But they all have been hopeful and sweet in their own way. And this was no exception. Main character Lucy is still furious at (and separated from) her cheating husband when he learns he is dying. Then, she's even madder that he's tying up her emotions. She goes home out of duty, but one night in a drunken fit, calls the names in his little black book saying, "Artie's dying. You need to come take your turn at his bedside."
The characters that take her up on it are precious and become everyone's sweethearts. There is much love and redemption in this fun little book. Yes, it's fun, even facing death. Again, I recommend!
I really wanted to include a photo of me how I USUALLY look --post workout, with some traces of yesterday's make-up, in a ponytail, but I never got around to taking the picture (another flaw: I'm a GREAT planner, a horrible follow-through-er). AND I COULD include a picture of the computer eqipment, Christmas wrapping paper, hand weights, and various and sundry items waiting to go to Goodwill that 'decorate' the floor of my bedroom, but I'm not quite THAT humble.... just imagine.
Today, I am clinging to this:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19
(I'm practicing spelling 'Habakkuk' Yikes!)
We were catching up. I was mentioning that I had read a blog post about one person struggling the last few years and I was just floored. I told Roxanne that I know that from reading the blog, I have a limited vantage point, but from the blog and some other bits of information I have, this person's life seems to have completely fallen into place the last few years. Or, maybe, more accurately, fell into a place that I would like to be. I simply said it to observe, "You never know what's going on with people, you know?"
She pointed out that were someone to happen upon my blog, see my well-coiffed picture that Tammy took of me, and hear some of my day-to-day what-have-yous (she did point this out on a day that precious Michelle from Fresh Brewed Life put most of Coffee Group on a conference call to write us up for the website, and I got a new writing gig for the local paper), someone may think that I, too, have it all together. Well, bless. I simply do not....
Occasionally when someone realizes that I'm a certified teacher that interprets for the deaf at my church and teaches swimming lessons in the summer for extra dough, with an occasional article in a local magazine AND exercises on a regular basis, I will get, "Well, what DON'T you do...?"
The list is so very, very long.
I usually start with the most obvious (to me):
I don't keep a clean house. I LOVE having a clean house, but I get it that way about 4 times a year. In a good year. I turn a blind eye to clutter that would drive other people to drink.
I couldn't make it teaching. I guess if Troy got run over by a bus tomorrow and I needed more steady income than the sum total of the -$0- that I am currently earning as a writer, I would find a way. But, as it stands currently, I was unable to function in a job millions of men and women do every day quite successfully, and the job that I have a college degree in. That's a long therapy session right there.
I burn dinner, I serve it cold, I serve it how my family hates it, and I get grouchy when they don't like it. I frequently just walk away from the dirty kitchen (Troy usually takes care of it, but if he doesn't, I can hardly face it by the time I've already been in the kitchen an hour).
I do NOT make my family breakfast. I just can't. It's too early for me to function for people that have to be out of the house at a certain time... like all of us.
I'm horrible with our finances and, going on the unfortunate bus scenario for Troy again, I have NO idea what's what with our retirement (judging from the stock market, I'm sure I'm happier not knowing, but I don't know). I wasn't quite so bad with our finances when I was teaching and there was more of it to juggle, but I'm pretty bad at them.
And the list could continue forever.
I don't say this to say 'poor, pitiful me', though I confess to feeling that way at least once a week, if not once a day. I say it for several reasons. First, I say it because I have always felt it important to be a transparent person. I want people to see that we're all just people, and I, especially, am just people. In trying to not let my blog become a blog-o-griping, perhaps I do put too rosy a picture on things sometimes. Most importantly, I say it to remind everyone, myself included, that without the Lord working through me, I would accomplish nothing. Anything I do that may seem like a big deal is because He willed it and allowed it. 'Cause my way would surely screw it up.
So. I'm just a person, who does too much in too many places, (usually) trusting that God will use my cluttered life to do what He wills. Please don't think I've got it all together.
God has been leading me to understand that I am completely wrong.
