Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Girlfriends

They met for lunch today, this group of friends who hadn't seen each other all summer.   And as girlfriends often do, they TALKED.  About everything from the best way to avoid mold in the rubber strip of their front-loading washing how to best communicate with their husbands. 

These ladies are not perfect - not by any means.  They've all admitted their weaknesses and faults to each other, because over the years, they've discovered that there is strength in sharing their struggles. 
And today, over lunch, they talked and laughed, and caught up on each other's lives.  
Somehow, the conversation shifted to their frustration about how their husbands dont listen to them...or if they listen, they dont remember what was said.  They all seemed to share that frustration, and strangely, that fact seemed to encourage them.  Because maybe it wasn't that they were unimportant or boring...maybe it was just a "man thing".  
And please dont misunderstand - these ladies didn't sit to have a man-bashing session!  No - these ladies were just speaking from their hearts.  They were joking and laughing with amazement at how all their husbands seemed to do all the same things! 

As she listened to her friends, one of the ladies secretly wished that her friends' husbands could be hearing the conversation.   If they could only hear their beautiful wives, talking in an environment where they knew that each word was being heard and taken to heart by the hearer - Instead of how they usually heard their wives...speaking in moments of frustration or anger.   Wouldn't they agree, that their wives were worth listening to?
One of the ladies said, "I’m home alone most of the time.  So when he’s home and I want to talk to him, he puts out his hand and says 'sssshhhh'...because he's watching TV."
"And it’s kinda hurtful, isn’t it?", said another.  "My husband comes home, sits down and watches sports.  I take the kids up for a bath, and when I come back down, he’s gone to bed."
Another said, "You know,  I asked my husband why he didn’t listen to me.  And his answer was, ‘because I know you'll tell me again.' "
“I know all my husband's coworkers' names", said another lady.  "..And I even know what each of their jobs' are. Why?  Because I listen to him and remember what he has to say because its important to him. But he cant remember what I just said to him.  What if he talked about work all the time, but I didn't remember anything he said?  I think he'd feel bad"
They were speaking somewhat lightheartedly, of course...but still, there was an ever-so-slight sadness in their voices.  
But these ladies know something. They know that the most important thing isn't to be heard...the most important thing is to be right with their Creator.
The lady who'd been secretly wishing that the husbands could hear the conversation said,  "The other day in a silly argument about nothing important, my husband told me that he'd change when I changed.  I didn’t say anything at the time, but I knew that I didn’t have the same privilege.  I know that I cant wait for him to change before I do...I have to change because I know God wants me to. "
They all agreed that it was easier said than done, but that it was the truth.
You see, after venting and sharing their struggles, this group of imperfect ladies know the conclusion to the whole matter.  That it doesn't matter.  That they need to do what is right in the eyes of God, no matter what other people do. 
Still, they all thought it might be nice if they could feel "important" or "interesting" once in a while.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Picture of the the Skatepark

The other day, we were at the skate park and saw this guy (in the video below) trying to do a front flip on his scooter.  

But it's hard.  And scary.  

He tried over and over.  At first, he used a pad to land on.  Then he'd try it without the pad.  I dont personally know how much it hurts to land hard on a wood ramp...but I imagine it probably hurts.  

He was obviously scared, which I think is normal.  But these guys...they just do stuff afraid.  I've mentioned before how they are so inspiring to watch! 

Anyway, this guy would stop, take deep breaths, bend over his scooter and hang his head, and then he'd give it a try. He'd tell his buddy to remove the pad, and then he'd try again...and fail.  It was a whole process. 

But as I stood there watching, a mental picture began to unfold in front of me. A picture of the Church.  

On one hand, I saw the person doing something he had to do himself.  Nobody could do the front flip for him.  He was scared, but he stuck to it, even though he was getting knocked around quite a bit.  

On the other hand, I saw the crowd around him.  They were shouting encouragement to him...  

"You can do it"!  

"You almost got it"

"You're almost there!"  

"Just go for it!"  

