Quote ~ from the movie Parenthood



Grandma: "You know, when I was 19, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick so excited and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out if it."




Friday, June 22, 2012

Wisdom

What if life had a rewind button?  What if you could go back and do it all again?  Would you do it differently than you did?  Would you change some things and leave others the same?  Have you thought about how your life would be different if you had made different choices?  If you could go back and have someone sit you down and impart one or several pieces of wisdom, would you have them do it?  If so what would you want them to tell you about?

Think about these questions; think how you would answer them.  You are in a very unique situation, no matter what age you are; you probably have regrets as well as successes.  Share your regrets, your successes and your wisdom with a teen, even if they don’t seem to be interested or they act as if they know it all already, they want to hear what you have to say!  They desperately want to know that you care.  Take some time to write them a letter, take them to lunch, give them your ear, they want to know that adults are listening, advising and have their best interest at heart.  Teens desperately want to feel loved, want to belong and want someone to share themselves with them.  If you don’t do it, who will fill that void?  Who will be imparting their wisdom to them?  Is it the wisdom you want the teen in your life listening to?  Take some time to love a teen, get involved in their lives, let them know how much you care about them; they need it and want it!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Broken

I live in a house with five kids, a dog and a cat.  All of my children were blessed (or maybe it’s cursed) with one of the Director’s genes in particular, this gene makes me crazy.  It’s called the “rough, hard, break it, destructive” gene.  The dog and the cat are particularly sturdy animals; they have to be in order to survive our house.  Therefore, they too were endowed with a “rough, hard, break it, destructive” gene.

Yesterday, I tried to perform a very simple task; it should have taken no longer than a few minutes.  I wanted to download an audio book to my NOOK for The Middle Child, she has a concussion and needs to be resting, doing quiet tasks.  Normally the longest part of this undertaking is finding the book you want to listen to.  Not so in this case.  I found the books, downloaded them to the computer in record time.  However, when I went to connect my NOOK to the computer no dice!  UUGGHH!  OK, try again, and again and again!  Repeated attempts before bellowing for Oldest to come help me!  After a cross-examination in a condescending tone from him, we get NO WHERE!  Never mind, I’ll call the Director!  Conversation with the Director follows the same grilling suit I just had with Oldest.  UUGGHH!  Never mind I’ll figure this out myself!

The Director did inform me before we hung up that the USB port in the front of the computer is broken; if the other two ports on the printer or hard drive don’t work try lifting the plug in a certain manner and it might work.  “You’re joking? Right?” I think to myself, you’re a Senior IT Director and this is your solution?!  I’ve said it more than once, thank God I’m not married to a plumber or I wouldn’t have a working toilet in the house!

Finally, after numerous attempts and with The Organized Child driving the mouse we managed to get the whole book onto my NOOK.  This was only after I stood on my head, held my nose, fully exhaled, closed one eye and hummed Dixie while I held the plug in just the right place of course.  After I delivered the NOOK to The Middle Child in bed, I exhaled deeply and dropped my shoulders. 

Of course I didn’t handle the situation well, no poise in me, at all, again this time!  I ranted, I raved, I cursed and swore, I yelled at the little ones, Oldest and The Director.  “Just once I would like to see something go right!  Just once I would like something easy to go easy!  Why is everything in this house broken?!  Can’t we have anything in this house that isn’t broken?!  Why do you all have to break everything we have?!  Why?  Why?  Why?” and the tirade went on and on!

When it was all said and done, I felt like I had just done battle with a dragon!  Such an ordeal for something that should have been so easy, and not one ounce of grace came forth from me!  As I went to the kitchen to make lunch all the broken things in my house were reeling though my head.  I stewed, everything is broken, or marred in some way, and I went through the list in my head:  dishwasher – check, sink – check, cabinet – check, and the list went on and on and on.  I finally surmised that I live in a BROKEN HOUSE!

