Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's the Point?

I think I'm in the process of losing all inspiration for this pitiful blog of mine that I have for some reason kept returning to since its birth in 2005.  Maybe it's because I only have 8 followers (one of which is myself) and it's been that way for...I don't know how many years.  Maybe it's because I get very few comments which to me signifies even fewer readers.

 So what's the point?  Why am I blogging at all?  To stand on my virtual podium and shout about all that is wrong with the world?  To share some of my struggles (although honestly, if you knew the half of it, this blog is definitely not where I lay it all out).  I have no purpose, no focus in my postings as whole.  Individually, I don't like that.

I'm thinking of starting over.  A new blog.  Again.  But this time with a specified purpose from the beginning.  Let's be honest here, the reason we bloggers (or wannabes like me) blog is so others can hear us, validate us, encourage us, and at the very least, find us cool enough, on some level, to read every once in a while and maybe post something like, "Awesome post!"  "Amen sister!"

Maybe the reason my blog sucks is that I have detached myself from the words.  I write some things that are personal but still hold them at arm's length so the heart that is in my earlier posts is nowhere to be found in 2012.

Fear.  That's it.  That may the big problem here.  The problem that seems to continually infiltrate my life. The fear of my friends turning on me.  The fear of you, your eyes, reading without seeing and acting as you see fit.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ch. 7: Letting Go (S.H.A.P.E.)

This chapter is all about letting go of the burdens, surrendering the secrets, getting past the guilt.  That's how it spoke to me, anyways.

I wonder how often I have gotten in God's way of his plan for my life - in small ways and big ways.  Just this weekend Jon and I may have had a moment like this.  We had a wonderful dinner, watched the sun set overlooking the CDA lake with a drink and we decided  to head back to the car.  I didn't know it then but Jon was tired and very ready to go home.  We were almost to the car when I decided I really wanted to check out Sherman and see if any potential dancing could be had for us.  He made sure this was really what I wanted, and we set off.  We ended up having a really great time and in the process came across a friend that we had not connected  with in a very long time.  The next day, Jon said he couldn't help but wonder that us turning from the car was one of those small instances where God was at work - however small it may seem.

"You're only as alone as your secret(s)."  This was vaguely familiar when I heard the phrase in church but it has stuck with me since.  I seem to have been struggling with feelings of loneliness for a long time.  Ever since my life changed in November, 2011, there haven't been too many friends with me on my path.  At least that is how it feels much of the time.  There have been some who have reached out and I don't know if we got to busy or if I simply shut the door to those relationships.

The truth is that I have been dealing with some trust issues.  I have even spent time shutting Jon out of some areas of my life.  This caused such a deep loneliness that I started going absolutely crazy.  I felt I had another secret, and this one was more dangerous than the first because I was so much more careful about it.  Truth always comes out in one way or another.  I'm thankful that I allowed the Spirit to work among the members of my growth group to allow me the freedom to express some very deep emotional struggles I have being a step-parent to a pre-teen with down syndrome.

I am working on getting past all the guilt that I have lugged around for years.  Satan likes that I gather my guilt and bring it with me wherever I go.  Unless I let go of this heavy pack, I can't get to conviction.  This book makes this distinction so clearly, "While guilt makes us feel unworthy and causes us to want to  hide from God, conviction makes us feel worthy and urges us to run to God." I am realizing that in order for me to heal, in order for my family to heal, I must confess.  I must surrender.

Now every day I am practicing surrender in just a few simple words.  I surrender my son, who is begging me to let him live with his daddy.  I surrender my feelings towards my step-daughter whom I have to consciously decide on an almost moment-by moment basis whether I am going to be kind or mean.  I have to surrender Jon's trip to Hawaii which will take him away for 3 weeks.  I have to surrender my feelings towards my dad as he seems to have no idea what I am trying to say to him through our difficult times.  I have to surrender our checkbook because it's become apparent that with Jon's new job, I must take a leading role in our finances.  There is much to give up every day.

I am realizing I have not done any kind of surrendering since Friday or Saturday.  It's time for me to sign off and do that right now because my heart is heavy after digging up all this dirt.  I hope that you will do the same if you haven't already. :)  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Your Shirts go THIS way Honey!

Laundry Day.  I love it. I hate it.  It's a love and hate it kind of thing.

I love the smell of clean clothes - when I use it enough soap or fabric softener to make them smell good.    I especially like it when I find that grass stains have come out of Evan's jeans or the paint is no longer visible on Ciena's white skirt that she has only worn a few times.  I like folding and rolling everyone's shirts, pants and undergarments to perfection - a trade I am still working on.  I am the orchestrator and these are my subjects and will bend to my every will.

