Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I have moved

Hello Readers,

My blog has found a new home on WordPress.  You can access it with this link:

Upon a Sunny Day

Please follow me over.  Thanks so much!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Flapjack Friday Faves [05.03]

Happy Flapjack Friday!  I made my family breakfast [well, sort of] this morning, in keeping with our Flapjack Friday tradition.

Today I thought I'd share some highlights of the week.

On Monday, my music lovin' son and I experienced Woodsongs for the first time.  If you're not familiar, Woodsongs is a live, taped program akin to the Grand Ole Opry and Austin City Limits.  It's recorded on Monday nights in the Lyric Theatre.  We heard Lexington's own Ben Sollee as well as Australian Kim Churchill. If you live in Lexington, you need to be a part of Woodsongs, at least once in your life.  If you're visiting Lexington on a Monday, stop in.

Quote of the week:
Hope, no matter how unreasonable, is always more preferable than despair, no matter how justified. ~ Cory Booker
Hope is my word of the year, so I had to include this tidbit.

Out with the old, in with the new.
On Tuesday, our family had the privilege of attending son Jamie's final piano recital.  I say final because I seriously doubt he'll ever play piano in a recital again.  He's headed to college as a dual Music Performance major focusing on classical and jazz guitar.  He won't have much time for piano.  So, he finished big with a number by Debussy, one of his faves.  Incidentally, daughter Allie began her high school athletic career this week, working out with the girls soccer team.  Proving she does not take after her mother, she finished first in the mile run. 

Regarding being creative, this book sounds interesting:

It includes this info:  William Faulkner once wrote 10,000 words between 10:00 a.m. and midnight.
Who knew???

Speaking of being creative.......I love a good trash to treasure story and that's what my self proclaimed video of the week is:

Landfill Harmonic:  The world sends them garbage, they send back music.

And finally, in case you think all kids want to do is eat're wrong.  A wave of vegetarianism is about to sweep this mighty nation.  Okay, maybe nothing quite that dramatic, but one school in New York is completely vegetarian now:
Elementary school goes vegetarian

This afternoon, our family is off to Red River Gorge.  A weekend of camping in scenic Kentucky.

And... I'm extremely ecstatic to dine at Miguel's tonight.  It's a semi-famous pizza place there at the Gorge.  Lot's of rock climbers hang out there.  Mind you, no one in our family is a rock climber, but they do allow folks like us to eat there.  It should be fun.  
Happy weekend.... if you're a betting man or woman, may your horse win the Derby.  If you believe Cinco de Mayo is a major holiday [yes, our family does], make some enchiladas and celebrate big.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

navigators and explorers

When I was a student, I enjoyed hearing the stories about explorers.  Remember?  Columbus, Magellan, Ponce de Leon, Balboa, Cabot, etc. 

This week after school my daughter began participating in high school soccer conditioning. This is a new thing.  She hasn't played organized soccer in years.  Apparently her school's team isn't that great [only what I've offense if you're on the team] and she has a friend or two who are on the team.  She likes to run; she's looking to fill some time.  So, she's decided to give it a try.

Our son has a game plan for the next four years.  College is mapped out.  He knows what he's good at and what he enjoys.  He doesn't need a navigator as much as he previously did.

Daughter Allie is a different story.  She wants to see the world, at least the European part.  She wants to be a foreign exchange student.  She likes to take photographs, she likes fashion, she likes music, reading, and, like I mentioned above, she enjoys running.  She wants to be an explorer.  But at this point, she still needs a navigator. 

I think that's the parents' role when you have a teenager.  Show them the options, the course, the different routes, all the while giving your input. A guide, so to speak.

Some people are geared for sailing.  Metaphorically.  These types want to see the world, experience different stuff.  And chances are, they're ready to [ie now].  That's my daughter.  She's ready to sail on out of the harbor.  Yet she really doesn't have a clue on how to get the ship out of the harbor, and once she got it out, she wouldn't know which way to steer.  Not because she's unintelligent.  Because she is inexperienced. 

I'm finding this season to be one of endings and beginnings.  I suppose when the explorers mentioned above set sail they had to realize they were saying good-bye, possibly forever to how things were.  They were headed for a new world filled with adventures and who knows what.  

All that's great, in respect to the raising a teenager perspective.  While I'm excited to see where my kids end up, I'm saddened to step out into unknown waters.  There's a chance things will forever change.  Actually, it's more than a chance.  They're going to move on and I'm going to stay here.  Unless of course I follow them.  Which is not out of the question.  Doesn't every ship need a navigator?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flapjack Friday

I make breakfast for my family every Friday.  For the longest time, I made pancakes.  So we began calling the occasion Flapjack Friday.  Then my son said he was growing a bit tired of pancakes and it would be nice to expand my horizons, so to speak.  So, I've started to vary a bit.  Nothing too exciting.  Sometimes French toast.  Sometimes waffles.  Breakfast burritos, maybe.  But generally, it's pancakes.

So, I wish you happy Flapjack Friday!  In the spirit of Friday, the best day of the work week, I've decided to try something new on my blog.  Sort of a Friday Faves type thing.  My husband kindly recommended something of this nature.  So, here goes.

My newest favorite to follow is:


I realize you won't care so much for him if you don't live in Kentucky.  I do, so I do.  He's an amateur Kentucky historian, he sends out witty tweets, plus he seems to be of the same political persuasion as me.  Which I won't go into, because I don't like to go into it.

Highlight of the week:
Beating my son, the classical musician, in a game we greatly enjoy:  Name the Composer.  We end up in the car together every Monday night so we listen to Performance Today on WEKU (one of our local NPR stations).  While listening, if we haven't heard the DJ announce the composer, we guess.  This week, I chose Chopin, and low and behold, it was.  I will preface it by saying Jamie tipped me off to Chopin by telling me Chopin wrote many waltzes.  I knew the song was in 3/4, which if you're not familiar with music.....waltzes are in 3/4.  So, before putting in his guess, he basically gave me the answer.  But I won.  I actually won.  Yeah me.   I'm still waiting for him to present me with a trophy.

Strangest issue facing the church today:
Pastors who can't shut up about their smokin' hot wives
Honestly, I hate the term "hot" as an adjective to describe women.  Please, if you find a woman attractive, call her pretty or lovely or beautiful.  Better yet, if you're a pastor, don't talk about your wife's looks publicly.  It has nothing to do with the spiritual health of your congregation.  You're only trying to help yourself feel more manly.  It's not working....for any of us.  So, just shut up and preach or counsel or do what pastors are supposed to do.

Confession of the week:

I've started eating more tofu.  Does that make me weird?  I don't know, but it does insure I get enough protein.

Book of the week:

I'm reading O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.  It was a free classic Kindle download.  Who needs James Patterson?  Willa's got it going on.

