I tell God my needs? Why do I praise him? Can there be a parallel in the flesh?
I've learned to be a bride, knowing that Christ set the example that while one falls, the other is willing to redeem the fallen through their own pain. I've learned that the foundation of praise convinces me that he is able to meet my needs. I've learned that the wedding isn't about me being admired but that I stand before the world sending the message that this man is worthy of my very best because it is he who is to be admired.
I've learned to say I love you before falling asleep.
And when Christ says it back, I cannot hear it aloud but it resonates through my spirit.
I have learned to hear "I love you" as the only truth that matters.
Isaiah 61:10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
So with all sincerity I am making the eternal attempt to de-fat. Slightly, ahem, older than my first foray into the defatification my motivation is a little different. I have abandoned the goal of being a hotty and pretty much just want to avoid an early death.
Meanwhile I have a work husband (don't judge me until you have a work husband. Mine is fabulous.) He is also trying to lose weight and I was telling him that I think part of my problem is that the Mr. and I are like codependent junkies, neither one tells the other one "no." And he never makes me feel ugly or fat. So here's our plan,
We are going to verbally abuse each other in order to make one another feel so bad about ourselves that we are forced to diet lest we throw ourselves from the Ambassador Bridge in shame.
Causing lots of second glances at the hospital as we walk down the hall...
"You make me sick."
"Am I blind or am I standing in the shadow of your giant butt?"
I even told the cafeteria lady not to serve him because he was a disgusting tub of lard and I couldn't stand to look at him.
So far I've done laps in the gym and been right on the diet for three days straight.
Tax season is upon us and we have not yet filed our taxes as we generally have to pay which is simply because satan hates our guts and blinds the Turbo Tax to the truth of the matter which is that we need some dollars please.
Anyway, I thought I would take today to daydream and pretend that satan did not live inside of the Turbo Tax and think about if I had a million dollars, give or take.
I would redo my family room/kitchen. Antique white cabinets, black granite counter tops and hardwood floors. Check this out, I want to put in a floor made of a bunch of different kinds of remnant hardwood planks in all different finishes. Cool, huh? Overstuffed chenille couches x 2 in dark brown and antique white paneling on the walls. Mahogany plantation blinds.
I would get me some plastic surgery and relocate the sisters north of my belly button. And why not a tummy tuck? And some lasik please. Perhaps some dental veneers. Is there such a thing as a facial veneer?
I'd knock off the top of my house and build a bedroom suite/office that extends over the first floor including the addition. Oh, and I'd put a breakfast nook off my kitchen in that weird little zone that really should have been added on to when the family room was built, I assume grampa's thriftiness was involved in the decision to stop short. He was once called a "Cheapadaskata" by a Tijuana vendor. I'd put in a privacy fence all the way around my yard and then plant various flora and fauna in front of it on my side. I'd build a potting shed type thing on the south side of my garage. I'd put on new siding in a taupeyolivy color with white shutters and black trim and replace the wrought iron porch railing with some arts & crafts Frank Lloyd Wright kind of something or other. I'd put in a stained glass window somewhere, maybe the front door. I'd put in a paver patio and take the railing off the east side of the deck and put in stairs leading to the patio. And a fire pit in the middle.
I'd buy 5 pairs of the exact same Levis. And a bunch of Gold Toe socks. And hats of various types including a raspberry beret, the kind you'd find in a second hand store.
I'd redo my basement.
I'd send Mac to school somewhere far aware forcing him to live in a dorm or at least somewhere that wasn't my house. I'd even buy him a new truck to drive there.
I'd buy hair extensions and lots of smell-goods.
I'd replace the batteries in the many watches I have that don't work.
I'd find the perfect purse.
I'd install a river in my back yard and buy goats to keep the lawn trimmed and build a petting zoo.
I'd find somewhere to store the Mr.'s bass where I couldn't see it.
I think that's all for now. Can I buy you anything?