Then in my head, I heard quite clearly “Yep, you sure do, it’s the perfect place for a broken person.”  Now I don’t mean that it was a condescending your broken and no good.  No, it was your broken, you have past hurts and sorrows and pains that need healing and love.  I began to think, what if I didn’t live in a broken house with kids who didn’t have the “rough, hard, break it, destructive” gene?  What if my house looked like something from Southern Living?  Would I be able to relate to a God who fixes and mends broken hearts and sorrows?  Would I understand Him to be a Father that takes the broken toy and repairs it?  Or takes the drooping flower of a sick child, like George Bailey does and makes it better?




Truthfully, I can relate to George Bailey in a lot of ways lately!  (When I think of the post on the stairway, frankly I’d rather fix it like Clark Griswold than kiss it like George Bailey.)


Maybe like George Bailey I’m getting a second look at my life, not with the guidance of an angel but through the mess and brokenness in our house.


I love the line in Parenthood right before Grandma’s roller coaster story.  Gil has just found out his wife is pregnant with their fourth child.  They are going back and forth, Gil is focusing on all the negative what ifs, Karen asks Gil “what do you want guarantees?  There children not appliances”, then she tells him, “Life is messy”.  He replies “I hate messy.  It’s so messy!



I hate messy too!  I hate broken things and mess!  Maybe because it reminds me of the state of my soul and being.  But, what if my outer life wasn’t’ broken and messy, would I even begin to realize that my soul was broken and messy?  And, if I didn’t know would I be concerned enough about my relationship with God to work towards deepening that relationship with Him?  Would I need Him?  Because right now I NEED Him!  I desperately NEED Him!

As hard as it is to admit, maybe I am right where He wants me to be.  Because, I know with every fiber of my being, that when things are going really good in my life God is not in the forefront of my mind!  I rely on ME and I think that I am in control; I have on my rose colored glasses and see life as only I want to.  But, when things are not going according to plan after my pouting its Him that I turn to, Him that I cry out to, He is the one who I need.  I can’t do it without Him, why I can’t get that through my thick skull, is beyond me?!

Last week I helped to direct VBS at our church the theme of the week was Trusting in God.  Each day brought a new Trust God Bible Point, overall the theme was No Matter What…Trust God!  I’m a slow learner, but I am learning that through the mess and brokenness in my life I need to trust God no matter what!  Even if I am standing knee deep in mess and broken things!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Decoration Day ~ Memorial Day, Who are You Thinking of this Weekend?

I dedicate this post to my Grandfather and to the Organized Child’s Godfather, thank you for your love and dedication to this country!



I have not written in quite awhile because my life has gotten rather hectic and sometimes overwhelming.  But on this eve of Memorial Day, I feel compelled to write something.  Friday night we took a friend to the Magic Kingdom.  He hadn’t been in awhile and he will be leaving for the seminary soon, so we thought it would be fun to go.  We mostly rode rides and saw things he had never done before, one being the Hall of Presidents.


I love the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot; it does a great job of telling the story of the United States in a short half hour presentation.  So, I figured I haven’t been to the Hall of Presidents since I was a kid, I’ll bet it will be a lot like the American Adventure Pavilion, let go see it.  I have never subjected my children to the almost half hour presentation because truth be told I HATED going to the Hall of Presidents when I was a kid!  I thought it was beyond boring!  I didn’t care that it was air conditioned and it got you out of the over 90 degree heat for almost a half an hour, I HATED it!  Therefore I figured my kids would hate it too.  Since it was only the Director, Oldest, the Organized Child and our friend, I thought if it’s as bad as I remember they can suck it up and get over it, at least we will have cooled off!

Obviously I DID NOT pay attention to the presentation when I was a kid, like the American Adventure Pavilion  the Hall of Presidents is an excellent presentation.  It is a great portrayal of our past presidents.  It gives wonderful history and inspires patriotism.  And that’s where my post begins.  I’m sorry to say, I think we are really lacking patriotism in this country!  We got a boost in the arm after 9/11, who wouldn’t?!  But, sadly our chaotic, busy lives have taken over and patriotic apathy is once again the way of life.