Pinterest quote of the week:

So true.

Difficulty of the week:
My dad, who lives in Oklahoma, had knee surgery on Monday and will hopefully be released from the hospital today.  I wish I was closer so I could visit.  His orthopedic doctor, Dr. Smith, is Ree Drummond's dad [aka The Pioneer Woman], so whether or not it means anything, I feel like he's in good hands.  I honestly think if she knew me, she'd be my friend. 

And finally, here's a prayer for the week regarding our neighbors.  Incidentally, we met one of our new neighbors yesterday.  He seems like a nice guy.  Which is good, because life is always interesting on Loudon Avenue.

Lord, help us to see that our well-being is inextricably bound to the well-being of our neighbor. Our sorrows are shared. Our longings are shared. Our fears are shared. Enable us also to share compassion, patience, and courage today. Amen.

Monday, April 22, 2013

the insanity of motherhood

I suppose there's some truth to it.  We moms are all a bit insane.  But I blame it on the child/children.

Packing lunch.  Who can remember who likes what?  I can for the most part remember which child likes crunchy peanut butter and which prefers creamy.  But at 6:45am it can be difficult to keep things straight.  Remembering to pack a spoon for the yogurt.  Chunks of cheese on the salad as opposed to grated.  On and on.  I estimate at the end of this school year, I'll have packed over 4000 school lunches.  Maybe I'll be presented with a watch.

Calendars, events, mood swings, the daughter gets through adolescence right before you look ahead to menopause......

Their needs and so called needs.  The humorous things referred to as [first world probs] like skinny jeans that fit properly and finding a clean water bottle.  "Can we go to the mall?" asks one.  "I hate the mall!" exclaims the other.  "Please pick up my library book that's in."  "Please copy 75 sheets of music."  "Please get me mascara.  Black/brown.  Not water-proof.  Smudge resistant though."  Do you know how many types of mascara Maybelline alone produces?  "I need deodorant."  "The dog needs food."  "I'm going on a field trip and need $27.50 plus lunch money."

I'm not complaining, as these requests are all part of the job description.  It's what I signed up for when I decided to have children.  But I think it all contributes to the losing of one's sanity.

As does their ever changing vocabulary.  Take the word "hella" for instance.  This is a fairly new one.  And I'm not sure if it's a curse word or not.  It seems to be used as an adjective.  So, when I hear it, I'm confused as to whether I should reprimand my children, as I would if they said, "I'm mad as hell." 

Then there's the music.  When did my daughter possibly have time to memorize the lyrics of every song on the radio?  She can go from Taylor Swift to Bruno Mars to Mumford to Rihanna.  The other night, she sang/rapped the song Heartless while her brother chimed in every so often on bass and back up.  And it was surprisingly decent.  Which makes me thankful she hasn't asked to try out for American Idol. 

Once you have a child, whether the child is an infant or nearly grown, or I imagine, completely grown, you have another person that inhabits your thoughts.  Someone you're responsible for, someone you must provide for.  Even though I share this duty with my husband, my children are still always occupying part of my thought process.  Every decision, nearly every meal planned, every trip even to the grocery store or movie theater involves thinking of them and their perspective.  How they fit into the picture.  And it can make a person a little crazy.

Because it's a struggle for one's mind to be in two places at once.  If I only had myself to think of, the mistakes wouldn't be such a big deal.  Over-commitment?  Much easier to overcome.  Too tired to function?  Not a hassle if alone.  Just crawl under the covers.  But if I need to pick up or drop off or provide a meal?  Well, the old brain has to fire up and tell the body what to do. And after many years of this, the factory gets run down.  Which is another way of saying, one loses it a bit.  The blood vessels running from the heart to the brain to everywhere else, start to deteriorate, like rust on the conveyor belt.  And the finished product isn't quite as sleek and shiny.  But, there is still a product.  Which is all that really matters, I suppose.

I appreciate the Sallinger quote though, in that he said mothers are only slightly insane, not completely.  I've still got a bit of sanity, a little reasoning, an ability to function clearly.  That's encouraging, right?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Records Day

Today is Record Store Day and I wish you a happy one.  Last year I wrote an entry related to the day and I think it's worth revisiting:

Happy Record Store Day 2012!

For reasons unbeknownst to me, my children do not enjoy my stories.  You know, the "when I was a kid...." stories we parents like to tell?  I tell them anyway.  I actually have always enjoyed hearing about my parents' lives pre-marriage.  You get to a point though, when you think you know most of the facts.  Where they grew up, who their friends were, where they went to college, a few details regarding their romantic relationships before they got together.  Well, this past Thanksgiving, during a visit to my mom and dad's, I found out their first date, or at least close to the first, was to a Peter, Paul and Mary concert.  I found that to be very interesting information.  The early 1960s, all that was happening.  Did they just like the music?  How did they fit into the whole scene?
Peter, Paul and Mary [not my parents]
Sometimes I'm not sure if our kids realize that who we are today isn't who we've always been.  In other words, we grow up, mature and change a bit.  While I doubt my parents sat in on any war protests, I wonder what they thought about when they listened to folk music?  Or when they saw MLK Jr. on television?   Perhaps my workmates think I'm a hippie for a reason.......  Although I've never seen any photos or indicators pointing towards my parents as such.  Besides the folk music.  But maybe that's enough.

Last night, while attending our city's quarterly Gallery Hop, I overheard two women talking.  One was sharing about something her mom told her:   There was a war factory in downtown Lexington.  Her mom dropped out of college to work there; only women did.  I guess the men were away fighting.

I've heard of these places.  One of my grandmothers worked in one during WWII.  Yet, I've never heard of one in our town.  It's forgotten history.  The listening woman in the gallery told the storyteller she needs to get her mom to write this stuff down.  I agree.

Maybe along with Record Store Day, we need a Records Day.  A day to make sure we're passing on our stories.  Even if our kids don't care so much.  Someday they might.  And I suppose if I'd spent eight hours a day in a factory in service to my country, I'd want people to at the very least know about it.

I started following this  guy's blog this week:
His entry yesterday is another story about a Native American school most have forgotten.  Yet important, I think.  The students who attended there in 1830 might be happy to be remembered.

Because if we don't remember, it's just all blowin' in the wind.  Get it?  Peter, Paul and Mary/Blowin' In the Wind?  Yes, I'm corny.

Happy Record Store Day!  Make your kids listen to your stories.


Friday, April 19, 2013

stay calm and be a helper

stay calm
mind your own business
live quietly
work with your hands
do your own job

Nothing especially profound.  But words that speak to me this week.  You can find them in 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

Life can be ridiculous.  Tribulation is part of it.  But consider this.  If we all stay calm, if we live in peace and do what we're supposed to do, it will be simpler.  Work with our hands while living a quiet life.  And be a helper.