No idea why, but this is the picture that gets to me. I have pictures of myself all dolled up and looking cute and they don't make me cringe like this one. Maybe it's because one of the most wonderful things about a healthy weight is the not needing to be dolled up to be comfortable. This was taken in 2005 at a family get-together and I had come from work. And here it is, the confession I don't want to make, thirty pounds lighter. I never said it could never happen, and sure enough...
As much as I hate this, I have zero motivation for Weight Watchers right now even though I know it works for me. I made an attempt at going back a month or so ago and just can't catch the wave. No argument about needing to, just being honest with you. I don't know what I was thinking. Well, yes I do. I was virtually starving to maintain my goal weight of 150 pounds. I let myself creep up to near 160 and felt, I could live with that. However, I didn't level out and maintain. Now I'm at that size that I had formerly said was the borderline where I crossed into fat. I'm fat again.
If you wonder why I'm writing this or why I haven't written it sooner; it's because I need to feel the weight (figuratively and literally) to start myself back toward control. I have tried to convince myself that it was only a small increase and that most people probably didn't notice. I know, you noticed. I can see my butt from my front. My wedding ring is snug. I'm on my second generation of bigger jeans (just one pair until I get back down.) Back to trying on my clothes ahead of time to be sure they fit. Back to avoiding people who haven't seen me in a while. Back to making jokes about being fat to let people know I'm aware and ok with it. LIES.
I have capris pants and shorts that will not fit me when warm weather rolls around if I don't get it together.
So there it is, my confession. I am too humbled to make any grand statements about my weight and plan to diet. Just pray for me.
There should not be so much good in my life that is lost in the shadow of my appetite.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I've been in a supervisory role at work for a few years. My boss recently moved on to a different position so now we're looking for someone to replace her, my boss. I've spoken with the "head hunter" and of course, all of us are exchanging thoughts about what we need or want in the person who will next be top dog.
Today I was talking about who I might like to work with and my co-worker challenged me with his thoughts. His ideas were valid and if anything, I'm less certain than ever about what we need. My former director was a great mentor, personally engaged in my growth as a nurse and a great clinician. In other words, I saw her as the best nurse in the hospital. And I knew this because she was right in there, hands on, when there was something going on.
On the other hand, she was one of those high energy & impulsive people who always has ten projects going at once. Some would be completed after she stayed up late and came in early working ridiculous hours. Some projects were so continuously changing shape that at any given point half of our work became irrelevant and we felt like we were starting over. AND some of those projects are still in process two months after she's started her new job!
Most of the direct patient care staff have two basic demands; that the person is willing and able to be hands on in the field and that the person makes them feel valued and appreciated.
My strength as a supervisor is clinical, I like working on the floor with patients. I love finding ways to continuously improve the way we do our jobs. I'm less enthusiastic about admin part; paper work, meetings, committees, requisitions...blah. It's my weakness.
So what kind of boss do you need? Someone who can do your job right alongside of you and is willing to step in and lend a hand when you need it? Someone who stays out of your way and keeps the ship afloat? Do you care if you feel appreciated and valued as long as you're getting a paycheck?
What makes a good boss?
P.S. One of my favorite people at work is also someone I have occasion to supervise. On a regular basis he tells me, "The problem around here is we have too many middle managers." Guess what I am?
Philipians 1:19-21 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
The other day, a Saturday, the Mr. and I got our weekend chores done and had the afternoon in front of us to do with what we pleased. I had gotten a gift card to the movies and so it was decided; lunch and a matinee. We chose a movie (The Taken) and we chose a restaurant (PF Chang's). Both located at our local mall (FairlaneTowncenter.) Perfect...until.
The Mr. wonders if we should see if daboyz want to come along! For crying out loud, they are 19 and 20 years old and one of them lives on his own! Can we not go to the movies and out to lunch alone? All inside of my head. Out of my mouth came something much more maternal, "I'm sick of them."