Memorial Day has become just another day off of work, marking the beginning of summer, offering an excuse to barbecue and drink beer.  We have forgotten the origins and true meaning of this day.  Towns used to have parades and ceremonies remembering ALL of those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, their life, for their country, the United States of America!  They died for our freedoms, something I think too many of us take for granted today, me included!


So, I would like to offer the story behind Decoration Day, as it was once called, and some statistics of the loss of life for our freedoms in hopes of reinvigorating some true patriotism and pride for our country, the United States of America!

My favorite origin story of Decoration Day (Memorial Day) as there claim to be many (see above Decoration Day link) comes from one of my favorite books Mrs. Sharp's Traditions: Nostalgic Suggestions for Re-Creating the Family Celebrations and Seasonal Pastimes of the Victorian Home by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  It goes like this.

            Let us return to Columbus, Mississippi, in the spring of 1866. The Civil War has been over for a year, yet Union soldiers still occupy the town. The fires of passion and prejudice that had consumed over 500,000 American lives between 1861 and 1865 still smolder in bitterness behind closed doors.

Jut outside of Columbus is a cemetery where both Confederate and Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Shiloh are buried. On April 25, 1866, four young women pay a visit to the cemetery to tend the graves of lost loved ones and decorate them with memorial garlands of flowers.

After decorating the Confederate graves, the women walk over to a small plot where forty Union soldiers are buried. Gently they scatter Southern Magnolia blossoms on the Northern graves. The news of this unselfish, compassionate gesture spreads quickly and touches everyone. Newspaper editorials praise this act of reconciliation and urge the nation to come together to mourn both "the Blue and the Gray."

Soon in many small towns all over the country, people were gathering at Civil War cemeteries and holding commemorative or "Memorial Day" services. Afterward, there would be parades led by a brass band, the volunteer fire brigade, and a review to honor America's veterans. Following the parade and patriotic orations, there would be a community picnic on the town common.

During the late 19th century, Decoration Day was a major American holiday and was celebrated with even more fanfare than Independence Day. This was because the Civil War had touched or altered nearly every one's life.

Ironically, however, even though the country came together in spirit to honor America's war dead, the North and South still managed to commemorate independently. In 1868, General John A. Logan, commander in chief of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic, a union veteran's organization), designated May 30 as Memorial Day, while the Daughters of the Confederacy held firm with the term Decoration Day and the date of April 26. Today, Memorial Day is recognized as a day of honoring all of those who fought wars and is legally observed on the last Monday in May.

(Source:  "Mrs. Sharp's Traditions" by: Sarah Ban Breathnach)

There were some excellent web sites for information concerning American military casualties but the one I found to be the most helpful was History guy.com.  After review of his site and several other history sites I came up with a total of approximately 1,227,412 people who gave their lives in combat for this country!  That number does not include non-military people who died defending our freedoms, people who died while in the service of this country in a non-combat situation, those missing in action or those wounded in the service of their country.  That is the approximate population of San Antonio Texas!  They gave their lives for you and me to live freely in this country!  Many of them didn’t have to, they chose to!  They chose to.



What are you willing to do for our freedoms?!  Have you seriously thought about this?  Have you thought of all the people who have died in the service to this country?  What about their families and friends, the people who loved them and lost them?  So, again what are you willing to do for your freedom and the honor that comes with living in this country?

Are you willing to really learn your American history?  How about going above what the schools are teaching your children and teach them yourselves of our true American history?  What would it take for you to over flow with American pride?  Will you get out and vote this year, and honor those that gave their life for our right to vote?  Especially you women?  Do you have any idea what people like Susan B. Anthony did for us?!  I don’t ask these questions to chastise!  I ask them in hope of igniting a fire that grows and spreads.  I ask them because I was not taught my U. S. History!  I sat in a class bored out of my mind because I didn’t have a teacher that cared enough to inspire me!  To teach me to carry on the torch that so many before me carried!  My knowledge of U. S. history was and still is pathetic!  I was robbed of the opportunity to really learn about this great country that I was privileged enough to be born into!  I was not taught to be a patriot!  Patriotism is learned!  It is learned by educating ourselves and our children about our history.  It is never too late to learn about the history of this country.  We can learn from our mistakes as well as our successes.  We owe it to ourselves, our children and those who fought for our freedoms to learn everything we can about this great country and its origins!