My friend posted this on Facebook this week:  

Be a helper.  [Kris, if you're reading this, it's YOU!]  

Who doesn't believe the world needs more helpers?  What qualities do helpers have? Generally they're calm, and focused on doing their job.

Mr. Rogers said:
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

I suppose we also have to remember to help the helpers. But really, if we're all doing what we're supposed to, it will work in a circle.  All of us calm, helping each other.  

"No matter how experienced the helpers, their lives are forever changed by these tragedies.  Thank them.  Pray for them."  ~ Brene Brown 

It's hard at times not to be overcome.  Personal stuff buried inside me.  All the issues my family faces.  College in the fall for our son.  A study abroad possibility for our teenage daughter.  Jobs and school and neighborhood stuff.  Passing grandparents and extended family.  Stories of people getting shot in places I've been ....scary stuff.  News from other places of tragedies.  People doing crazy things.  Realizing we control so very little.

It's good to be reminded to be a helper.  We don't all have to take charge.  We don't all have to be in the front.  But we can all help.  It's also good to be reminded to thank our helpers.  And pray for them.  The first responders.  The people who happened to be at the certain place at the certain time.  The people who go out of their way.  Sometimes it's their job; sometimes it's not.  

stay calm....mind your own your
be a helper

Saturday, April 13, 2013

blessed beyond(?)

I've decided to take a break from my current theme of ranting about my neighborhood.  Perhaps I'm beating a dead horse with that subject matter.......  Today's entry is on a different note: blessing.

I read it a lot.
Blessed beyond measure.
Blessed beyond belief.
Blessed, blessed, blessed.
When you search Twitter hashtags, everyone from Lindsay Lohan to Bubba Watson to Justin Bieber to Oscar De La Hoya have quite recently included #blessed in their statuses.  Plus a whole gaggle of ordinary folks I don't recognize.

I asked my friend over lunch this week a few questions on the subject of "being blessed."

Am I blessed because I have a husband and two kids?  Is she unblessed because she does not?

Are the two of us (my friend and I) blessed because we live in the USA, have enough food to eat, and jobs to report to five days a week?

Is my family blessed because my son is going to college next year on scholarships, provided to him because of academic and musical success? 

Getting to the questions.....  Sure I have a husband and I'm completely thankful to be his wife.  I love him beyond comprehension.  Yet at times I'd like to scream at him "You're an ASSHOLE!"  Does that alter the blessing?  Does that mean he's not blessed with a good wife during those brief moments of tirade?  Why do those who desire a spouse but have yet to acquire one struggle?  Why can't there be a mate for everyone in what seems to be a sensible time? 

Are we, citizens of the United States of America more blessed than the folks that reside in Cambodia?  And if so, why?  Why were we chosen to be placed here and not there and vice versa?

My son has worked extremely hard.  He practices guitar more than I've ever known a teenager to practice a musical instrument.  He has studied and chosen to be a good student.  Sure, to a certain extent he inherited musical genes and has an intelligent father who was accepted into the academically prestigious United States Naval Academy.  I will not go into details regarding my academic prowess or lack there of.....  Do you get what I'm saying?  To an extent, my son's success is not a surprise.  He was placed in a family which supported him and his endeavors and consists of members who themselves were from families who had supported their endeavors.

Anyhow, what I'm getting at is this.  Is life a math problem of sorts?

A + B = C, meaning you get what you put in?  A factual philosophy.  Work hard and you'll be rewarded.  Squander and you'll end up in need.  Are we victims of circumstance or results of God's plan, an out of our control agenda put into place before eternity began?

Or is life based on a strange hierarchy of blessing?  Some of us get more than others.  Simply because that's how it goes.  A "That's life, that's what people say," Frank Sinatra type song.

Some of us get spouses.  Some of us get spouses who send flowers.  Some of us get spouses who do laundry and like the same sports teams we do.  Some of us get spouses that beat us up.  Some of us get spouses who don't stick around.  And some of us don't get a spouse or at least not on our time table.

People with good grades are more likely to end up with a mental illness than those who do not.  Check out this article:    Straight-A Schoolchildren at Higher Risk of Bipolar Disorder.   Creative people, let's consider Vincent van Gogh who famously committed suicide, are more likely to suffer with mental issues.  So are the intelligent and creative blessed with talent?  If so, where does the struggle fit in?  I doubt we could reason mental illness equals blessings.

Is the person who was healed of cancer as blessed as the person who never got it at all? 

We like to nicely put on adages.  Better to have _________ than to never have _______ at all.  Or we tell people to look on the bright side.  We want to help others see the silver lining as opposed to the mess.

Look for the blessing.  Blessings in disguise. 

I'm having a hard time making sense of it.  Sure, I can count my blessings.  But it's hard to comprehend exactly where they came from.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

if you gave me $10,000

I've been on a neighborhood kick lately.  As in the one I live in.  Regarding this thought, my husband made this comment last week:

Someone can put in a donut store and a restaurant, but it's not going to really make a long term change to the neighborhood.

Sure, we enjoy our local donut and coffee shop.  The folks there are friendly and in my opinion, make the absolute best donuts in Lexington.  Yes, it's great to have a restaurant within walking distance of our home.  Yet, he's right.  People are still living in poverty, still out of work, still walking down the street with a bottle in their hand.  Nothing has radically shifted.  I suppose it takes more than a donut store to do that.

I asked my husband what he thinks makes a real difference.  How can we help make a change?  He recently had a conversation with a guy he worked with a few years back.  The guy, Ian Epperson, wrote a book about our particular area of town.  He's an expert of sorts, if there is such a thing, in pouring oneself into a specific, high need area of our city.  Here's what he said.......  [paraphrased]

It takes a few years before you start to see a difference.  Start out by sitting on your porch.  Be outside, be around, be present.  People will begin to know you're different, that you care about the neighborhood.  They'll become comfortable with you.  You'll eventually get to know them.
In other words, we don't have to go around, knocking on doors, inviting people over for a mixer of sorts.  Whew!  That was a relief.  Sure, I'd like to have neighbors over for a barbecue, but it has to happen naturally.  You can't impose yourself on people.  I truly believe that.  Relationships are a process and a forced process is just that.....forced.

I came across this recently:
Building a Better World...One Home at a Time

Granted, I'm a Shane Claiborne fan and if my kids weren't smack in the middle of teenage-ness, I just might push our family to move to Philadelphia.  Anyway, his group raises money and purchases homes in their neighborhood.  Then they sell them to people who otherwise could not afford a home.  Obviously, there are many benefits to a community where the majority of the dwellers are homeowners.  And we're not just talking economics.  One of the most, as my son would say, provocative, things in the above referenced article is this:
It's hard to be a friend and a landlord.  We always prefer to be friends so that can make us pretty bad landlords.
For sale and on my street
There are a few houses for sale on our street.  How I wish I could invest.  But alas, I cannot
due to our financial situation.  How I wish churches would invest.  Or Christian business people.  Not for the purpose of turning a profit.  But for the purpose of helping individuals and families who simply need a break.  Wouldn't that make for a lovely street?  Fewer landlords; more homeowners.