But do you know what I really REALLY like about laundry day?  I get to sit on the floor and sort laundry, fold pants and shirts,  roll underwear and match socks while watching my favorite shows on Hulu (which for the past few years has been Grey's Anatomy).  And do you know how long I get to do this?  Hours.  Hours!  So when Jon comes home and I'm watching Grey's Anatomy on the couch out of exhaustion I can tell him I spent HOURS upon HOURS sorting his dirty socks and folding his jeans.  Therefore, "please make us dinner honey.  I'm just so tired!"

There is one aspect I do not like about laundry day, however.  This one aspect actually has three different branches of annoyance attached to it.  First of all, I hate how long it takes to hang up my shirts AND Jon's shirts.  So I do my shirts first and everything is faced and in it's correct space.  Then I turn to Jon's side of the closet and his shirts are faced every which way, some buttoned up, some not, long sleeves mixed with short sleeves, dress shirts mixed with ugly work shirts.  When I'm feeling up to it I take the extra time and fix his clothes.  But lately, more often than not, I fight that strong urge that says, "Fix it! Fix it!  It's crazy! Fix it!!!"  I work as fast as I can and don't return for another two weeks.

Then, there is Ciena and her clothes.  She is not nearly as bad as her father and I equate that (right or wrong) to her down syndrome which causes her to be fairly compliant when it comes to keeping her room in order.  However, she is still a child and this just isn't always the case.  After spending laborious hours folding her jeans, matching her socks and smoothing out her undies, here is what I may find about an hour later:  Undies in a jumble, socks are usually okay, jeans rolled into a ball as are anything else belonging in a drawer and her shirts may be barely hanging onto the hangers - backwards.  Unlike my husband, I do not fight the urge to fix all, most some of these problems messes.  So I get to breathe a sigh of relief and know that Ciena's closet and dresser will soon be fixed.

Lastly, I have to deal with entering Evan's room.  Typically, he is not home when I do laundry so it's a great time to refold all his clothes and button up his nice shirts which hang up in the closet.  Then Saturday rolls around....and I just have  to steer clear of his clothes.  I've tried to keep it organized while he is home - to no avail.  I can't figure out if this is because he's a boy (equalling messy) or he can't figure out what to wear each day (equalling [the word for a guy that likes to dress really nice]).  To his credit, Evan does a nice job with his button up shirts.  But his drawers...every single item seems to be sloshed back and forth every time he has to get dressed.  So I stay away as best I can because it really is out of my control.

So yes, Laundry Day and I have a definite love-hate relationship.  It really is an all day event if I play my cards right.  I could make it quicker - but where is the fun in that?

What do you love/hate about your laundry day?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ch. 6: Experiences (S.H.A.P.E.)

Okay so I've been slacking this week.  But last week was a bad, bad week.  Every day something was happening which affected my mood which affected the rest of my day.  Some of it was small, like a wrong facebook post or I let myself stay hungry for too long before eating lunch.  But some of it was pretty big.  So I was in a funk. All week.  And that did not help me in reading this very "fun" chapter about my experiences - the good and the bad.


So here we go.  (I'm not having such a bad week this time around just fyi)

This chapter was all about our experiences.   We're told to imagine ourselves walking down a long hallway and on one wall are portraits/paintings of our positive experiences.  The other wall had the gross, painful, nitty gritty kick me in the stomach if I ever have to think about that again experiences.  I have no clue what that would like in a hallway.  Let's skip that part.

My Positive Portraits 

**The key here is to acknowledge achievements that hold value to me regardless of what others think. That said...

Personal: you mayve received an award that is especially meaningful to you.

  • 1st grade spelling bee, I runner up.  I'm not sure why that has always stuck with me.  Maybe because it's the only award I have ever won at school other than graduating...and almost winning isn't even a reward. 
Vocational: perhaps you have a pattern of achievement when it comes to productivity, sales, or leadership
  • keeping a clean home
  • cooking yummy meals (more or less)
  • editing videos for hpc (this was actually something Jon took on then I ... took over ... and started doing a better job)
Relational: you may enjoy a godly marriage or benefit from a friendship that comforts you in difficult times or challenges you to strive for excellence in everything you do. 
  • My marriage 
Educational: perhaps you have academic degrees or training certificates, or perhaps you are pursuing ongoing development in areas of special interest. 
  • Bachelor's degree in Radio/TV/Digital Media Production
Spiritual: you may hav e a history of success in sharing your faith or leading Christians to deeper insight about their own faith. Or perhaps your own acceptance of Christ and spiritual growth give you a sense of having attained something beyond measure. 
  • "Bob from Genesis" (There is huge meaning to this but I'm not comfortable letting my story go viral...yet! 
  • Accepting Christ around age 5 and recommitting around age 12

My Painful Portraits 

Personal points of pain: 
  • getting pregnant at 19 and unmarried
  • received mic a few weeks after moving away to college.  The story behind that is basically I was lonely. 

