Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why So Serioussss?

Sometimes (ok, a lot of times) I take myself way too seriously.  Perhaps you do too?  If there ever was a Calvin incarnate, it would be my husband.  The intelligence of a rocket scientist, but the goofiness of a 5 year old.  This little perfectionist sometimes has a hard time keeping up with him! But, the sentiment of this comic and living with Randy for almost 5 years has taught me a thing or two.  Some days, you need to be silly.  When  you have green ugly goo for dinner, why not turn it into an art project? More importantly, laughing and being silly makes the hard stuff easier. 

Why not get the job done with a smile on your face and a joke up your sleeve today? :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Know The Reason

The other day the chorus to popular christian song, "Blessed Be Your Name" got stuck in my head, playing over and over.  And I started thinking about why is 'your name blessed'.  There are things that we do and say sometimes that we don't really understand the full meaning of, but we should.  As a kid, maybe I hear that song sung, but do I hear someone telling me why the Lord's name is blessed?

Today I thought I'd share just a few reasons why that song is true for me.

Every day I am blessed with an opportunity to start over fresh!

Just when I think things couldn't be worse, my eyes are opened to the lesson I'm being taught.

No matter what my mouth can find to complain about, it's all under either my control or God's. (So I need to either do something about it or leave it to God!)

Despite my many shameful regrets, He gives good gifts every day.  My most favorite of all, a growing boy that doesn't mind smiling!

The old adage that says to count your blessings is saying to do more than just count. Know the reasons life is good and praises need to be sung!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Other People's Power

Have you ever wanted something good for someone so badly that you ended up pushing your wants onto them 'for their own good' but despite their displeasure? It starts out innocently enough - a bit more experience, a (perceived) deeper understanding maybe.  But, it ends in someone's power being stolen.  The power to choose, the power of self is something that shouldn't be given up so easily, but sometimes we are like vultures walking around looking for someone we can make decisions for.  I say we and, of course, I mean me just as much as anyone.  This kind of thing comes very naturally to the oldest child in a family.  It's a fine line between truly helping mom and dad and trying to replace mom and dad.  "Mom!! Johnny's climbing on the cabinets and about to fall!" suddenly becomes "Oh you don't want to pursue that career/date that person/buy that sweater/eat that kind of food!"  You know what I mean.  You start to feel like you should just leave all of your life decisions over to them because they ALWAYS know better anyway, right?

How often do you hand out unsolicited advice? How often are you trying to sculpt and mold what other people think?  When you live in a very evangelical and politically persuasive society, its common to feel very strongly about certain issues.  That's healthy and right, in my opinion.  The trouble we start is when our passion and conviction begins to overpower someone else's self-respect and choice.  Sometimes it feels like everyone would just be SO much better off if they would just listen to me! But, not only did God grant us all with free-will, but we live in a free society.  So, you and I are not the king of everything. :)  Most would agree that none of us should sign up for, agree to, have faith in or do anything that we don't fully understand and are certain about.  Why then do we try to herd people over to our way of thinking, just because we've decided its best.

Of course, I can think of a few situations that warrant a 'do now and I'll explain later' type of interaction - dangers of all kinds basically.  But usually that's not the case with what I'm talking about.  For a long time I would allow myself to become consumed with other people making 'bad' choices with their lives and want to 'fix' them.  I am still convinced that my opinion is best - it wouldn't be my opinion if it wasn't! But, I'm trying to learn that it isn't my job to decide for others.  This week, pay attention to how you interact with other people's power.  Do you respect and honor it?  Just remember that those choices made of one's own volition and full of the individual's conviction are likely to stand much stronger than those made out of guilt or manipulation.

I'm thinking about Jude and all the things I want for him, but ultimately all these things are barely worth half as much if they are just ideas that I push onto him instead of sharing with him and allowing him to choose and grow.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yarn Bombing

Have you ever heard of this?  I hadn't, but what a positive, neat idea!