It seems impossible, but I realize often big and important things do.  I'm going to continue to brainstorm, considering the possibility I just might have to ask someone or a whole lot of someones to invest along with me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

{moving in}

I am sometimes in awe at the strangeness of my neighborhood.  A huge, Victorian style home with an art gallery on the first floor and some sort of commune going on upstairs.   A Pilgrim Holiness church complete with women who only wear skirts – no pants.  A car door stuck perpendicular in a front yard [a decorative piece of yard art, perhaps?].  A yard sale that seems to have lasted longer than a week [maybe they’ve set up a retail business?].  An occasional gun shot, usually at night.  A professional looking young woman walking down the street midday on a Sunday, searching for her lost cat, Milton.  A normal family next door.  A man that struts around nude across the street.  Prostitutes soliciting on various Saturdays.  I could go on.   

While on the subject of strangeness, I took an odd phone call at work today.  I won’t go into all the details, but the man on the other line stated that in his retirement, he plans to relocate to Lexington [where I live and work] and work in inner city youth ministry.  He also mentioned he wants to live in the proximity of where he’s ministering, not on the outskirts [meaning he’d have to drive in].  While that is not an earth shattering declaration for someone to make, it strikes me as rather interesting because I come across many, and I stress many, people who want to be involved in ministry, even inner city type stuff, but do not want to live in the proximity of where they’re ministering.  They want to return to safety, to clean cut grass and no risk of someone knocking on their door asking for a pain reliever.   So, best wishes to the man on the line. Here’s hoping it works out and by the end of the summer I’ve entered his info into our volunteer database.  Who knows, he might even end up living on my street……..

It seems faddish now to be {missional}.  There’s lots of talk and hub bub around the idea of getting a group of folks together and {moving in} as opposed to out.  I liken it to the mega churches of America waking up and realizing perhaps it is time to try something different.  Years ago they moved out of the city into the suburbs.  Maybe it’s time to try the reverse.  Only they just send in a few, a select group who seem to find downtowns cool and know all the trendy places to eat.  While I’m not an expert on the whole {missional experience}, I am somewhat knowledgeable on the concept of {moving in}. 

I {moved in} with my husband, son and daughter.  We didn’t come as a large group.  {Moving in} was risky.  It involved giving up a lot of enjoyable comforts.  A local YMCA with an outdoor pool.  A garden in my backyard.   A relatively safe school district with relatively high academic standards.  A library I could ride my bike to if I desired and had the energy. 

Truthfully, we could have chosen {ministering in} as opposed to {moving in}.  We’d done a bit [actually a lot] of work with inner city folks, homeless folks, addicted folks.  We could have stayed on that path, driving home each evening.  But we decided to {dive in}.  We chose to {move}.  And I honestly feel {immersion} is the way to go.  Stop and think about it much and you’ll talk yourself out of it.  You’ll reason with yourself that you of all people have no business anywhere but where middle income, educated offspring of a two parent home belong. 

I realize I’m critical of the missional-ers, at least those who aren't completely sold out on the {move in} philosophy.  I believe the only way to learn to deal with it is to {dive in}.  {Dive in and deal with it}.  Again, {immersion}.  {Moving in, whole-heartedly}.  No intense studies or reading books by so called professionals.  {Moving in} and immediately beginning to observe your community. 

{Moving in}, not because the real estate is reasonably priced.  {Moving in} because you want to help redeem the broken.  {Moving in}, not because it’s trendy.  {Moving in} because you want your kids to experience life beyond the easy. 

I'm grateful for the guy on the phone this morning.  And I'm grateful for my neighborhood, even though it's strange.

Friday, April 5, 2013

conspiracy theory

My husband has told me many times I act like everyone is out to get me.  I confess this is sometimes true.  But I do have evidence.  Really, I do.  Trust me.

Anyway, I do love a good conspiracy theory.  I don't believe Oswald acted alone [does anyone, really?].

I think too much.  Not that I'm a great thinker, but I find my mind wanders and ends up in strange places.  My latest is a theory on why something did not happen.  To me.

While I definitely do not liken myself to anyone important and I'm sure people don't think about me near as much as I suppose they do, I've convinced myself some sequence of events led to me not achieving what I'd hoped to obtain.

When I read back over the last paragraph, I must consider I could be losing my mind.  Alas, bear with me, please.

I've pieced together events and occurrences and have come to the conclusion I have been exposed.  And the exposure has limited my opportunity.

I realize this all sounds mysterious, or perhaps ridiculous.  

While I don't feel it would be appropriate to go into detail, I will say this.  I must learn to let go.  Release.  Relinquish.  Move on.

I think moving on is quite possibly the hardest aspect of life.  Especially when you have given a great deal.  More so when you were willing to give even more.  When you thought it was your purpose or the cause to give your all to.

Yes, that's dramatic and sappy. But that's my story, or theory.

I say all of the above to make my point, which I realize is a long time coming:

It is time to move on.

I actually have physically moved on and I need to take it a step further and mentally do the same.  And emotionally.  And, dare I say, spiritually.  Despite all the nice chats about God's plan and purpose, it's come to my attention that whether or not it was once the case, it is not today.  Today's plan does not equal yesterday's.  And that's a difficult reality. 

I received a phone call a short while back.  I was busy at work and it went to voice mail.  It was a person I'd never met, calling from a place I at one time knew well.  And I realized I'm not over a disappointment.  Actually, I don't know if I could really classify it as "a" disappointment.  Maybe it's a series of them.

Do we ever [get over] all disappointments?  Why can't things be?  The situations and circumstances that to me seem so right, so perfect.  What I'd planned on and worked for and mostly hoped for.  For years.

My husband shared a bit of news with our family the other night.   An update of sorts that left me pleased we're not where we once were.  Yet it's still somewhat painful.  I'm still confused.  People do not understand.  Oh, they believe they do.  Or they're silently judgmental.  Or they really just don't care.

Talents and giftings and all of that stuff we're supposedly good at.  Goals we're encouraged to set.

I can relate to this guy's story.  While it does not mirror my family's, I empathize.

We cannot control other people's actions and reactions.  So we have to learn to let go.  My family is going camping this weekend.  I plan to conduct a brief, private ceremony, for my own benefit.  I will write a few words related to what I need to relinquish on a paper, then place the paper into the campfire.  I will leave my once dream, goal and aspiration behind.  For good.  While that may seem immature or silly, it's what I need to do, so I will.  I'm tired of dwelling on my supposed [conspiracy theory].  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


There are train tracks beyond our back fence.  I remember getting the scoop regarding the train before we moved into our house.  The previous owner who is also our current next door neighbor told us..........  