This type of balance reminds me of a station the P.E. teachers have at the school where I substitute -- a small plank balanced on a PVC pipe about the diameter of a can of tennis balls. I've actually tried to do this, and have done it without even breaking any part of my body, which is an accomplishment in itself. I have pretty good balance, but to stay on that thing requires every bit of concentration and control I can give. AND I know when I am balanced and when I am not, which is rare when you're talking about the pull between your family and your ministry or your job.
I don't know what caused me to start thinking otherwise, but God very firmly said to me recently, "It's not about balance, it's about total surrender. To me." There is no balance in total surrender. Balance implies that I am completely in control -- the nudge of the Father or the breath of the Holy Spirit is likely to send my PVC pipe rolling and upset the delicate balance I have created in my world. Total surrender allows my day to be ordered by Him and the Holy Spirit, which takes a minute-by-minute surrender and conversation with Him. I don't know that I'm ready for that, I kind of like having the illusion that I am in control of my life and day. But my day goes REALLY wrong when God shows me that I never was in control.
What about my flat tire last week? Maybe I was supposed to come in contact with someone at the tire store. Did I? Nope, just read a book, trying to survive the irritation of MY plan not going how I wanted it. Did I miss what God had for me to do? I'll never know...
So today I shall surrender. My worries, my irritations, my own plans, my family, my ministry, my deadlines. All of it. (Seriously, it kind of makes my pulse race to think of letting it all go -- will it get done? What will happen?) Then I shall laugh to myself ever thinking I had any control of it anyway. And I will trust. None of that will be easy, but I will do that for today. And tomorrow I will get up and try again.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20
I have only (that I can remember) gone out on a limb with a prediction one time on the ol' bloggity... and it didn't quite end up like I thought...
But, since I don't mind being wrong on some things (just don't let me miss heaven!) I have a couple of predictions rolling around in my head to share with you guys. Feel free to agree, disagree, or debate. Whatever suits your fancy.
First, I think that America will take only one, POSSIBLY two, more seasons of Kate Gosselin verbally abusing Jon. The day of 'Jon and Kate Plus Eight' is in its sunset. I hope they are enjoying the new house, the appliance sponsorships, and the elaborate vacations that we get to hear her screech her way through. Obviously, it is watched at my house. Ashley is IN LOVE with all of the little guys and doesn't mind hearing Kate screech to watch them. She makes my teeth itch.
My next prediction I am fairly certain of (the first one I'm just HOPEFUL for!):
After a brief perusal through Target's junior section where shorts and swimsuits are out while I wear my fleece, I expect to see a LOT of hiney cheeks hanging out of shorts this summer. To which, I already say, "Ew. Put those things away...." I guess now that pants and shorts are being made higher so as to not expose hiney cracks, they had to be made shorter so that some portion of the hiney could be seen at all times. Bless.
What about you? Noticing a trend? What do you think is coming down the road? I would love to hear it!
The church where I worship is creating a blog roll in order to promote community among members. There are many members that I don't see on a regular basis, but I can read their blog and know that they have been plagued with the flu, or are celebrating a first tooth loss, or anything else that may connect me with them.
For some reason, when I went to the meeting about this and was the only person in the room not on the church's payroll, I ended up in charge of gathering those names and blogs. Hmmmmm.... what is wrong with this picture? (absolutely nothing, say the people from the meeting)
So, to my readers that worship at SoHills, please do two things: leave a comment if you would like your blog included. I'll need the blog address, your name, and a brief, one sentence description of your blog ("Family happenings" or "My life at the end of a fishing pole" or "My thoughts about today" Whatever --don't sweat that part). Then, please continue to spread the word to our fellow SoHills bloggers. I will only accept a person's submission of their own blog due to privacy issues. You can tell your buddy about it, but don't sign up for him/ her.
Also, please remember that we are looking to include blogs that reflect and embrace our front porch vision of inviting, including, and involving others. Basically, "What Would Jesus Blog" type thought process if you wish to be included in our blog (which may be way over the top, because I doubt that Jesus would spend most of one blog post complaining about a flat tire, but you get the idea...)
Hope to see your name on the roll!
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
What sound waves are unique to a home bathroom door? Something about the closing of your own bathroom door cues everyone in your life to the precise moment you shut it. Sound waves must be it! How else would they all know to ring the phone or doorbell? And the kids? They have some kind of inner sensor that alerts them that you have shut the bathroom door. It is the same sensor that tells them to go ballistic as soon as your ear is pressed to a phone, and closely related to the magnetic waves that cause a major appliance to break down or overflow when you are expecting company or out of money (or both).