And then, we need to act.  Because as Mark Twain says to Ben Franklin in the American Adventure Pavilion presentation, “My dear doctor, earlier you found John Steinbeck so inspiring, but he also sounded this warning.  "We now face the danger, which in the past has been the most destructive to the humans: Success, plenty, comfort and ever increasing leisure.  No dynamic people has ever survived these dangers."”  So, we need to thank our service men and women and their families for their sacrifices and all they do for this country.  We need to get out and vote in every election!  We can not sit back and be apathetic and lazy while a handful of people make the decisions in this country.  You have a voice use it!  We need to really learn what is going on and figure out what we truly believe!  Don’t be lemmings and follow the masses because everyone else is doing it!  Don’t let Hollywood and the media make your decisions for you!

God has called us ALL to greatness!  We are individuals, let’s act on that greatness and individuality by learning everything we can about the history or our country, the current events and issues at hand and make informed decisions and then take action.  Be a patriot!  Love your country!  Remember our veterans, active military personnel and all those lost in the service of this country.  Get a US flag and proudly display it.  Vote!  Find a Memorial Day and 4th of July parade to attend every year, even if it means driving a bit to get to it.  Listen to patriotic music.  And finally pray, pray and pray some more, pray for our leaders, for our service men and women, for their families, for veterans, and for patriotism to swell up in the heart of every American!

For you were called for freedom, brothers.  But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love.
                                                                                    Galatians 5:13

Need some inspiration, check these out.





These sites list some excellent movies about American history they are quite eclectic and several of them overlap.  I’ve seen a lot of the movies and agree they are great movies and they will definitely inspire you.





I would add a few my personal favorites to those lists





Let music inspire some patriotism.

  • "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" - Toby Keith
  • America -Neil Diamond
  • "Only In America" - Brooks & Dunn
  • "God Bless the USA" - Lee Greenwood
  • "Some Gave All" - Billy Ray Cyrus
  • “Born in the U.S.A." - Bruce Springsteen
  • "America, the Beautiful" - Ray Charles
  • "Travelin' Soldier" -The Dixie Chicks
  • America the Beautiful
  • America
  • My Country 'Tis of Thee
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • God Bless America
  • God Bless the USA
  • Halls of Montezuma
  • The Stars and Stripes Forever
  • The Star-Spangled Banner
  • Yankee Doodle

GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.!









Monday, March 19, 2012

Match! Can I Get a Match Here?!

I’m not a big fan of Barbie dolls.  While my daughter has a couple of them (given to her as gifts), I personally think the unrealistic bodies of Barbie dolls, all the extreme accessories (houses, sports cars, RVs, spas etc.), and the immodest clothing can be damaging to a little girls self-esteem and create unrealistic views about life.  I did like the pregnant Midge doll, Barbie’s friend, which was reintroduced with a pregnant tummy and newborn baby.  While I’m not sure how Mattel feels about this and I know this doll created a lot of controversy, I looked at the doll as a pro-life and pro-mommy endorsement.  With that said I don’t want you to think I’m down on little girls playing with dolls, fantasizing about growing up or role playing.  I just feel that little girls need positive and more realistic role models.

Get Real Gabi: pitching for soccer.

I am a much bigger fan of Get Real Girl dolls.  “The dolls are made to look like real girls, to act like real girls and to let real girls know that there is more to growing up than wearing tight clothes, lounging by the pool and finding a fraternity-bound boyfriend.
   Jana Machin, president and CEO of the company, explains: "they're about a lot of things, but the important thing is that they are designed for today's girls. They play sports, they are active, they are interested in travel. They have pets.””.1  
Unfortunately, the company isn’t in business any more, which really frustrates me as I think they are great role models for little girls!  Every now and again you can get them on eBay along with accessories.  If you have little girls I highly recommend them.