The train only comes by once a day, usually around eleven o'clock in the morning, and it moves very slow.  

In other words, no biggie; it won't keep you up at night or scare the begeebers out of you.

And that was the case for just about two years.  Then the train schedule changed.

I know work is being done on the tracks near our home.  I know I've seen train cars with the RJ Corman logo going by and I've assumed this is temporary, only happening while the repairs are being made.  I'm hoping the train schedule will return to normal soon.  The new schedule makes our beagle howl.  She gets fired up every time she hears the train coming.  The new schedule means the train sometimes goes by at odd hours, not just at eleven o'clock.  

I've learned that other situations in life are similar to my local train route.  You start out with the schedule.  A plan is in place, a route map so to speak.  You know what to expect, where you're going, who's along for the ride.  Then, out of the blue, sometimes without warning, the train changes its route.  The husband's job changes or someone becomes ill.  The dream doesn't end up coming true.  The goal cannot be obtained.  You realize a person you trusted is not who you thought he was.  The money is simply not available.  Their priorities change.  The decision makers have had a change of heart.  You were once happy, but just can't find the joy anymore.

Off track.  It's a cliche term.  Maybe there really is no track.  I realize that often life does not go as planned.  Sometimes it doesn't go as anyone would ever plan, because who in the world would ask for this?  Honestly, sometimes I look at people whom we admire, those who seem to have it all together and are extremely successful, and I wonder.......  Perhaps they are not truly on the right track.  We deem success equals the right plan.  I'm not sure how that equates with martyrdom.  So maybe the pseudo successful just make a good appearance. 

Or maybe I just haven't come to appreciate how to keep the train on schedule, metaphorically.  I'd really like to figure it out. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

thank you, but what about this?

Up at 4:30am; awake since around 3:00.  That's my early Wednesday saga.  Thoughts going through my head.  Work stuff, kid stuff.  I just sent emailed myself a to-do list.

I should probably try reading instead of staring at this screen.  The light doesn't help my insomnia.

I'm fortunate in that I generally don't struggle with sleep problems.  My husband does, and it's not something I'm envious about.  He has great hair, of which I am envious.  He's a logical thinker; I am often not and again, I am sometimes a tad jealous of this fact.  But he can't sleep as well as I can, so I guess in that category I win.

Yet alas, this early morning, I do not.  It's most likely a tie, because I know he was up earlier in the night.

This is the week in which some days have a name.  Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday.  The week is labeled Holy Week, as you most likely know.  On Sunday, I'll wrap up my focus on gratefulness.  It's been a good time, and since I'm a decent person, I'll continue to be grateful.  Or at least try.

I've had many reminders during Lent regarding thankfulness.  People and things I am grateful for.  Yet, there have been so many questions.  Questions I thought I'd figured out the answer to.  Things I thought I could explain, yet I realize, more than ever, I simply just don't know and might never.

So, I'm grateful too, for the questions.  And I am more unsure than ever why some are so afraid to ask them.  They seem so sure everything can be neatly packaged, written about and sold at LifeWay Christian Stores.

Sometimes I actually wish I was more dogmatic, more of a fundamentalist.  It seems easier.  Easier not to question, just blindly believe.  Perhaps there's a sense of freedom for those who offer themselves little or none.

I prefer to think God can handle the questions though.  After all, he did give me an inquisitive mind, right?  So I'll thank him for my middle aged brain, and my husband's logical one, and my teenagers' minds because they are so curious and challenging.  Which I'm happy about.  Yet frazzled because there is so much we just don't comprehend.  And what do you tell them?  Google the answers to the universe?  That doesn't work so well for things that cannot be proven as fact.  So we discuss them, sometimes heatedly, at the dinner table.  And that often brings up more questions.

Maybe that's part of the joy of Easter.  Knowing we don't have to have it all figured out.  Knowing we don't have to know the details and the answers and why dreams don't always come true.  I will try my best to focus on redemption and reconciliation, which to me is what this week is all about.    And what I am most thankful for.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


This is a prayer from the February 5 reading of Common Prayer:

Lord, remind us that it is not always agitated uprisings and nonstop activity which lead to justice, but that change often comes through the quiet commitment of a small group of people. Help us raise our small body of people to set about quietly becoming the change we want to see in the world. Amen.

The prayer above is interesting.  It's not a bring down the house kind of prayer.  It's not a call to action.  Well, actually I suppose it is.  It's a call to a quiet commitment.  It's a call to set about quietly becoming the change.  It's revolutionary, but not in the typical revolutionary kind of way.  No shouting, fighting, or calling to arms.

I was reminded recently of some of the personal goals my husband had when we married.  They were fine goals.  They were reasonable and most likely achievable.  But that's just it.  They were about achieving.  And they would have required nonstop activity and noise.  The opposite of the above prayer.  So I'm glad he didn't obtain them. 

Yes, I know that sounds strange.....I'm glad my husband did not meet his goals!  I'm happy he's not doing anything extraordinary.  And neither am I doing anything extraordinary, of which I'm also glad.

But really, I'm not sure if that's really true.  Get this:

Unless you make what is right left, and what is left right, what is above into what is below, and what is behind into what is in front, you will not learn the Kingdom.
Acts of Peter
The Apocrypha
[please do not label me as a heretic for quoting The Apocrypha]

But please do consider, perhaps we live in an upside down world, and what we deem as ordinary is often [as on a regular basis] actually extraordinary:

taking a walk with your family
making dinner with someone you care about
eating a meal together
watching a football game with your spouse
listening to an orchestra
riding a bike or hiking a trail or running in the rain
teaching a child
cleaning your bathroom
being alone

In other words, quietly becoming the change we want to see in the world.  And being thankful for the joy found in that quietness. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

surfer table

Sometimes I wonder if I have any business doing what I do.  Being where I am. Living where I live. Etc.

Midway through my college years, I transferred schools.

Northern Arizona University
I went from a state university to a small, private school.  I moved my educational life from the forested mountains of northern Arizona to the beach.  As in San Diego.  As in this:

Point Loma Nazarene University
These are two of the dorms at PLNU.  My senior year, my roommate and I had a view of the ocean.  I am confident I never will again from my living quarters.

One of the things I noticed early on about PLNU was the cafeteria situation.  At my former school, the cafeteria was large and I and my fellow diners ate wherever we chose for the particular day.  There was no real order or method to our choosing.  Well, at PLNU, there were a couple of tables I will refer to as the "surfer tables".  Ironically to me, they were not near the wall of windows affording the ocean view, but nearest to the buffet line's end.