Here's what Wikipedia had to say about it:

Yarn bombingyarnbombinggraffiti knittingguerrilla knitting, or yarnstorming is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk. While yarn installations – called yarn bombs or yarnstorms – may last for years, they are considered non-permanent, and, unlike graffiti, can be easily removed if necessary. The practice is believed to have originated in the U.S. with Texas knitters trying to find a creative way to use their leftover and unfinished knitting projects, but it has since spread worldwide.[1]
While other forms of graffiti may be expressivedecorativeterritorialsocio-political commentaryadvertising or vandalism, yarn bombing is almost exclusively about reclaiming and personalizing sterile or cold public places.
And here are pictures of some of the more impressive 'yarn bombs'.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Us & Them

Do you ever feel like you're fighting against the world?  Like the world is sitting at your doorstep waiting for you to walk outside with non-matching socks or hoping you'll spill coffee on yourself as you rush out the door?  Some days just start that way, don't they? You oversleep, an appliance breaks, you forgot to study for a test, forgot to get gas, the list just goes on and on.  Nobody is alone in this. Everyone has moments like this.  The difference is what happens next.

Where does all of that frustration go? Is it repurposed for accepting the imperfect past with a 'we'll get 'em next time' attitude? Or does it flow into a holding tank.  To be honest, I have a pretty large tank.  All the little things that don't go my way or that cause me to feel picked on, all that frustration often pours straight into the tank where I hold on to it tightly.  I hold and hold until its full and then it blows into a war against the world.  Since the 'world' made me this way, then I'm out to get the world.  That usually involves a short temper, bad attitude, critical eye about anyone and everyone just because I'm not happy and very little resilience when it comes to difficulty.

Here's a big problem with that: My large tank exploding has nothing, I mean NOTHING to do with the rest of the world.  I am the one causing the explosion, creating the fire and storing up the fuel for it.  The world around me just happens to be there, taking the punishment and blame for my bad attitude.  Not really ok.

I'm getting on my soapbox for just a second here, but this has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. Why does there always have be an US - THEM mentality?  It's common to find yourself joining with those you agree with and criminalizing the 'OTHERS' that don't see things like you do.  But what good does that do?  I've said it before but I'm saying it again: No matter the topic - politics, religion, family feuds, sports, whatever - there is almost always value in sliding closer to the middle than polarized opposites.  Take our government's budget situation right now.  What's the problem - red and blue believe in different things, but they are tasked with coming to a compromised decision.  Instead of crossing their arms saying "I want my way or nothing at all!", they are going to have to focus on the things they do agree on and go from there.  Look at what happens when they don't - the government almost shuts down.  When families fight it can be no different at all, perhaps even uglier. "They are awful because they hurt me! I want my way and if I can't have it then I don't care what happens to anyone else!" Family fights are often the hardest because of all the people that are innocently involved and hurt because a couple of people can't act like grown-ups and at least agree to disagree.

Whatever the arena, if you (we) are doing the hurting or the hurting one, lashing out and demonizing or polarizing another side only leads to more fighting and discontent.  No sane person can expect to agree with everyone they meet.  But being at peace with someone does not mean that you agree with them or that you live the same way.  Somewhere we got this idea that I can't be polite, encouraging or love someone that does not agree with every single thing (big and small) that I do.  What sense does that make?  And if I am right about something, doesn't it add credibility when I am peaceable and loving, rather than reactive, hateful and explosive?

Sorry for the heaviness, but my heart has been rather heavy.  Here's to peace! "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men -Hebrews 12:18 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Honor the Difference

What would our daily experiences be like if more people were taught to honor the differences in other people?  The broken record overfloweth I think but people are different.  We were made different and expecting sameness is foolish.  Finding kinship is a blessing and a gift. Why? Because it is rare.  We could go on and on about how being different is good, but the bible has already covered it at length (read I Corinthians 12 for starters).  The first mistake we (I) make is continually scoffing at and perhaps rejecting the other that is not like me.  This is little things like what food you like and big things like how you parent, who you marry and what you do for a living.

Let's use a funeral director for an example.  I don't know any personally so this is hypothetical at best. If anyone I knew decided to go into funeral directing or embalming or even a medical examiner, I would most certainly turn my nose up, give them a disgusted look and say "Why on earth would you want to do that?"  Fact: I would never be able to or want to do this kind of work.  Fact: That does not mean it is a bad line of work, no one should ever consider it or that it doesn't serve a greater purpose in society.  Why do I automatically criticize the entire idea? Why couldn't I consider how needed it might be and what a blessing it is to the grieving?  This is probably a silly example but I hope it makes the point.