This is exactly what our Christian family should look like.  Christian brothers & sisters gathered around someone who is struggling...shouting encouragement to him.  And they weren't just giving him lip-service...they all KNEW he could do the front flip if he just kept at it!  They had faith FOR him, when all he could feel was fear, frustration and uncertainty. 

When he finally did it, the whole place erupted in cheering and everyone ran towards him and hugged him. It was Awesome!  

Rejoice with those who rejoice... (Romans 12:15)

So with this metaphor in mind...take a look at the video...

 *If you've received this by email and can't see the video, go here to see this post online.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  Hebrews 12:1

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Week in a Nutshell...

It's a wonderful life...

Reading my bible

Praying for strength

Waking a sleepyhead to start the school week

a drive to school

a scramble for lunch money

Tidying up the house from the weekend mess

Pruning the trees

Laundry Laundry Laundry

A drive to school and back again

Homework Homework Homework

Bedtime prayers

Big hug and goodnight kiss

Waking a sleepyhead to start another day

Another drive to school

To the store because we surely can't run out of COFFEE...

More Tidying

More homework



Lunch with the hubby

Shopping with Mom

Oops, almost out of gas

Don't forget piano lesson

American Idol

Bible Study morning at Church

Thanking God for the people in my life

More drives to school

Wondering why the glass is next to the coaster

Wondering why the dirty clothes are next to the hamper

Wondering by the paper towel roll is next to the Paper Towel holder

My heart hearing God remind me to give grace just as I received it

More helping with homework

Cooking and washing dishes

Folding endless piles of clean clothes

Buying Valentine's Treats

Dont forget to pay the bills

Laughing with my Mary Kay Lady

Starbucks with Hubby

New cell phone - yeah!

The bank

Oops, dropped my credit card on the ground outside, but hubby saw it

Talking on the phone with my sister about face creams

Movie and coffee with a friend

Vacuuming, sweeping

washing, folding

wiping,  arranging

...and putting away

Facebooking, Texting, Blogging, emailing

Wondering why the week was this easy...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pursuing Peace

I was reading through all the old posts on this blog.  The first few posts are filled with details of my day - with errands and duties and activities.  Back then, I took a lot of pride in being busy.  I find that most moms do.  Its seems that we think the busiest mom is the best mom.

A couple of years ago, though, I hit a wall.  I felt like I never had enough time for everything.  I felt as if I always had to be on my way somewhere else.  "Everyone wants a piece of me", I used to think.

And then, one day I experienced...not even sure what.  An anxiety attack that didn't leave me for weeks.  I wont go into all the details of it, only because I dont like to dwell on that time too much.  Suffice it to say that I was overwhelmed and incapacitated by anxiety/panic attacks. 

One of the days during the time that I was going through this, Little Boy had appendicitis and had to have emergency surgery.  Wow - that story deserves a post of its own!  Here I was having some sort of breakdown, hubby was out of town...and Little Boy needs surgery!  I know that God helped me rise to that occasion, and only He got me through it. (And thank God for my parents!)

Funny thing is, that all the busyness of our schedule came to a screeching halt because Little Boy had to recover from his surgery. So while my son took time off to heal from his surgery, I began to think about things.  Why were we doing soccer?  After all, when its time for practice or games, Little Boy seemed bummed. Why were we doing Karate?  We would rush there, and we would rush home.  When we skipped it, we feel relieved.  In addition, that year Little Boy was really beginning to struggle in school.  We were at soccer and karate 4 days out of the week, so by the time we got back to do homework, he was tired and stressed and frustrated.  

It occurred to me that I did a lot things because I felt "I should".  When I asked myself why we were in soccer, the most honest answer was "because everyone else does it, so we "should" too.  I began to identify the things that "had" to be done, and then added to that list the things that we "wanted" to do.  We quit the activities,  and Little Boy began to just play in the neighborhood with the kids that lived on the street.  Believe it or not, this was something that we had always been too busy to do because we had always been on our way out somewhere.  He began spending the afternoons outside riding his bike or riding his scooter with his friends.  He seemed happier and more relaxed than I'd seen him in a long time.