Anyway, to get to the point of my post.  In our house, lots of toys and clothes are passed down.  The younger three kids sadly, have gotten mix matched things, worn out things and in the case of the Get Real Girl dolls some broken things.  Despite some of our Get Real Girls only having half an arm or leg and the manly, sportsman, Ken/G.I. Joe style dolls I bought, are missing appendages they are played with quite often.  In our mix of mismatched dolls and clothing there is also a Jessie (from Toy Story 2), Barbie style doll and a Captain Jack Sparrow Barbie doll.  While my girls prefer to re-dress the dolls repeatedly and only role play with them occasionally, The Little Man loves to dress them minimally (I think mainly because he doesn’t quite have the dexterity mastered yet and it’s difficult for him) and role play much more.












The other day the three youngest were playing very well together, for a fair amount of time with no bickering or being loud*.  They were playing with the Get Real Girls and other miscellaneous dolls.  Dressing, re-dressing, bringing them to me to show me the new outfits they had created and a little bit of imaginative play.  I was relishing in the little bit of peaceful time this allowed me.  I was doing something for myself, but I stopped every time they brought me a newly accessorized doll, I would OOH and AAH at what they had created and asked questions about where the dolls were going etc. 

After awhile The Little Man comes in carrying not a man doll, his usual choice for play, but one of the Get Real Girl dolls.  She was dressed in a helmet (one of the man dolls accessories), her bra and underwear (another reason I love Get Real Girls, their underwear is painted on, they are always modest!), and Captain Jack Sparrow’s knee high boots.  She was carrying a picnic basket in one hand and a baseball bat in the other.  He held her up high for me to see.  He was beaming from ear to ear, proud of what he had accomplished, dressing this doll.  I commented on what a great job he had done with the boots, helmet, and baseball bat and picnic basket.  But, I had to ask where her clothes were.

So there is something I feel I need to share before I give you his reply.  Over the years of child rearing, baby-sitting and being around my siblings I have made some observations.  One of them is, that most kids, regardless of how they are being raised, and what their influences are, have there own ideas and opinions on things.  My stuntman brother decided early on in his career (three or four years old) that shoe laces in shoes and overalls were for babies.  Therefore he REFUSED to wear overalls and took all the shoe laces out of his shoes (this is pre-Velcro days people!).  Like the Stuntman, The Little Man who is almost four has his own ideas on clothing and style.  He has this immense need to match everything!  His clothes, his eating utensils, school work, sheets, whatever.  Sometimes he truly can match things for himself well.  While other times, his idea of matching is so far off, he looks like an old golfer, with Phyllis Diller’s sense of style. 




Where this attitude came from I have no idea. Unless we are going to church, and even that has a lot of leeway, I have never pushed any of my kids to match or be perfectly dressed.  It is much more important to me that they have a sense of accomplishment by picking out their own clothes and getting dressed themselves, than it is that they match or look perfectly pressed.  I know many people would disagree with me, but I feel it is important to build up there self-esteem and individuality early on.  My only concerns when it comes to clothing are, that it’s modest and that they don’t look like Pigpen.  So, this obsession with The Little Man’s “matching” is a little odd to me.

Back to the Get Real Girl dressed in a helmet, her bra and underwear and Captain Jack Sparrow’s knee high boots, carrying the picnic basket in one hand and a baseball bat in the other.  I looked at the doll and asked “So, Bud, I like her helmet and boots, but where’s the dollies clothes?”  He looked at me, as if the answer was so completely obvious and replied, “I not find an outfit to match da helmet!” and went on his merry way.

Now there is nothing wrong with matching things, and looking nice is important but when it gets in the way of life it can turn into a problem.  The Little Man has had many a break-down over having to wear something or use something that he sees as not matching.  And, in the case of the doll, it is only a doll and he is only three but at some point he needs to learn that going out in a helmet, bra and underwear, knee high boots, carrying a picnic basket in one hand and a baseball bat in the other, just isn’t acceptable.