The people that sat at these tables were surfers.  Mind you, when I say surfers, I mean actual surfers.  It didn't take long to realize these folks were different than the rest of us.  They dressed differently, they talked differently, and for the most part, they seemed to stay to themselves.  It was a small school attendance wise, very similar in size to my high school.  Everyone knew who everyone was.  Not necessarily by name, but by association.  I don't know how they came together so quickly, but from day one, the surfers knew to sit together at meals.

No one else sat at their tables.  Sure, there were other kids who knew how to surf, who owned a surf board, who kept one in their dorm room.  Others who occasionally went out on the water for an afternoon.  But these guys, these guys were the serious ones.  We actually had a surf team.  And they were actually quite good.  This clique, so to speak, was mainly males.  But there were a few females who were part of the group.  I'm not really sure how all the girls got in.  I know some of them could truly surf, but I'm not sure about all.

I've always been a bit of a sociology buff.  This type of group intrigues me.  There is very little chance another type of person, no matter how cool, exciting or popular was going to break into their pack.  They weren't necessarily snotty or holier than thou.  Many of them were friendly enough.  They just had this small society thing going on. 

You can join most entourages.  Hang out enough and eventually, you'll most likely become part of the group, provided you have beauty or money or something to offer.  If you can make the group better, they'll let you in.  But eat at the surfer table?  No.  You had to be one of them. 

Despite my niceness, whether or not I taught myself to surf, how many Gidget episodes I watched as a girl, or how much time I put in researching the surfing life, I was not going to be invited to sit at their table.  I was not one of them.

There are days when I feel that way now.  I no longer have a minor obsession with surfers.  I got over that in 1988.  No, this has to do with what I am today. Some days, I feel like I'm trying to fit into something that I have no business in.

Kentucky is a hard place to move into.  Despite having lived here for 9 years [and this is the 3rd time I've lived here, making for a grand total of about 14 years], I often don't feel totally at home.  Strong yet often misinformed opinions, low educational standards and the fact that Kentucky ranks 49th in happiness out of the 50 states doesn't help.

Lately I question whether I am ridiculous for living in my neighborhood.  Do I have a clue?  Am I naive?  Can I possibly make a difference on a street which the police frequent with flashing lights?  Where do I begin?  I'm not here as part of a {missional} trend.  I'm not part of a group of people, except the three I live with.  We're not here to represent a movement or a fad.  We're here because we want to bring hope to a street that could use some.

Do I have to become a different person to bring hope?  Sometimes it seems that way.  Sure, I've changed through the years and grown.  But for the most part, I still like the same things I've always liked and have not developed into some pseudo personality.  

I'm sure most people have doubts and questions.  I realize that's normal.  But lately I wonder.  I really wonder if I am a square peg, so to speak.

Or perhaps, I'm once again over analyzing everything.  I tend to do that. 

Monday, March 11, 2013


Today is Monday and it's a rainy day.  I'm one of those "rainy days and Mondays" people.  In other words, it's not easy for me to be overjoyed on a Monday that's also a rainy day.

I'm trying to focus on gratitude during this season of Lent. One of the specific ways I'm trying to do this is during my morning commute to work. As in, I try to think about what I'm grateful for. This morning, as I reflected on my weekend, I realized for the most part, it was an ordinary one.  Nothing spectacular happened.  My family did not leave the city.  I did not acquire anything fantastic or eat out.  It was a regular few days, and even included a Taco Night, which while something we Moncks greatly enjoy, was not out of the ordinary for us.  Perhaps we should rename it Noche de el Taco.

While this weekend was not at all significant or special, I realized there were some joyful experiences.  I went to a University of Kentucky gymnastics meet with my daughter and a friend/co-worker.  Our team won the meet.  Likewise, the UK men's basketball team won on Saturday, invoking a few yells at the tv [by me] and leaving my husband, son and I standing during the final seconds.  On Saturday morning, the weather was glorious and my daughter and I went for a run.  Saturday evening, our family went to Starbuck's and played a board game.  On Sunday morning our family attended a church service together.

There was the usual chatter.  I think we covered the following topics:
  • hell
  • Rand Paul and his filibuster
  • fads in the church
  • donuts
  • various theological thoughts, views, theories
  • college basketball
  • Rory McIlroy
  • the possibility of making Vine and Main Streets in downtown Lexington one-way streets
    • and the possibility of our family taking it upon ourselves to paint solid yellow lines on said streets
  • whether our new neighbor might be attempting to poison our dog
  • the failing careers of female Disney stars
  • and various and assorted other things
Nothing out of the norm for us.  

I'm coming to realize there's much to be grateful for in the ordinary.  And a mindset of gratitude can make the normal more pleasant.  It's in the outlook; it's dependent on the lifestyle.  It comes down to a choice.

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."
~ Williams Arthur Ward

On Sunday, we took a walk.  As in all four of us, plus our beagle.  We walked around our neighborhood.  And while it was simply a walk, it was a blessing.  I was grateful for a sunny afternoon, two teenagers still living at home, a husband/dad who makes us laugh, and an old dog who loves a stroll.   Sure, it would have been more exciting to fly to Chicago or dine at a gourmet restaurant.  But I'm not sure if either of those would have brought any more joy.  I'm learning to be thankful for today.  It's not always easy.  It doesn't always come naturally.  Especially on rainy days and Mondays......

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

ombre and fashion and kids

If you are not familiar with the term ombre, I suggest you GOOGLE it.  It seems to be popular now, in hair, in nail color, in furniture painting, decorating, etc. Basically, if you can change the color of something, ombre is a possibility.

After much [and I emphasize much] consideration, my teenage daughter decided upon ombre hair. We recently tried a blond dip dye, to no avail.  Her hair, already blond, did not show a definite difference in shades.  On Saturday, she leaned towards purple.  As in, a subtle, purple dip dye.  Again, if you're not familiar with what a dip dye is, by all means, utilize GOOGLE.  I will not take the time to describe or explain.  But alas, all we could locate in the purple dye department was something akin to what punkers use.  Actually, I think it is what punkers use.  Since daughter Allie is not a punker, she wasn't willing to go as dark as they are.  Come to think of it, is there such a thing as punkers in this day and age?  Anyways, on Saturday evening, after visiting Walgreen's with her dad, she came home with an ombre kit.

Why she trusts me to dye her hair is beyond me.  But she does.  I, personally, am not a fan of hair dye.  I prefer the natural methods of coloring one's hair.  I use henna when my gray becomes unbearable.  Sure, in my youth I highlighted and applied Sun In.  I became a blond during my college years.  But that was a long time ago and I lived mostly in California during that phase.  Enough about me.....  Dear, sweet Allie wanted a change.  So, a change we attempted.  It's a bit difficult to tell from this photo, but I do believe the ombre dye was a success.  Her hair is lighter on the ends and darker on top, which is what we were trying to achieve. 