Sunday night found us gathered with my parents watching the Superbowl surrounded by chicken wings and chili and various other munchies. Why? Because we are such a football family? Except for the Mr., no we are not a football family. But because several years ago my dad threw a lasso around the Superbowl and made it a family "holiday." And why chicken and chili? Because those Daboyz insist!
The same reason that we sat in horizontal rain on crumbling bleachers watching football eating Pringles. The same reason we froze our nether regions walking around Greenfield Village eating chest nuts roasted on an open fire a few Christmases back. The same reason we start coordinating our vacation requests in January for the July Lewiston trip.
The same reason we spend at least half of the warm summer evenings around here gathered around one of our back yard barbecues together (my sister's, my parent's or ours.)
As a mom I have spent what sometimes feels like more than enough moments with my kids. More than enough days and nights of tending to details that were all mine to fret over like dentist appointments and science fair projects and do we have enough diapers to last until pay day and have I mentioned, "how much do you need to spend for groceries?" Honestly, I love them from the very depths of my soul but at this point with the promise of a movie and date without daboyz, I am not sharing one more bucket of popcorn! Well, at least not today!
That's why God made the menfolk of this family. They were in no way absentee dads or grandpas in the old days, but they didn't get worn out with dirty dishes and thirty cupcakes for school and I believe this left them with enough energy to take us forward by insisting on new moments to replace the bed time stories and games of peek-a-boo that used to count for quality time. Now my dad and the Mr. are continually organizing and planning in advance or on the fly to be together as a family.
I'm grateful that I can finally say, "I'm sick of them." but know that our moments didn't end with high school commencements. The landscape has changed and little boys in car seats do the heavy lifting for a dad and grandpa growing older. In the subtle mystery of God's creation, my dad has begun to call his grandsons over when he needs a hand with the very things he used to teach them. Our baby boy clears the snow before his dad gets home from work.
And love teaches us all to create the todays and tomorrows that grow from yesterdays well tended.
Pic: 2005, One of many autumn days in the bleachers watching high school football.
Pray with me, if you will. In the middle of ironing my work clothes a thought scurried across my brain; where are my pink & silver earrings? I'm thirsty. I need to go in early tomorrow. I wonder if we should minister to _____?
It's been a while since I've been involved with teaching and counseling and it's been ok that it's been a while. No burning desire to get back to it. And still, no burning desire to minister to____. Just a gentle thought. Not even a burning bush. Or shrub.
The _______ is a particular population of people that seem to fall through the cracks of Christianity. This is because their actions leave victims and while we rush to bandage the wounds of those they hurt, we ignore the wounds of ______. I think maybe the Mr. and I have been given the bandages for ______.
I am not going to reveal more than that right now. I'm just going to pray and tell God that if this is what he wants me to do, I will do it. I already love __________, as does the Mr. We already spend much time talking about, worrying about and praying about _______. Maybe it's time to put a foundation under it all?
Pray for us. And pray for ___________. God will fill in the blank.
It is, I think, the foolish person who takes trust lightly.
It is either the heart of wisdom or evil that takes it seriously.
When someone says, "I trust you," we might think that the action implied is on the part of the one who expresses the trust. Not so. The trust of another person says to me, I must now be even more than I was before the statement was made. It's easy to say that trust is earned, but beyond that is where things become remarkable; when trust is kept.
The foolish person tosses trust in the direction of everyone who is kind to them. Or someone they wish to be friends with. Or simply because the person wears a title that seems to encompass trust like pastor, wife, friend, brother, sister, parent. The foolish person who receives trust and treats it as though it were bullet-proof replaces the sacred with the arrogant. As soon as we are trusted, we are changed into something more than we are and must now lean toward earning such an honor.
The evil person (although no one is ever truly evil are they? smirk.), takes trust and uses it like a thief uses a door left open when homeowners are away. They must trust that this is a safe neighborhood to leave their door open. And so evil says that the one who drops his guard deserves whatever they get. The action of trust is thrown back on the person who trusted and any consequence is theirs.