My kids are old enough to get dressed, cook a meal, and operate a dishwasher or washing machine without me (they have the capability... don’t hear me saying they use it). But STILL, the moment the bathroom door is shut I hear it, "Mom? Where are you?"
My home was one of hundreds in Abilene damaged in the floods in 2002. For a few months we lived out of our home, then returned to a home under construction. For a brief time, we only had one toilet in the home, and for a day or two, there was a hole in that bathroom that led to hall. A little mini-window into the private inner plumbing of my home giving anyone – construction worker or family – a clear view into the bathroom from the hallway.
Finally the cabinetry that would close the hole was installed and I had a private restroom in my home again! So, as soon as I closed the bathroom door to celebrate the return of indoor, private facilities, I could hear my then-4-year-old. He had been outside playing, but of course his sensor let him know that I was in the bathroom, and probably needed company. I could hear him at the front door: “Mom?” And walking through the living room: “Mooooom?” And down the hall: “Mom? Where are you?” Finally, he spotted the closed bathroom door.
I could tell by the sound that his next shout had his precious little lips pressed right into the crack between door and door jamb. “Mom?”
“Why did the turkey cross the playground?”
Oh, yes, of course. A turkey and playground joke. That is precisely what was missing from this experience. However, the humor of the moment was not lost on me while I washed my hands, and curiosity won out.
“I don’t know... why did the turkey cross the playground?”
“To get to the other SLIDE!” he exclaimed just as I was opening the door.
My reward for FINALLY opening the door was the beaming freckled face of a child so pleased with himself he seemed to have grown a couple of inches. I even had to stop and wonder how I could possibly part with that precious face for the 2.7 minutes I must have had the door closed. I'm still trying to figure out where that sensor is, though.
(A photo of Riley from that approximate time. Thankfully, he wasn't holding a fish when I opened the door, but how could you not be thrilled to see that face?)
You KNOW I love words. But Donna Hester knows how to put them together. This woman is a genius. Maybe someday I will grow up and put together words as beautifully as Donna did in "Words". A must read....
And that Beth... she's always sayin' it right. Beautiful post about marriage and the God that ordained it.
I think Troy thinks this is what I do every night:
If you would like to add your 'Good Thing' button to your blog, copy the code into an 'HTML' box on your sidebar:
My family experienced some minor medical drama the week between Christmas and New Year's while traveling out of state. On one of my many trips to the drug store I had to stop dead in my tracks. I was perusing the Christmas decorations and wrapping paper on clearance. I turned around to look for more, and was faced with a shelf full of boxes of Valentine's cards that children will use to declare love for classmates. Before the confetti of the New Year’s holiday is swept up, the shelves in stores are fully stocked with hearts, balloons, and all manner of Valentine props and paraphernalia. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s motherhood, maybe it’s global warming, but I don’t think of Valentine’s Day the same way that I did as a young, single woman or newlywed. Valentine’s Day is a fun, light-hearted opportunity to lavish love on those around you, but life has shown me that love rarely looks like the front of a Hallmark card.
Love is not running along a beach hand in hand. Love holds the flashlight in the middle of the night, make-up long gone and tempers flaring, holding your tongue while your sweetie attempts an emergency home repair. Love isn’t demonstrated by dewy eyes across a candlelit meal, but rather by one more run to the doctor or pharmacy when you are exhausted beyond reasonable or rational thought. Valentine's Day lends itself to romance. Romance is wonderful and exciting but won't take you very far when the stomach bug hits, or your Love Shack floods, or one of your parents is critically ill and/or dies. Romance will not be found in any of those situations, but love is there larger than life. Love brings the cool wash cloth again and again for the stomach bug, and mops and covertly repairs damaged keepsakes during the flood, and cries and holds and works and loves with an ill family member.
Love is not rose petals and champagne, but aching backs and work gloves. Love at my house never dances in an evening gown or tuxedo, but love supplies the elbow grease, the patience, the encouragement, and the clean clothes to face each day and, Lord willin’, a comforting place to come home to when the day seems to come out on top. Love is holding tight when no words will fix it, and tears the only language uttered.