As my son grows up, begins talking and eventually having an impact on the world, I don't want him to intimidate or bully others just by his opinions.  It's easy to do and I am very guilty of it.  There is plenty about my life that is very different than you.  I'm sensitive, physically and emotionally, which means weird things stress me out.  I generally don't go to the doctor and have taken natural remedies (herbs & vitamins) for most of my life.  I hate small talk that is just for show (I'd rather you ignore me unless you have something genuine to say).  I like basketball better than football, but I hate the poor sportsmanship that comes out in spectators of any sport most of the time.  I'd rather spend more time with animals than some people.  If there is someone out there that is the same as all that, well let me know because we should be better friends! :)

We will never like all the different things about everyone else.  But we can choose to honor them at least by not tearing them down.  This is probably an extension of a zillion other ideas (loving your neighbor, biting your tongue, etc.) but just think of it this way.  Wouldn't you like to be honored, cherished or at least appreciated for being a little different every now and then?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Giggles in the Night

Can I gush a little bit? Thanks, I didn't think you'd mind.

Last night that little boy of mine made me and his dad giggle almost uncontrollably.  First of all,  he's got a grin that just makes your heart turn to goo, so there's that. But we had gotten home late from church so it was way past his bedtime and he was sleepy.  Momma to the rescue, we did all of the get ready for bed things and the rocking commenced.  I was just about to my limit, needing to eat and rest a bit, so I cut the rocking short, hopeful he would slide on in to sleep easily.

Well, as soon as I leave the room, he starts fussing, but I was done and I told Randy so.  I start taking care of me while dad, the relief pitcher, takes over.  I'm maybe a minute into a fabulous snack of yogurt and blueberries when my backup beckons with a smile in his voice.  I drag myself back into Jude's room where Randy can hardly control himself.  Jude is bound (swaddled) at his hands but working on getting them out the top with his feet wild and free at the bottom rocking and bouncing on his bed with a HUGE grin on his face.  The. cutest. thing. ever.  And, as we're both staring at him from above his crib with only the hall light on, its as if he knows how cute he is and just keeps kicking and bouncing, causing us to only giggle harder.  Sooo funny.

He must have been running on fumes and just amped up with goofiness because we wrapped him up nice and tight and just left him.  Within just a few minutes he was passed out.  Man I love him.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unstress Recipe

I'm reading a book by Dr. Kevin Leman, BONKERS: Why women get stressed out and what they can do about it.  Yes, I've been going a bit bonkers lately, but stress has always been a heartbeat away for me.  So, its probably something I need to read continually! Anyway, I thought I would share a "secret recipe" for dealing with the pressures of life.

1. Know your own limits
Are you a racehorse or a turtle? Develop a lifestyle that fits you and no one else.

2. Choose goals that are right for you and your life
Be sure they are your goals and not something that is forced on you by parents, teachers or other people.

3. Look out for yourself by looking out for others and earning their goodwill
By helping others you help yourself as you make your deposit in the other person's 'bank of goodwill'.

I struggle with all of this.  They seem to create a cycle that honors none of the above! I often know my limits but feel compelled to stretch them (ignoring #2) and then fall short of fulfilling #3.

May you be free of borrowed guilt and and unwarranted pressure today!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Don't Be Fooled - It's April!

The season transitions have been weird to me lately.  I'm sure they are always gradual, but it seemed like this past year the seasons never really were sure when to sit and stay a while.  Spring is no different, I guess.  However, it is April 1st and my hostas and rose of sharon bushes are announcing Spring boldly!  I've not much to say today except this:

God is good, especially when you trust Him - rely on Him to solve the days worries.  All relationships can be that way, I guess.  Marriage and friendship is a lot about faith.  There is no guarantee that everything and everyone will be just the way you desire.  In fact, we are guaranteed that it won't be most of the time.  But trusting others to love and to learn this time around - well, let's just say you might be surprised.  God is good and able to fill all the needs I could ever come up with!