Having a daughter is an adventure.  Often a stylistic adventure.  Allie chose to spend some of her saved money on a subscription to Vogue.  She and I watched the documentary September Issue together.  Then she read Grace:  A Memoir, which is about Grace Coddington.  And now I'm reading it.  She follows Cara Delevingne, has numerous magazine cut outs of Cara on her wall, and knows when Fashion Week occurs.  [Yes, I realize Grace and Cara are not everyday type people, so again, by all means GOOGLE if you're unfamiliar.  Were it not for Al, I would be.]  Allie will shop at American Eagle, but prefers Topshop.  She believes in putting together an outfit, not just wearing a shirt and jeans from a popular store together.  There's a difference [in her mind and I agree].  And she photos herself and posts her outfits on Instagram on a regular basisI don't think posting them has anything to do with arrogance, I think she just enjoys fashion as a hobby.

I believe we as a society, especially those of us who have at least some compassion and mercy in our hearts, often see fashion as frivolous.  Yet I'm not sure it's anymore so than sports or music or art in other forms.  While I would never condone demeaning anyone because of their attire, I would also not discourage a star athlete from accomplishing anything possible.  See, I'm not sure there's a difference in a 6'10 basketball star and a 5'10 thinly built girl who might end up on a Paris runway.  They're both using what they've got, so to speak.

Enough of my mini sermon on the art of fashion.  If you know me today, you realize I'm not exactly a fashionista.  Yet there was a time when I enjoyed clothes much more.  I have very fond 1980s memories of diving into boxes of my aunt's old clothes from the 1960s.  My grandmother let me take what I wanted and interestingly enough, people complemented me when I wore many of those items.  Today we'd call them vintage.  Then I called them my aunt's old clothes.  I still love a good thrift store adventure.  And I quite honestly would never buy my clothing at Chico's, even if I could afford regular trips there.  For one thing, Allie would not approve.

This is the shoe I liked.
Our family visited a shoe store on Saturday.  Husband Chip needed a new pair of shoes.  While he shopped, I looked through the women's clearance section.  I found a pair of shoes I liked.  Allie even liked them.  Son Jamie, well he disagreed.  When I pointed out a pair of ballet flats, he mentioned they were better suited for me.  So, honestly I cannot win.  Not as far as pleasing my kids.  My son thinks I should wear less makeup.  My daughter, more.

Teenagers are fun.  Once they move on, I figure I can wear what I want, unapologetically. Until then, well, it's always a risk to walk downstairs in the morning.

"Mom, what are you wearing?"  

That question is heard often.  I suppose it's a bit like peer pressure, yet my kids are not my peers.  On a positive note, Allie did give up spending for Lent.  My husband and I did not push her that direction.  We did not require our children make a sacrifice for the season.  She came up with this on her own.  I'm proud of her, because she likes to spend.  So no new shirts or pants or socks until after Easter.  We did buy the ombre kit for her.  We're nice that way. 

Our dog CJ is very fashionable, also.

Friday, March 1, 2013

the failure of hopes to manifest

A little over a year ago I wrote an entry entitled, {disappointment}.  It was written in response to just that, some disappointments our family was facing.

Funny that today, a Friday, the first day of a new month, the eve of a weekend filled with family activities and enjoyment, I find myself struggling with disappointment.

Our daughter wants to study in England.  Her plan is to be a foreign exchange student her junior year of high school.  She's currently a freshman.  We found out last week England, Ireland and Scotland do not participate in the exchange program she would be a part of.  These countries feel the the US is not culturally different enough from them.  There are other countries she could choose.  France, perhaps?  She is in her third year of French.  Except France doesn't accept vegetarians, which she is.

I realize it will work out.  She can go to another country and probably have the experience of a lifetime.  Or she can wait until college and study abroad then.  Or perhaps another plan will come to be.  But for today, it's the failure of her hopes to manifest.

She really, for whatever reason, desires to go to England.  And it seems to be more than a phase.  As a parent, it can be difficult to monitor these things.  Is this feasible?  Is this out of the question?  Is this......?  She's passionate about it.  To the extreme.  It's like she's ready to go, fly, explore.  And of course, we, as her parents, don't want to hold her back.  Yet, it's a big deal.  Moving across the world, that is.  But today, today England is not possible. 

There comes a point as a parent when you can no longer mask disappointments.  Kids come to the realization that life is unfair.  Life is not always pleasant.  There are rules that apply to us but we'd rather they do not.  Things don't always make sense.  Algebraic formulas that work on paper don't always converge with the realities of life.  People come, go, move, change, and so do situations.  And we can control very, very little.

Those are hard lessons for kids.  Those are hard lessons to convey as parents and guide our children through.  

When our children were young, a problem could be taken care of with an ice cream cone.  A consolation meal at McDonald's could bring joy.  Now neither of our children eat meat, and an apple doesn't make for the best treat.  I actually put together a small surprise for my daughter last week.  She was happy, grateful, seemingly touched.  Yet, she knows the happiness won't last indefinitely and the disappointment is still a real feeling.  It simply can't be covered up.  At least not for long.

Comforting a teenage girl is not easy.  It's nearly impossible in our case, and I'm not certain comfort is what she wants or needs.  She wants a ticket to London, and that's not going to happen as planned.  So we'll modify and maybe purchase a ticket to Rome or Milan.  Or maybe Prague.  Time will tell.  Meantime, I'll try not to obnoxiously [help], which is difficult, because being obnoxiously helpful is one of my specialties.  But again, a cheesy smiling mother is not what she needs.  She needs to work through the disappointment, establish an alternative goal, and make it happen.  I'm certain she will.  And eventually she'll need and want some help with the plan.

Seeing your daughter's hopes fail to manifest is difficult.  It is frustrating.  It is a disappointment.  I look forward to seeing how this aspect of her life plays out. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

rights, firearms and me

As I've previously stated in my blog, I'm part of the responders to the Lexington Herald Leader's Faith and Values Questions of Faith.  Their latest [question] has to do with the Second Amendment, guns, our rights, etc.

This was a particularly hard question for me to answer, mainly because I do not like to offend people.  And for whatever reason, [actually, I suppose we know most of the reason] sharing one's thoughts on gun control can open up a proverbial can of worms.

I have friends, close family members and I'm fairly certain neighbors who have guns and believe strongly in the right to [bear] them.  I cannot recall ever touching an actual gun in my entire life.  I have no desire to fire one, own one or even look at one.

In May of last year, a young man was shot and killed across the street from our home.  My son walked home from his bus stop on a Thursday afternoon to a crime scene.  Whether or not the guy killed was involved in something he should have been, is beside the point to me.  Someone fired a gun and killed him.  Life over.  Wasted.  Done.  Another young man sent to prison.  Another life most likely wasted, at least for quite a few years.