Vocational points of pain
  • Jamba Juice - I was let go on my way back from vacation.  I was a single mom at that point so I was pretty pissed about the whole thing.  I called my boss and left him a nice voicemail about how wrong it was.  
Relational points of pain
  • Step-parenting - I deal with a variety of emotions about this on a daily basis 
  • My dad - We have had the same fights for years with the same results 
  • Friends whom I am no longer friends with due to a huge falling out that only God can fix 
Educational points of pain
  • Grades in high school weren't great
  • unmotivated in college until I had Evan
  • Even after having Evan, I had no passion for what I was doing
Spiritual points of pain
  • getting pregnant at 19 and unmarried
  • losing my virginity at 16 years old (maybe this is personal too?) 


Apparently God uses these experiences to shape and mold us.  

"To melt down the old and recast it as new is a disrupting process. [But] with time, a change occurs: What was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable.

Then the blacksmith ceases his pounding and sets down his hammer.  In the still silence, he examines the smoking tool.  The incandescent implement is rotated and examined for any mars or cracks.

There are none.

THe pliable, soft mineral becomes an unbending, useful tool."

Jingle Bells, Santa Smells, Robin Laid an Egg!

I love Christmas songs!  Jingle Bells, Here Comes Santa Clause, Silent Night, Little Town of Bethlehem, Who Kissed Santa (is that actually a title??) should I go on or are you ready to barf??

Jon was ready to barf when I started singing Christmas carols as we were getting ready for bed. It was one of those wtf? looks.  I of course found this to be hilarious and sung a little louder until he interrupted me. 

I found out he REALLY DOESN'T LIKE these songs ESPECIALLY when they are sung out of season.  Shame on me.  

I think I like those songs for two three reasons: 

1.  We only hear them once a year!  And only for about two months, tops. 

2.  I know all the words!  (Which is why it's so great they play over and over and over and over again)

3.  Most Christmas carols/songs are in what I call the normal vocal range a.k.a. MY vocal range

(Did you know I could have been a famous singer like Brittany Spears?)

So what that it's June?  I'm going to singe Silent Night while I make dinner tonight!  The big question is...what's for dinner since I forgot to start the crockpot this morning??? 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ch. 5: Personality (S.H.A.P.E.)

It's funny how I brain-know so many things but I heart-know not so many things.  Or maybe it's that  I'm constantly re-heart-knowing things.

Today I am re-heart-knowing that I don't "have to conform to the expectations of others in order to feel [I] have accomplished something worthwhile in life."  Wow, that kind of sums up my life and all the expectations I have wrapped up for myself and others.  Jon talks to me constantly about my expectations I have for people and the high standards I have for myself.

A few days ago I couldn't even finish eating dinner with my family because I had failed miserably according to the standard of thinking I should have had towards Ciena.  I became trapped in jealousy, followed by guilt, then hatred, then shame.  The only way out was to realize that I am human incapable of perfection.  It's okay for me to have my emotions, but it's not okay to be controlled with them like I have allowed to happen for most of my life.  My standards should be set according to God's standards.  Description of a Worthy Woman

Okay so, let's see where I fall when it comes to my personality,  I'm going to discuss:

  • How I relate to others
  • My response to opportunities   

How do I relate to others?

 Am I outgoing or reserved?  Off the top of my head I am definitely outgoing.  I definitely enjoy starting conversations with new people.  This is actually how I met my newest friend (you know who you are Costco Buddy).  I love being part of the hubbub of activity and very often I find myself right in the middle of it.  One would think that someone like that would have many friends.  I can't decide if I'm one who has many relationships with many friends or deep relationships with few friends. While I do have a lot of friends particularly through my church community, there are very few I would call my go-to friends.  The go-to friends are the ones I can call and vent about that day's frustrations or invite out to the beach at a moment's notice and who do the same with me.  Over the past year that circle of go-to friends has dwindled.

Am I self-expressive or self-controlled? I tend to be  very open with my feelings and about what is happening in my life even with people I barely know.  I believe that God puts people in our paths in order for us to share with each other, encourage each other, motivate each other, even if its for a few fleeting moments while in line at the grocery store.  On the other hand, I will not share my deepest hurts and struggles if I am uncomfortable or sense uneasiness from the other person.  I believe this would be called: discernment. Generally speaking, though, I seek others out in an effort to connect and share my life.  I think I am a pretty easy person to get to know.  But I could be wrong...thoughts???