The wise person, however, lives with integrity and receives trust as the natural response to their lives. And when this wise person is told, "I trust you," something in them raises the standard even higher. Now that I have earned your trust, it is a greater responsibility to keep it.
The foolish person receives trust lightly and thinks it cannot be lost.
This is why the world cannot see Christ. The essence of knowing him is trust in this Savior who cannot be seen, heard or touched. We much teach trust by earning it and keeping it. From human trust the road is not so far to faith.
Every year around this time I see Spring peaking around the corner. I remember the first time this happened to me, I was laying in bed one morning dreading hauling my self into the cold air when I heard a bird chirping outside my window. It caught my attention because I had not heard a bird chirping for months. Then I noticed the sun was shining when I drove to work, and it was a little brighter a little later in the day. When you live in Michigan you measure the sun in minutes per day and appreciate every one of them! Last year when Spring started to appear like a tiny figure on the horizon, I was already living in this new old house. It wasn't ours yet and it wore more of my grandparent's fingerprints than ours. We still hadn't had the yard sale to clear out the stuff no one laid claim to, much of the stuff people did lay claim to still lined the shelves and walls. Actually we moved in in March so Spring was actually closer than it is now. But it was living in my gramma and grampa's house for sure. And actually, it was good for me. My grandparents played a huge role in my life and the letting go might have not been so sweet from our old old house. Little by little, we began to show ourselves around the rooms. Computers and televisions moved in. As did a dog (gasp.) Pictures came down from the walls and were quietly leaned against the Queen Ann sofa in the living room, which had become the unofficial Eleanor & Bob Room. Items were boxed and put in the middle of the floor and the family room was rearranged. Flow Blue china went to my mom's house and rustic crockery replaced it. But still, it was my grandparent's house gone willy nilly with our belongings scattered around. The sun shined brighter and brighter and the birds became common enough to not catch my attention first thing in the morning. And the seasons changed. And the days, like in Genesis, passed. And it was good. This year the storage/living room with the light blue sofa only vaguely reflects its former self. Ivory walls no more, the C.S. Lewis room has deep golden walls with a lighter buttery yellow in the alcove. The formal furniture is gone replaced with dark brown sofas and the creamy damask drapes are packed away replaced with slate blue crinkly sheers on iron rods. The similarly appointed bedroom with creamy walls is now pistachio but the furniture inherited from my grandma now feels like ours and not a sleep over from childhood. The blue and white bathroom is sweet pea green with black cabinetry and stark white trim, cobalt blue accents that will change to some other color (yellow?) with Spring's official arrival The family room and kitchen will be slower to evolve as finances ultimately pace our renovations but in the meantime, our lemon dishes are now in the cupboards and our brightly colored print of an African American church service now hangs above the fireplace. Candles burn on the table tops in the evenings as the Mr. and I snuggle up on our second hand pillow back sofa to watch Netflix movies. So, Spring was heard in the voice of songbirds this morning and the sun slanted through the blinds bright enough to make me squint when I opened the drapes. Nothing special except the miracle of seasons of families and houses and nature quietly walking forward into the next season; some predictable (the weather will eventually warm up!) and some unexpected (will the Mr. have his automotive industry job when the sun begins to creep away again?) I know that today I'm writing in the same vein that I seem to fall into, call it sappy or simply a rerun. But for me, it is a moment of praise to God for his goodness and unchanging faithfulness to me. Without the always new miracle of seeing his glory in the ordinary, I would be distracted by myself and the gray hair and wrinkles that appear with the songbirds! In Him, I can welcome age knowing that the passage of times brings a greater awareness of all that He is and the promises that He always keeps. Gray hair reflected in Spring sunshine noticed despite sub-freezing temperatures can make you smile if you listen hard for the song of life in the background.
Ecclesiastes 8:15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.
Psalm 22: 26-28 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him-may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.