 Its true that being busy was not the only cause of this episode of anxiety.  Since that period of time, God has revealed to me the various causes of what I went through.  I came to realize that I had a lot of fears about a lot of things.   

One of the things that I learned, was that I did the things that I thought I "should" do, because I was trying to "earn" approval.   I was raised in a works-based religion, and even though I thought I understood God's grace, I didn't really understand it, because I was still working hard for God's approval.  He showed me that no matter what I did..I could never ever earn His approval.  That's why He sent Jesus.

Today, I am still working through some fear issues, and dealing with occasional anxiety.  It seems that living a life of fear is a hard habit to break!  :)  But I know that God will be faithful to complete this work that He began in me. 

I am starting to see the value of a simple life.  Sometimes we Mom's do things that the other Mom's are doing because we feel we need to measure ourselves by everyone else.  But in reality, we are all different.  We have different strengths and different weaknesses.  We have to be honest with our limitations.  Because sometimes its better to do a few things really well, instead of struggling and stressing to do a million things just barely good enough. 

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Romans 14:19

And so I've began to pursue peace. Doing the things I have to do, and then add to that the things that bring my family joy and peace.

This is a journey that I am still on.  As the old saying goes, "God isn't finished with me yet".  May your life be filled with the things that make for peace, and the things by which we may edify one another.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just Commit

Big day today.  Today, my Little Boy overcame a major fear at the skate park.  He's been wanting to "drop in", but he's had a major mental barrier about it.  All the other kids there do it, and they all seem to say that it's easy.  Its a basic trick for scooter riders.  And he's wanted to do it...but something about standing at the edge and scooting down...well, it's kinda scary, and he was really avoiding it. 

To see what I'm talking about - go check out this video of a kid dropping in.  (This is NOT our video - just some video I found on Youtube)

So today, he went to the skate park with his best friend.  It was his friend's first time at a skate park with his scooter, and he dropped in and said it was easy.  So the pressure began.  We kept telling Little Boy to try it, and he wanted to...but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Another kid there was also telling him that it was no big deal, and that he could do it. 

Now - if you've seen the video, and think that you don't blame him for being scared...I totally understand.  But Little Boy LOVES his scooter, and he's good on it.  We KNEW he could do this easily...but he had some fear that had convinced him that he could not do it.  Again, this is a basic move for scooter kids. 

And here's the thing.  I struggle with fear...and living with fear SUCKS.  I'm kinda wishing right now that I had blogged about the struggles I've had with fear and anxiety.  I've been wanting to, but haven't been able to get everything into words.  So you see, watching my son allow fear to win?  No, it cannot happen.  I never want him to miss out on anything because of fear.   So this little lesson of dropping in...well, it goes beyond the skate park.  Its a life lesson.

Sadly, after a lot of stressing about it, he decided to not even try. So we walked to the car and were ready to head home. 

But in the car, he decided he wanted to try it.  So there we went, back to the skate area.  By this time, the other kids were noticing what was going on.  They were watching him stand at the edge, look down and stress out.   He'd ride to the edge...look down...ride away.  Then he'd ride to the edge again...look down...and ride away.  Over and over and over. 

Funny thing is, the other boys started telling him, "You can do it!  Just do it!"

Finally, this older kid - he was maybe 15-years old - had been watching him, and he asked him,

"What are you trying to do, dude?  Drop in?". 

Little Boy said yes.  

Older Kid walked over to him and said, "Just put your board here, your foot here, and just go.  Its really easier than you're thinking". 

I didn't hear what Little Boy told him, but I could tell by the hand movements, that he was telling him that he was afraid he was gonna go head first. 

Older kid told him, "Just bend your legs and lean back.  You can do it, really.  You just have to commit". 

You just have to commit. 