Am I cooperative or competitive? This is an easy one.  Well, wait a minute.  Now that I am thinking this through for the second time I am seeing it a little differently.  People are my focus.  Unless I'm having one of my self-involved days I generally see people and desire to connect with them.  When I see someone who appears to be hurting I want to help them.  If I am having a bad day, or a good day for that matter, and I have a random conversation with the woman standing in line behind me, then that was a good day.  That was a good grocery shopping experience.  I love those days.

 On the flip side, some might say I enjoy conflict and have a huge desire to WIN WIN WIN.  In a game, sure.  In an argument where I know I am right, most definitely.

I am reminded of the long late night conversations I had with my best friend in high school revolving around  Bible versus science.  I so badly wanted her to see Truth but I couldn't argue my point well enough for her.  Those conversations were never satisfying and I remember feeling like I failed.  Then one day after youth group she whispered in my ear, "I did it."  She became a Christian.   Our friendship continued to have conversations with arguable points.  I didn't care for those conversations as much.  I much prefer to be on the  same page with my best friends and not argue but instead think about and discuss what God is doing in their lives.

 Hmmm I am thinking I am Cooperative, not Competitive.  Could it be?!

Recap:  I am thinking I am: 

  • Outgoing (with a few reserved tendencies)
  • Self-expressive (with discernment)
  • Cooperative (surprising)

My Response to Others

An ideal situation for me to make the greatest impact for God would be something along the lines of the secret dream I have for my ministry discussed in a previous blog.  Another ideal ministry avenue would be writing a book of memoirs or essays and having  them turned into a movie.  I think this past year alone is grounds for a very good movie.  Don't laugh at me!  I know  these are big, silly dreams.  Whether or not they actually come true, God gave me these desires for a reason.

Am I High Risk or Low Risk?  Hmmm This is a hard one.  On one hand I welcome change, on the other  I try to sidestep it.  I think that adapting to change is an important part of growth.  A lot has been changing since getting married.  But let's face it, I don't like many of the changes that have happened.

 This is Ciena's last week of school and I am going to have to adapt my day to the changes that will come with her being with me all day.  I have a good schedule going with Evan's pick up every week but that will probably be pushed back farther in the day because that is what his dad wants and I have no real argument except I like the routine we have.

I think my low self esteem and "I can't" attitude hurts what should be my natural ability to thrive in a chaotic environment.  A simple example is my recent trip to Silverwood with Evan and some of our friends.  It was just us two moms and 4 little kids, 5 and under, who wanted to do everything at once.  Total chaos and total fun!  Then we slowed down on the train ride around the park and I became tired - even ready to go home.  But not the kids!  Go go go!

I enjoy seeing obstacles, overcoming them and throwing back a beer to celebrate my success.  For my church my husband and I are in charge of getting the sermon videos online.  I enjoy this a lot.  I am always looking for ways to improve the quality of my work and make it enjoyable to watch/listen to.  However when I am editing it does not feel like a high pressure commitment.  I do it in my own time, with no one watching me make mistakes and attempt to learn ways of doing things.  Whereas if the video feed goes live to other churches on Sunday morning everyone will see my shaky camera movements and when I mess up everyone knows.  There is no time to fix it in post when it's real life happening NOW.

I'm thinking that God designed me to be high risk because that's when my heart gets pumping in excitement.  But I often settle for low-risk because low-risk equals low chance of failure.  That's how I see it at least.

Do I prefer people or projects? Easy peasy.  I love people opportunities.

 This past weekend my family went to Bear Paw Camp for a work day.  I was not excited about getting up with the sun and wearing a bright yellow suit for two hours while I power washed an endless line of picnic tables.  I was excited for the people I might get to talk to and the for the men my husband would be able to connect with even if all they did was grunt to each other while mixing cement.  The project?  Who cares!  I got a chance to get to know my pastor's wife a little better AND I got to hang out with two cute kids (three if you include Ciena lol) one of which was a baby!  Wooo!  That day was a total success.

Am I a follow or a lead?  In the context of dancing I am supposed to follow but instead I often try to lead (much to the annoyance and frustration of my husband).  If you were to ask me: follow or lead? a year ago I would have said "lead" without batting an eyelash.  But is that really part of my personality?