Love is not a polished, glimmery state. Love is messy, inconvenient, and frustrating. Love is giving up the last ounce of energy, sleep, time, or chocolate for the well-being of another. Love isn’t found in romantic restaurants or destinations, but in hospital waiting rooms, the lobby of funeral homes, and kneeling in prayer next to race-car or princess beds in the middle of the night. Love is less about flowers and cartoon hearts, and everything about the value of another soul on this planet. I guess that’s a little harder to put on the side of a coffee mug.
I will play along this Valentine’s Day, like all the others, and I certainly hope for you to feel cherished on that day. But later in the year when the toilet overflows while the drama at school comes to a boiling point and work causes too many demands to keep everyone civil, love will be there with a plunger, Kleenex for the tears, and hugs, pats, and kisses for all the things the plunger and Kleenex won’t fix. Consider that your own Valentine’s Day – but don’t look for Hallmark to make a card for it anytime soon.
To my Valentine: Thank you for showing me what love looks like wearing work gloves. It is you. I thank the Lord for you every day -- usually as I'm putting my icicle toes on your feet... :-)
Izzy is a border collie that Jon rescued and he was a MESS when Jon got him. Pretty soon, though, Jon went to go get trained to be a hospice volunteer and took Izzy with him. Some of the book is about their work as hospice volunteers. It is VERY touching to hear him tell the story of Izzy instinctively relating with people in their last moments of life. I can't remember now how Jon ended up with Lenore, a lab puppy. (Our Duchess is a lab -- sweetest dogs on the planet...!) Shortly thereafter, Jon realized that not only was he "not himself" he was in the depths of a deep depression. So some of the book is how Lenore was a precious companion to him through his journey through depression.
I think it's a great book, but I am an unashamed dog lover. Katz frequently says, "I know you can't assign human emotionsn to dogs..." and then go on to illustrate some action of either of the dogs that may contradict that. He doesn't think of them as people, but his love for them is evident.
Gotta give it a thumbs up. Check it out.
Window guy left. I was a little hungry and walked to the kitchen to pull out some yogurt for a snack while Ashley was starting on her homework.
It hit me. Turned, and the clock read: 3:54. I called an audible: "Kids! Hurry! In the car! Let's go to Sonic!"
We looked like the 3 stooges. "Not the dog!" "Don't worry about shoes!" "Which door are we going out?" "Keys! Throw me the keys!"
We screeched into our new Sonic at 3:59, got some slushes for happy hour, and enjoyed our victory. Sometimes ya just gotta live on the edge... :-) Happy Thursday!
Y'all, is that the absolute sweetest thing you have ever heard? Can you see it? A cherubic little toddler head leaning towards her chest to visit with Jesus who lives in her heart. I so love that image!
Do you really believe that Jesus is there? Do you understand that he truly is that close that you can lean your head down (actually, you don't even have to do that if you're well beyond toddler years and have neck issues like, maybe, the blog-writer) and visit with your Jesus? Do you believe, like that precious punkin', that he is in there, AND ... he's CRAZY about you?
I shall give that a shot today... and hopefully for the rest of my life. May I come to remember and believe that Jesus lives in my heart, and I only have to start visiting with him for him to listen to me. And... if I'm really, really, listening, I'll be able to hear what he says back.
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16
Sing it with me, "Get around, 'round, 'round, I get around (yeah)..."
And I mean that in the purest sense possible, with an additional bonus of a nod to my husband's love of all things Beach Boys.
So, go poke around the internet, see where all I've been this week. 'Cause tomorrow? I am so HERE (as in here, here -- The Cleft of the Rock here!!) And you won't want to miss it.
I currently subscribe to 84 blogs. I say 'currently' because I just culled my list by about 15-20. I assure you that if you are here reading, I didn't cull you! I culled folks who don't know I'm alive, but have excellent things to say -- that I don't have time to read. I did cull one or two soccer moms that consistently blog in gangsta, but they don't know I'm alive, either, so I doubt their feelings are hurt. I cut out one blog from my writing list that is an agent whose posts consistently say, in so many words, "I just have to tell so many people 'no'." "There are so many good writers out there, but that one great writer is so hard to find." "You'll never make it in this business, you know." She isn't good for my psyche!