Last fall I stood in front of a middle school while a group of school staff, a couple of my coworkers, and a lady from an apartment complex across the street gathered to pray for the school and neighborhood.  A young man had been shot point blank at the apartments a week or so before.  Another life wasted.  People left behind.  Kids who think having a gun is the answer.  Revenge.  RIPs on Facebook.  Domestic issues someone wants to take care of, but ends up creating a gazzillion more.

Just yesterday, a youth was shot in the neighborhood in which my husband works.  He's employed at the Lexington Rescue Mission.

Yes, I realize these are [urban] cases.  Violence in the [not so great part of town].  Kids involved in stuff they shouldn't be.

Bad guys are going to have guns whether they're legal or not.  We hear that all the time.  We have a right to guns.  We have a right to protect ourselves and our families.  We hear that all the time too.  But at what point do we decide enough is enough?

Here's my contribution to the Herald Leader.  The italicized section was left out by the newspaper.  I guess that's their right. [as long as we're talking about rights.....]   Or you can read it at the HL site:


If you own a hand gun or assault rifle, or basically anything beyond a rifle used for hunting, and have ammunition for the gun, I would surmount you are prepared to wound, if not kill another person with it.  You have already made the decision you are willing to take a life, most likely in a split second decision.

When I compare that scenario with the Sermon on the Mount, I do not see the parallels.  When I look at the words of Jesus, I read nothing that encourages me to grab a literal weapon and be prepared for a shoot out.

People often bring up the issue of 'rights'.  There are those who don't care to own a gun yet still believe they have a right to, and of course, those who do own, often preach on and on about the Second Amendment.  If I believe in living life aligned with the teachings of Jesus, I have to be willing to give up my 'worldly' rights.  As followers of Jesus, our citizenship is to be in heaven, so our rights here don't matter all that much.

This past spring, my son walked home from his high school bus stop to a crime scene.  At approximately 3pm on a May Thursday, a nineteen year old was shot across the street from our home. He died a few hours later at a hospital.  While arming our home might seem like a safe and reasonable response to such violence, I choose to disagree.  Teaching our 18 year old honor student with excellent hand-eye coordination from years of drumming to defend the family with a hand gun might seem the smart idea, but I differ.  I choose an example of peace and reconciliation.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

gratitude vs comparison

This season of Lent, I am trying to meditate on gratitude.  As I consider gratitude and whether or not I'm living a life filled with thankfulness, my mind is conflicted with thoughts of comparison.

I know, I know.  Comparison is the root of inferiority.  Comparison is the root of much unhappiness.  Yet, when I think of what I'm thankful for, I confess I often compare my so called [blessings] with others.

Sure, I'm thankful for the income our family receives monthly.  But, comparatively, shouldn't we be making more?  We're middle aged, educated.  My husband has a master's degree, for gosh sakes!

I'm thankful, likewise, for many material things, as well as for many non-material:  my husband, my children, extended family members who love me.  Yet, I sometimes compare relationships; I sometimes look into the windows of others lives and compare.......

There are also times when I go the other way.  Asking why I have so much and others have so little.  I sat in my office last week and talked to a man who, with his wife, escaped The Congo.  I simply cannot relate to his stories.  He's dealt with survival at its primal.  I've had problems, issues, setbacks, but frankly, nothing like what he's gone through.  So I question the fairness.  Sure I can be grateful for what I have.  But how about him?  I'm sure he's thankful to be here now.  But there's a different degree of gratitude in a refuge camp than at my dinner table.  He wasn't sure if he'd survive.  I know I have everything I need and much more.

I suppose what it comes down to is:  Choice.

Gratitude is a choice I can make.   And I need to make it without comparing.  Simply be grateful.  Be thankful.  Be content. 

Colossians 3:15 [AMP]
And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

...and be thankful

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

not the end

This is just a chapter. Not the entirety of the rest of the story. In other words, a season, not a lifetime.

Though not especially original, I came up with the above during one of those days when my mind thinks:
  • I went to college for this?
  • Is it really going to snow again on Saturday?
  • Am I the mother my 14 year old daughter needs?
  • Etc.etc.etc.
I'm currently reading Anna Karenina.  Apparently there are those who venture to say this is the greatest work of fiction ever written.  It is extremely long, over 900 pages.  I'm reading it on my Kindle [it was a free download since it's a classic], so it's a bit difficult to monitor page wise how much I have remaining.  My Kindle tells me I'm 82% through it, so yes, I could obviously do the math. I'm roughly on page 800.  It is a well written [IMO] , expansive novel that incorporates numerous characters and themes.  Yet, I'm ready to move on to something outside the realm of Russian imperialism.  Plus, I know how it's going to end.  At least for Anna.  Therefore, I'm more than anxious to be done with it.

It's interesting to me that we so often think we'll end up somewhere, whether an actual place or a place in our psyche, and we never quite do.  The best laid plans, so to speak.  My husband and I are not doing today what we thought we'd be doing when we married.  Or what we thought we'd be doing today when we looked ahead in 1998.  Or really even what we thought we'd be doing today in 2004.

For many years I truly believed [probably rightly so] that I was to give my working life to a specific cause and/or movement.  I gave many volunteer and working hours to this particular cause.  I thought I always would.  I thought my professional life would grow in that direction, finally leading to a position of leadership.  Yet alas, I'm not even on a close track.  Whether or not I will eventually, I don't know.  I honestly doubt it.  I think that season is over.  A door closed.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and as I begin the Lent season, I'm reminded it's time to move on.  In other words, it's time to get over it.  Get over the past.  All the plans and expectations.  All the closed doors and disappointments.  So life didn't play out exactly as planned?  Focus on what has turned out great.  Focus on the family I love.  Last night I had the chance to serve spaghetti to families in one of the programs I work with at my job.  [I apologize for the excessive use of prepositions in that last sentence.]  My daughter Allie came along to help.  I should focus on positive opportunities like this instead of all the past ministry experiences that didn't work out.

Likewise, I'm reminded this is a season.  This isn't how things will always be.  It's winter, snow flurries are flying.  It's cold.  But in a few months, it will be warm.  I'll sit on our back deck and read in the sun.  Metaphorically, a new season will arrive.  Life will change.  What's great about today might not always be; what's gloomy about today will possibly change to joy.  Today's not the end of the story. 
I am reminded:
this is not the end
I encourage you to listen to this song.  Here are the words:

This is not the end  
This is not the end of this  
We will open our eyes wide, wider
This is not our last  
This is not our last breath  
We will open our mouths wide, wider
And you know you'll be alright  
Oh and you know you'll be alright
This is not the end  
This is not the end of us  
We will shine like stars bright, brighter

Happy Ash Wednesday.  Happy Lent. 

I am meditating on this today:  

 But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation:
 It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.
  The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.
 Lamentations 3:21-24  Amplified Bible (AMP)