I can easily find myself in leadership.  It's been that way for a very long time.  This year I was asked to be Prayer Leader of my small group in women's bible study.  I saw this as an accomplishment, a gift, a privilege and as a stepping stone into leading small discussion which would lead me to leadership in WBS overall.  Well, I ultimately stepped down as prayer leader due to personal issues.  I was confused and didn't know where I was supposed to be.  In retrospect I should have spent more time praying about the issue and  talking to my leaders before making my decision to give up and thus, in my mind, failing.

This year has been hard and I have enjoyed being a follow - yet with an itch for something more.  Could it be.... leadership???  But where?  No idea.  I have a strong desire to impact people around me whether it's during a play date, coffee, a blog or maybe a funny status update.  I do receive fulfillment in helping others....but helping them find success?  Being behind the scenes?  Working behind a camera instead of in front of it?  There is enjoyment and fulfillment there, but I struggle with which I prefer in accordance to my personality.

I'm in the middle of the road with this one folks.  Thoughts???

Am I a Team Player or Solo?  I am definitely a fan of team work.  Women's Bible study wouldn't work if it was just one person.  In reality it's many women working together as a team to make a difference in our community.  Sometimes I like being solo - such as when I am editing.  But even then I like to have others critique my work so I can be better.   People do energize me.  On days when the sun is shining but I'm home all alone I will be singing and dancing and talking to myself by the afternoon.

All smiley face,
My definition of
good morning. 
Do I prefer Routine or Variety?  This is another big question mark for me.  I tend to get overwhelmed with multiple projects on my plate and not having one to focus on.  Months ago when I had a huge such list Jon made me write them down in importance.  It was my job to focus only on the first one - then after it's checked off I could move to the second one.  I enjoyed the check list.  I enjoy check lists so much I have made check lists for my kids to help them get ready for their day and get ready for bed.  I love it!  Nothing gets forgotten EVER!

I used to be huge into variety for sure.  Every day was new and different.  I had no idea what would be coming at me.  But maybe that was just a small time in my life.  Now that I'm a wife and mother of two - one who has special needs, I need routine to hang on in the midst of all the chaos.

Recap: I am: 

  • Low-risk (with the desire to attain high-risk)
  • People (duh)
  • Follow? Lead? (I'm undecided here folks)
  • Teamwork 
  • Routine (it brings clarity to the variety in my life I describe as chaos)

Now it's time to take what I have learned and perfect it.  It's time to find the answers to my questions.  Knowing if I'm a Leader or Follower will be an important aspect in my ministry.  I don't want to be the right person doing the wrong thing.  

One huge lesson I have picked up from this chapter is this: "... God always wants to do something 'in us' before he wants to do something 'through us.'  So he may want you to stay until you learn to accept with humility his plans and purposes for you."  I am becoming fairly certain that Jon is correct when he says I have not accepted Ciena as she is, down syndrome and all.  I constantly fight the disability and what it means for her life and mine.  I am often boxed in out of my own doing.  Getting naked and running around isn't the answer.  Letting the flimsy siding fall down and opening myself to the unknown is what will propel me forward.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ch. 4: Abilities (S.H.A.P.E.)

This was a pretty easy chapter for me to get through this week.  I realized that I am already quite aware of my abilities and I use many of them almost daily.  From the list provided, here are the highlights: communicating, counseling, editing, improving, influencing, mentoring, motivating, planning, welcoming, writing.  Some of these, however, I wish to use more regularly.  Maybe this is how being available and aware to where God wants to take me will be useful. Top 5

  • Communicating: Te ability to share, convey, impart. 
  • Connecting: The ability to link together, involve and relate. 
  • Counseling: The ability to guide, advise, support, listen, care for. 
  • Editing: The ability to correct, amend, alter, improve. 
  • Improving: The ability to better, enhance, further, enrich. 
  • Influencing: The ability to affect, sway, shape, change. 
  • Mentoring: The ability to advise, guide, teach. 
  • Motivating: The ability to provoke, induce, prompt. 
  • Planning: The ability to arrange, map out, prepare. 
  • Welcoming: The ability to entertain, greet, embrace, make comfortable. 
  • Writing: The ability to compose, create, record.  
This chapter was pretty cut and dry and I don't have any heart changing lessons that I have learned.  But here is a list of some great quotes I pulled out: 

"All she needed was  to be available and aware.  It didn't matter whether what she did was noticed by others.  That is never the point of serving God.  Willing hearts are his delight." 

"Have you ever heard someone say to you 'Thank you so much' and your response was 'But I didn't do anything?'  People will be healed by God through you just being and doing what God meant you to be and do, not by all the things you think you should be and do to benefit the world."  

"God never finishes showing us his purpose - as long as we never stop seeking it." 

"Michelangelo said, 'The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.'"

"Significant achievements always involve a high degree of courage, focus, perseverance, and yes, high risk." 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ch. 3: Heart (S.H.A.P.E.)