As I think about him and his attitudes, I begin to wonder if God isn’t using The Little Man yet again to teach me something important.  I wonder, do I have attitudes that seem mostly innocent and quirky, but because of my strong attachment to them, they get in my way?  Do I have attitudes that could turn into inappropriate beliefs down the road?  What attitudes or beliefs, right or wrong, do I have that are holding me back or hindering me from receiving God’s eternal love, blessings and grace?  I certainly know I can throw a tantrum or pout because I think something should be done a certain way or because I think my friends or family should change their attitude and beliefs to be in line with mine.  Am I missing out on relationships with others and a deeper relationship with God because of this?  I have to wonder how much better off I might be if I would let go a bit, give in some and be open to God showing me how to truly “match”!  After all it says in John, chapter 3 verse 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his ONLY begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Emphasis mine)

If God loves me like St. Augustine says “God loves each of us, as if there were only one of us.”  Shouldn’t I trust that He knows what is best for me right now in my life?!  Why do we get so attached to our ideas and attitudes?  Why is it so hard to just let go and let God?  I truly hope that God will call me OUT when I bring a half naked Barbie doll to show Him and when He asks where its clothes are I say “I not find an outfit to match da helmet!”

1.  Get Real Girl Doll quote and picture taken from http://info.hktdc.com/imn/02032203/toys14.htm

*We have a plaque in our home that reads:
                In Our House
                We do second chances
                We say prayers
                We do I’m sorry’s
                We do loud really well
                We give hugs
                We do love
                We are family
And boy do we do loud REALLY well!

Picture of Phyllis Diller taken from http://www.lewrockwell.com/rogers/rogers43.html
Picture of Pigpen taken from http://www.peanuts.com/characters/

Thursday, March 15, 2012

HELP! The Water is Encircling Me, Pulling Me Down!

Sometimes I feel like God is on hiatus, taking a break, especially from all of my complaining and “HELP ME NOW” prayers.  Do you ever feel like that?  Do you wonder where He is and what He’s doing while you are barely hanging on, ready to drown, at any moment?  I do!  A lot lately!  I feel like Job and I are long lost relatives.

Song lyrics describing how I feel have been spinning around in my head lately.  Like Steven Curtis Chapman’s Cinderella opening lyrics (emphasis mine),

She spins and she sways
To whatever song plays
Without a care in the world

And I'm sitting here wearing
The weight of the world on my shoulders

It's been a long day
And there's still work to do

She's pulling at me
Saying "Dad, I need you

There's a ball at the castle
And I've been invited
And I need to practice my dancing
Oh, please, Daddy, please?"

And, Jars of Clay Flood,

Rain, rain on my face
It hasn't stopped raining for days
My world is a flood
Slowly I become one with the mud

[Chorus:]

But if I can't swim after forty days
and my mind is crushed by the thrashing waves
Lift me up so high that I cannot fall
Lift me up
Lift me up - when I'm falling
Lift me up - I'm weak and I'm dying
Lift me up - I need you to hold me
Lift me up - Keep me from drowning again

Downpour on my soul
Splashing in the ocean, I'm losing control
Dark sky all around
I can't feel my feet touching the ground

[Chorus]

Calm the storms that drench my eyes
Dry the streams still flowing
Cast down all the waves of sin
And guilt that overthrow me

[Chorus]

Lift me up - when I'm falling
Lift me up - I'm weak and I'm dying
Lift me up - I need you to hold me
Lift me up - Keep me from drowning again


Just about the time I get ready to throw my hands in the air and yell out “Where in the heck are you lately?!  Don’t you see I’m drowning down here?!  I can’t take any more!  I don’t care if you think I can!  I can’t!  I am not as strong as you think I am!  Enough already!!!”  Guess what?  He sends me something, a song, a blog post, a friends phone call, a bit of wisdom from one of my children, a passage in a book, a story on TV, something that lets me know He, the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, the one and only Almighty, gets it!  He knows what I’m going through!  And, get this, He cares!  I AM NOT ALONE in all this!  He, my GOD is right there with me, every step of the way.  Most of the time I just need to get out of my own way and I would be a lot better off!