I'm also kinda wishing that I had already written the post that has been in my head for a few months.  About the skate park.  There are so many life lessons to be found in the fearlessness that those kids possess!  They are willing to tumble and fall and get hurt so that they can experience that "cool trick".  They push past the fear.  And as I've mentioned my battle with fear...pushing past the fear is major.  One of the things that I've thought about as I've watched them, is that some things need full commitment.  I like to do things slow and cautious so I can back-out or quit when things get hairy.  But I've discovered that some things don't lend themselves to "slow and cautious".  Some things require full commitment.  And if we wait until we're fearless...we'll never do anything.  Forget about Nike...sometimes its God who says, "just do it". If we're ever going to do cool tricks in life, or in our spiritual walk...we're just gonna have to " do it scared".  Just Commit. 

So there he stood, on the edge...thinking way too hard and long about dropping in.  He asked his best friend to come do it so he could watch.  He had him do it two more times. Everyone around him kept telling him that he could do it. 

It seemed like forever.

I was behind him praying that God would meet him where he was and give him just a little dose of the courage he needed. 

Finally...he went.

We cheered!  (or was I the only one clapping and jumping?  Hmmm...not sure now that I look back...)

Later, he would say that he heard everyone behind him go "yay!..."  And then, "Oooooh!"  Because the funny thing is, he "dropped in" perfectly, but when he turned to ride back around, he crashed and fell.  Isn't that the way life goes...we dread doing something because we're scared, and then we end up falling doing something we've done a million times! 

And that's another life lesson. Sometimes you will fall.  That's the risk.  I always say jokingly (sort of) that I like guarantees in life.  But that's not the way life is designed.  There are no guarantees.  You will fall.  As Brett Michaels said, "its not if life will knock you down, its when and how.  And its definitely about how you roll with it". 

Fear, you lost today.  And for the rest of his life, Little Boy will remember what its like to do something even though he's afraid.  And that sometimes all we're lacking is the commitment to "do it scared".

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Different Perspectives

Today, the "Trash Boy" in my home gave a lively discourse on why we should use regular, washable plates, and not paper plates.  He explained that if we used regular plates, there would be less trash in our landfills. 

Dishwasher Lady rebutted that the amount of water used to wash a dish - in a state that was currently in a state of drought - would be was wasteful, and further, the water would require gas to heat it for dish washing purposes.   

My, my...what an environmentally conscious household I live in!

In reality, my son doesn't wanna take out the trash, and I don't wanna do the dishes! 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Hate Wet Socks

After I take a shower, I crack the shower stall door open, ever so slightly...I squeeeeeze my fingers out...grab the corner of my towel...and...quickly snap the towel into the shower stall and shut the door.  Why? Well, because I like to stand in the steamy warmth of the shower stall while I dry myself.  And the bonus to this is that I don't go out into the cold bathroom while I'm still dripping wet. 

But boys?  Well, they're different.  They jump right out of the shower while they're still in the process of turning off the water, and they stand there, dripping wet... and shivering. 

Now, its certainly OK if they choose to stand there and shiver..but the 'dripping' part..well, that's where they drag me into their actions.  At some point, I walk through the bathroom wearing socks, and I inevitably step on the puddles of water that they've left...which soaks my socks...which makes me cold...and I hate to be cold...which is why I dry off in the shower stall.  

Its definitely interesting to be the only female in a home of boys.  None of them- including my husband - have any idea what its like to live with a sister.  They think that their "boy ways"  are just the way the world works.

Lets not even talk about the toilet seat. 

Or the bodily functions.

Or the coughing and overly exaggerated gagging & sputtering that takes place when they get a whiff of...gasp...HAIRSPRAY! girlie!!!

And, I've had to learn to watch things like "Cops", or Nascar, or Surviver Man.  And I get NO sympathy about how long it takes me to get ready to go out the door (it only takes me 1/2 hour!).   And since I've been dumb enough to boast about how "strong" I am, I get no help toting a case of water into the house from the garage. 

But...I dont have to buy them 10 different pairs of shoes in various styles...or lots of different outfits.  They're happy to wear their favorite jeans and t-shirts every day.  And I dont have to worry about anyone playing in my make up.  (Heck, I have a hard time making them wear DEODERANT!)  And they sure do love their Mama.  :) 

BOYS?  I  Love 'em!  (But I seriously hate wet socks.)