This chapter has a lot to work through so bear with me here.

1.  What drives me? 

Jon asks me this question sometimes.  My answer has typically been something along the lines of "I don't know."  So he tells me to think about it.  When I am doing something, anything - cleaning the house, editing HPC videos, cooking etc. - what makes me want to do it well?  So far the only answer I can come up with is "I want to be the best I can be."  Lame!  It's a cop-out answer and I know it. 
           Now it's time to do some real deep thinking and  be open to "the whispers of secret prayers and desires, the deep yearnings in [my] life."  I know I hear these whispers, the longing desires of doing something passionate, but then I continue on with my plan for the day.  I tell myself I will plan to think that thought again because right now is blogging time, right now is cleaning time, right now is reading time, right now is God time... The irony is that I use God as an excuse to ignore the desires He instilled in my heart. 

Okay, here's one dream: Speaking at a Women of Faith convention or the teen one - Revolution?  I know how this may sound.  Self-righteous, selfish, pompous, prideful.... If I were you I would be thinking, Seriously?  Who does she think she is?  Self-righteous bimbo! And then "click," done reading.  But the reality is I have this hope, this dream to speak into the hearts of others on a large scale.  I didn't ask for this dream.  It just is.  

When I was little I wanted to be like Harriet the Spy.  I tried it for a while, watching people at the mall, the park, writing whatever came  to my head.  
          Then I thought it would be cool to have a story like Anne Frank.  Not the hiding in the attic part but the diary part where years later people are encouraged by her. 
           The childish dream that has stuck with me, though, is being like Jo from Little Women.  I was mesmerized by the scenes where she wrote her book about her life.  That is the dream that has stuck with me.  The difference, however, is that I want my story to be one that will help others.  I never knew what that would look like.  But now, having been a single mom living on welfare going to college then getting married and going through this process of becoming a mom to child with down syndrome I can begin to see where God may take my story.  And I'm only 24.  There is much life left to be lived!  

I am taking steps every day to see where God takes this dream of mine.  I actually have a cover and title in my mind for a book about my journey through motherhood with Ciena.  I wrote it down.  That was a step.  Another step I took was opening a new blog - one that very few people know about.  The subject matter is my journey through mommy-hood and I've kept it hidden due to it's very personal nature.  But I still think it's a step.  
          I'm motivated through fear, anger, excitement and joy.  Fear and anger because when I don't know what to do with all my emotions and frustrations I write.  I write until my hand hurts.  Within that process I might throw my pen across the room.  But then I pick it back up and write some more, thankful no one was around to see me act like a child.  
           I'm motivated through excitement and joy as well and that looks a little different.  When I have success in my parent I NEED to shout it out.  I NEED to laugh and do a little dance because we had SUCCESS!!  I NEED to be able to remember those times when frustration and anger start creeping up behind me.  

2.  Who do I care about?

I am reminded of a date night from a few weeks ago.  Jon took me to Big Al's, a country bar pretty close to state line of Idaho and Washington.  It was our first time and we spent a lot of time talking about the type of crowd the bar had in between a few dances and Morgan n 7s.  
          A few drinks into our night we were watching people try riding the bull when a platinum blonde stopped to compliment my tights I was wearing under my jean skirt.  These were no ordinary tights folks. They were black and netted in a flowery design.  Totally cool and worthy of such a complement.  
          Since that interaction, though, I couldn't stop thinking about her.  Her jeans were painted on, her white halter top showed off her flat stomach nicely which was also complimented by a shiny belly button ring.  Her makeup was dark, particularly around her eyes which offset her white/blonde hair.  She was a babe.  Total hottie.  Every guy in that bar was hoping to go home with her that night.  She was looking for someone to take her home too.  
          I had never seen anyone ride the bull much less done it myself but I had been told: ride it like you would be having sex.  Awkward!  Right??? After seeing it, I understand the connection.  It is hilarious to watch!  Then Platinum Blonde got up there.  She rode that bad boy!  Every movement was aimed to be as sexual as she could possibly make it.  
          I didn't ask for the connection I felt towards her; it was incredibly painful.  My heart ached for her lost soul.  She was getting more and more drunk, doing body shots, even the way she walked was saying, "Please take me home tonight."  Then the floodgates were opened and I saw the other young women around me who were using their sexuality as best they could to get attention.  Some of them weren't so good at it - like the trio of girls who danced in a circle although it looked more like head bobbing and whispering.  Others, like Platinum Blonde, had become masters.

Now my question is: How do I reach Platinum Blonde?  How do I reach the trio of head bobbers?  How can I get involved in their lives?