I was told last night that I need to stop focusing on the negative lately and thank God for all my blessings.  Gratitude opens the flood gates of grace!  I know this!  I know that I know this!  I forget, in all the mess of life, I forget!  What is wrong with me?  I have more blog posts on what I need to do, how I have forgotten or failed yet again, than I do on my victories.  Am I really that bad off or is it that I need to write in order to remember and solidify my commitment yet again?

Today I read a wonderful post from the blog that really jump started my desire to blog, A Holy Experience.  It was titled What to Do When You feel like a Loser… let me tell you it hit me right between the eyes!  It was just what I needed!

My lent has not gone according to my plans this year.  I love where Ann says

Whoever had the crazy idea that Lent was for the good who were forsaking some lush little luxury?  Lent’s for the messes, the mourners, the muddled — for the people right lost. Lent’s not about making anybody acceptable to a Savior — but about making everybody aware of why they need a Savior….  “See how these fingers can angle — how they can bend in surrender to Him.  And if you lay the other index finger across, pick up your cross and follow Him– there it is — there’s the sign to wear, the sign showing the way out of a mess: “A” – amazing.  She has to know this, that the word, “amaze,” it comes from the act of wandering in a maze, to be bewildered, overwhelmed with wonder — amaze.  The losers, the ones lost in the labyrinth of life, are the ones made amazing – by the One who solves the mazes of life.  I touch her cheek, “In Him, you are already amazing.”  She blushes and I laugh, nod my head yes, insisting to this daughter who has to know her Father’s heart for her now because of the Son.  “In the flesh, you’re a mess.  In Christ, you amaze.”  I sign the “A” over her and Christ with the scars, He marks her.  “You’re already amazing.”

I imagine she’s speaking straight to me!  Words I so needed to hear!  The losers, the ones lost in the labyrinth of life, are the ones made amazing – by the One who solves the mazes of life.   In Him, you are already amazing.”  To know He will solve the mazes of life.  To know that in the flesh I AM an ABSOLUTE MESS!  But in Him I amaze.

God speaks to me when I write.  As I write these words a new song pops in my head, Matthew West’s Strong Enough.

You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough, strong enough
For both of us

Well maybe
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
That's when I start looking up
And reaching out

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough, strong enough

Cause I'm broken down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to one thing
You are God and you are strong when
I am weak

I can do all things through Christ who
Gives me strength
And I don't have to be strong enough (2x)

I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough, strong enough

I am affirmed!  I am strong enough!  I CAN handle ALL I’m given, BUT, only through Him and with His grace.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.                                                     Ephesians 1:3
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
                                                                   Philippians 4:13

Friday, February 17, 2012

Valentine's Day Part 4

Back to my dilemma, this year I guess it’s a case of bad timing.  Valentine’s Day came at the wrong time or maybe it’s the fight that came at the wrong time.  Either way I’m not feeling overly lovey or connected and I don’t feel like giving a mushy card!  So, what to do?  Well, after some long thought and reading some more stuff on the subject of “act-as-if” I’ve learned, and have come to realize that I don’t act “act-as-if” in most aspects of my life.  Like the speaker and author Mike Robbins says “although I understand the concept of "acting as if" … about how we have the power to create our own reality, in certain areas of my life - especially the ones that are most important to me or the ones where I feel the most cynical and resigned, I often pay "lip service" to acting as if, while simply hoping things will get better, worrying that they won't, or allowing the outcome to determine how optimistic or pessimistic my outlook and approach will be.
This has been a sobering, but important realization … There is a big difference between knowing something and living it.”