And, after much 'marking as read' things that I haven't actually read (which bugs me to no end!), I am down to 194 unread blog posts from 682 earlier today. And you wonder why I never call...
I subscribe to running blogs, writing blogs, mom blogs, preacher-dude blogs, and friends' blogs (I would love to include family in there, but my family just doesn't do such...). It's a lot. It's educational, and it can even be community. But I think I am definitely on information overload.
Richmond's sophomore effort (after Dream of the Blue Room, 2003) traces a
traumatic year in the life of photographer Abby Mason after she loses her
fiance's six-year-old daughter. The moment Abby stopped to photograph a dead
baby seal while walking on a fog-bound beach in San Francisco is one she will
replay in her head a thousand times. That's the last time she saw Emma, who was
racing ahead, eager to collect sand dollars. Panic and fear soon give way to
sheer exhaustion and emotional shutdown as Abby and Emma's dad, Jake, immerse themselves in the desperate search for the missing first-grader. The trauma and the guilt wreak havoc with their relationship and with their struggle to regain a sense of normalcy. Richmond gracefully explores the nature of memory and perception in key passages that never slow the suspense of the search. This is a page-turner with a philosophical bent.
Is that the most heartbreaking statement/ scripture?
And am I not guilty of the SAME exact thing -- on an almost daily basis?
May my satisfaction in this blessed life never lead me to forget my God -- or be ungrateful for all the blessings in my path.
I sent out two jpegs and said, "Which do you like better, #1 or #2?"
I think I asked maybe a dozen folks, far and wide. About 50% of those surveyed (I just wanted to say that to sound official) actually responded with something that went, "I like #(whatever) for this reason..." The other 50%? Oy... they sounded like Sally on "When Harry Met Sally"!
- I like #1, but could you move the graphic to the left?
- I like #1, but could you move the graphic to the right?
- That font size needs to be bigger.
- That phrase is stupid.
- You shouldn't have that information on there.
Totally cracked me up AND let me realize I evidently have an opinion about it. So, I went with what I liked in the first place and that was that. And, yes, I will take some tator tots with my made-to-order business cards!
So, I mentioned -- man, maybe a year ago -- that I see the day of the blog waning. Now more than ever. Maybe it's just among folks I know, but it seems blogging has gone one of two directions: folks who are really good at it and are faithful have a ginormous readership and continue to blog and even make a few bucks at it. The other 4 bajillion of us have developed an enormous network of folks we need to keep up with, so far-reaching is the internet, so we have resorted to 140-character soundbites on Twitter and Facebook. Maybe it's just me.
Today, in driving all over creation trying to get a clarinet repaired (which still isn't), Ashley and I were figuring how long we had to save up for a better clarinet before high school. 18 months!!! 18 months until my little punkin' curly-haired toddler gets thrown to the wolves in high school! That completely freaked me out and I'm still not over it.
We had a terribly busy weekend with Riley's spelling bee and Ashley's basketball tournament. No one came out all the way on top of the event, but I was reminded yet again what a joy it is to watch my children use their gifts. So very fun.
And the Super Bowl? Yes, went to a party, where we all learned again that the commercials aren't family friendly. That is so annoying. Loved seeing Bruce Springsteen who looks amazing. Kudos to his plastic surgeon.
Is anyone still thinking about any of their New Year's Resolutions? I guess I have 3 total. The main two are:
-- be in God's word EVERY day and
-- write at least 100 words EVERY day (now I've altered it to be towards 1 particular project).
I am very happy to report that I am doing very well at those two things. I guess that means I've written over 3,200 words this year! (Okay, I have to confess that I read that Stephen King doesn't call it a full work day until he's written 2,000 -- but I'm not quite there yet!) I also have to confess that I did miss one day of being in God's word, but I won't let that stop me. And I literally would have gotten out of bed to do it, but I realized at midnight after a ridiculously busy day that I slept too late to start my day with it. I'm letting that be okay and a reminder of God's grace that I could start over on January 24! And I did...!
Anyone else still have a resolution going?