I don't know the answers.  I think the next step is to start praying for these girls wherever and whenever I find them.  This week we are going dancing again for date night.  I plan to have a blast - I totally want to ride that bull!  But I also plan to keep watch for who God puts in my heart-path so I can pray - and watch.

3.  What needs will I meet? 

Spiritual Needs seem to go hand in hand with what I discussed in the paragraphs directly above.  I'm not sure that I love this, but I have a deep desire to help women who only see themselves for what the world has told them.  Of course I do feel inadequate to meet these needs in the women around me.  But what I feel does not matter.  What does matter is what God is telling me through His Word and His Spirit.   

Relational Needs also goes hand in hand with the above story as well as follow up to spiritual needs.  I think I more have a desire to connect with other girls/women than connecting them to each other.  Maybe this is an area that should be explored.  I do believe that I am working with God when I am developing relationships and sharing Truth in those relationships versus randomly starting up a conversation in a park.  

This chapter says, "...start by focusing on the needs that God and others have met in your own life."  I have mixed thoughts about this.  On one hand, I feel like these two needs I listed have not been adequately met in my life which may then be the cause of my desire to fulfill them for others.  This will take time to think about.  

4.  What cause will I help conquer?

"But if you live your life with God long enough, he will stir your heart and direct you to the cause he has personally chosen you to take on."  

The issue of sexuality and how messed up it is in our world today makes my heart beat faster.  I become indignant, unable to keep still, possibly even a little self-righteous.  My palms get all sweaty and I feel the bottom of my heart heat up in anticipation.  

I'm not sure where I can make the greatest impact for God.  I don't know if it's through Women of Faith, writing a book or being involved in women's ministry at my local church.  There is so much I don't know.  I don't even know where to start.  The only thing I am completely sure of is that right now as I type, my heart is getting really warm, my palms are a little sweaty and have a weird feeling in my gut that is streaming up towards my throat in anticipation.  It sounds like I may be on the right track here.    

5.  What dream will I fulfill? 

I've already told you my big dream.  It is definitely a possibility.  So am I willing to "exchange a life of control born out of fear for a life of risk born out of faith?"  I like my control.  But in the spectrum of things it is stupid when God has something better.  

If time weren't an issue: 
  • I'd ..... I'd ....  have no idea.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Homosexuality: Natural or Unnatural

I absentmindedly began an interesting conversation this morning about homsexuality.  I am not usually one to bring up these hot button topics but it has been on my mind since last night.

I really really like the new show Smash on NBC.  The singing, dancing, drama, it has everything I like!  There is quite a bit of homosexuality displayed in the show, probably because of the subject matter, and it's just a little more than I'm used to.  Thus, the issue of homosexuality is on the brain!

My conversation this morning brought forth many thoughts and questions.  It also brought on a lot of comments and "Likes."  For the complete conversation click here.

In one sense, I suppose I called out homosexuals telling them they are "unnatural."  But what if I had used the word lying, or raping, or addictions, or smoking, or anger etc.  I imagine I would have received a few "Likes" and possibly one or two comments from the positive side.  However I didn't use any of these words.  I used the word: homosexuality.

Yes, it's a personal topic for most people.  I wonder why this is - considering that the majority of our population is actually heterosexual.  I think we care because God obviously cares.  He says so plainly in 1 Corinthians 6:9-18.  Scripture references: New Living Translation,  The Message.

And that's the Truth of the matter.  Ultimate Truth.  God's Truth.  The only Truth worth seeking.  If you choose to disregard this truth, then I'm sorry, you are not a Christian.  You may choose to call yourself a Christian, but there is more to it: a living, breathing, active relationship with God.

Being a Christian is simple: accept Jesus, follow what He says.  It is a process - one that lasts a lifetime and can't be tackled all at once.  I often find myself overwhelmed reading through the Bible and seeing all the areas that I need to fix.  I need to control my anger.  I need to be selfless.  I need to love others better.  I need to be kind.  I need  to be patient.  I need to give.  I need, I need, I need.  I, I, I.  Wait a minute.  It's not really about me is it?  It's about God.  It's about people.  So then my thinking can begin to change and my prayer life may improve.  God please help me, God please revel my true self, God please guide me to right decisions, God please show me how to love.  God, God, God.  It's not about me, it's about Him.

So, the topic of homosexuality is indeed a hot topic.  When I called out homosexuals on facebook there were negative reactions, some voiced some not.  We know from 1 Corinthians 6 that God hates homosexuality.  But if we look again at this scripture we will find that He also hates: sexual immorality, thieves, greed, drunks, slanderers, swindlers.  Shouldn't all of these be hot topics for our status updates?