After reflecting on this I decided that at least for Valentine’s Day to “act-as-if” The Director and I are both on a high, that we are deeply connected, and that we have resolved all past hurts and arguments, that life despite being a huge mess right now, isn’t!  I’m giving him a silly card that states “Are you thinking of me on Valentine’s Day?  You are now! And inside I’m putting $1.00 (see below for explanation, if you are reading this and you are one of my parents, siblings, children or other family member you may not want to read the explanation, I leave it up to you.)

“Act-as-if”, how much of our lives might change if we did that?  I’ll let you know what the out come is.  Not sure it will be an actual scientific measure but I’m willing to bet the results won’t be any worse than the situation has been the past few days.

My book recommendations for promoting love and long lasting relationships.
Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman

The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John M. Gottman

The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John Gottman

Fun & Creative Dates for Married Couples: 52 Ways to Enjoy Life Together by Howard Books

The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian

The Brain in Love: 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life by Daniel G. Amen M.D.   
    
My top 25 movie recommendations about love, romance or marriage in no particular order (realistic, classic or no where near realistic at all).
1.      RV
2.      Fireproof
3.      The Philadelphia Story
4.      Mickey Blue Eyes
5.      It Happened on Fith Avenue
6.      Joe vs. The Volcano
7.      When Harry Met Sally...
8.      Gone with the Wind
9.      Bringing Up Baby
10.  Christmas in Connecticut (oldest version)
11.  Father Goose
12.  Date Night
13.  I Hate Valentines Day
14.  You’ve Got Mail
15.  The Notebook
16.  The Proposal
17.  The Family Man
18.  Pretty Woman (I’m including this one because it’s one of The Director’s favorites)
19.  The Princess Bride
20.  Leap Year
21.  Serendipity
22.  The Long Long Trailer
23.  Tangled
24.  Enchanted
25.  50 First Dates

What’s the dollar for?  Sometime last year I read a post on A Holy Experience that shared the following letter and response, posted in the Ann Landers Column of the Chicago Tribune.
 
Their Love Yields A Second Honeymoon
June 06, 1998|By Ann Landers.

Dear Ann Landers: Last weekend, we celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. This morning, they left on a long-awaited trip to Hawaii. They were as excited as if it were their honeymoon.
When my parents married, they had only enough money for a three-day trip 50 miles from home. They made a pact that each time they made love; they would put a dollar in a special metal box and save it for a honeymoon in Hawaii for their 50th anniversary.

Dad was a policeman, and Mom was a schoolteacher. They lived in a modest house and did all their own repairs. Raising five children was a challenge, and sometimes, money was short, but no matter what emergency came up, Dad would not let Mom take any money out of the "Hawaii account." As the account grew, they put it in a savings account and then bought CDs.

My parents were always very much in love. I can remember Dad coming home and telling Mom, "I have a dollar in my pocket," and she would smile at him and reply, "I know how to spend it."
When each of us children married, Mom and Dad gave us a small metal box and told us their secret, which we found enchanting. All five of us are now saving for our dream honeymoons. Mom and Dad never told us how much money they had managed to save, but it must have been considerable because when they cashed in those CDs, they had enough for airfare to Hawaii plus hotel accommodations for 10 days and plenty of spending money.

As they told us goodbye before leaving, Dad winked and said, "Tonight, we are starting an account for Cancun. That should only take 25 years."


Loving Daughter in Abilene, Texas
Dear Loving Daughter: I don't know when I have read a more heartwarming story. Your parents were marvelous role models for their five children. Please give them my warm, good wishes on their 50th, and ask them to drop me a postcard from Hawaii. It is truly one of the most romantic garden spots in the entire world.

That post inspired me to give a box to The Director last year.  I used an 8 x 6 inch acrylic box that had a place for a 4x6 photo in the top.  I made a 4x6 note that read “In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33.  I also included a picture of wedding rings above the bible verse and inserted it in the photo area.  On the inside I included a copy of the letter from Loving Daughter to Ann Landers and $1.00.

I think this is one of the best gift ideas I’ve ever come across, and I know The Director liked it a lot!

Happy Valentines Day one and all!