Homosexuality is a sin.  Lying is a sin.  Sex before marriage is a sin.  Cursing is a sin.  Addiction is a sin.  Lust is a sin.  Acting out in anger is a sin.  Gossip is sin.  I have definitely, had sex before marriage so according to James 2:10, I might as well have done them all in God's eyes.  Sound harsh?  At first I thought it was.  However this verse shows us that to God sin is sin, it's all the same in His eyes and he cannot have any part in it because he is Holy.  I am thankful he sent Jesus to bridge this gap and take every sin upon himself after living a perfect life.

There is much to say about homosexuality.  We all have our opinions - which really don't matter at all.  What I think about homosexuality is irrelevant.  What you think about homosexuality is irrelevant.  What a homosexual thinks about homosexuality is irrelevant.  But what God thinks about homosexuality is very relevant.  We are very blessed because we get to read the Bible and know exactly what God's opinion is.  His opinion is the only one that matters.  If you don't agree, then please do not call yourself a Christian because on Judgement Day, He might ask for an explanation.

Ch. 2: Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual Gifts defined: "a God-given special ability, given to every believer at conversion by the Holy Spirit, to share his love and strengthen the body of Christ."

Hmmm So if I accepted Christ when I was 5, that means I have had this gift for almost 20 years now.  You would think I would have figured out how to use them!  Alas, that just isn't the case.  When it comes to knowing, understanding and using my spiritual gifts I don't even know where to start.  Going through this book has given me a lot of direction on how to figure out what my spiritual gifts are.

Here is a list of 20 basic spiritual gifts:

(1 Corinth. 12:8-10; 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:9-10)


Phew!  This is pretty overwhelming to look at and have to figure out which one God has blessed me with!  But I took a little quiz which had the definitions of each of these and I discovered I know of one spiritual gift for sure: hospitality.

I know this because hosting parties and events or just inviting friends over last minute is very natural for me and I love to do it. I have always viewed my home as God's place to use as He pleases.  It is my goal that friends feel comfortable, loved and welcomed when they visit.  However, there are still areas to work on.

For instance, I just had the thought, Wow, my home is a very sacred place to me.  This kind of thinking causes me to shut some out of my home.  There is a time and place to protect my family from intruders whether it's a burglar or an untrustworthy friend.  But I do run the risk of not seeing who God wants me to see.  This is especially true if I decide to behave like a recluse - which I have actually been struggling with this past year.  Only recently have I made efforts to opening my home up again for people and I have to say, I do enjoy it very much.

It's interesting that God is the one who divvies out these gifts and sometimes it's just not good enough!  Am I right or am I right?  I have grown up assuming I have the gift of leadership simply because it's natural but I am not sure I get much enjoyment from leadership.  I really enjoy the fact that God has designed me to enjoy the gifts he has given me.  But I think it's time to start thinking outside the box and trying new things.

My husband and I tried working in the children's ministry at our church.  It wasn't bad or good, it just was and we need to continue with that until we know one way or the other.  I was a prayer leader for my Bible study this session - that didn't exactly work out.  I had a falling out in my personal life which seems to have effected every area of my life.  Thus, I stepped out of leadership like a fly stuck in molasses, because he was stupid enough to land on it.  This is only part of the journey I have been these past few weeks.  There are many more areas yet to be explored.

One aspect of all this I often forget is "If I [share my home], but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1.  I have found myself in this spot many times.  A few years ago, when I was single, I hosted a girl's night meant for prayer and accountability.  It started out being better than what I had hoped to create.  But as time wore on the evening became something I would dread every single week.  I either lost sight of the purpose or God was telling me it was time to give up that event.  Maybe it was a combination of both.  But it really SUCKS to be doing something for the glory of God and to hate doing it.  RIGHT??  Am I the only one who has found myself here?

My biggest downfall is when it comes to the trap of projection.  I do this a lot.  For instance, it feels like I am always the one inviting my friends to go to parties or shopping or for a drink at a local restaurant.  Then I get annoyed when the favor isn't returned and I decide to be mad about it.  Jon laughs at me when I do this - so I punch him and he laughs even harder.  I do know the truth is that I naturally have a gift and desire to be intimately involved in other's lives but it's hard to remember when the enemy is on the prowl.  So instead of sitting back with a scowl, I need to just get over myself.

So, spiritual gifts.  They are handpicked for every individual by God and given during those precious moments of conversion.  We then have every tool we need to glorify our Creator by using our gifts to bless others.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How many foundations does one wall need?

I'm very visual and as I read through Revelations 21 this morning I wanted to get an idea in my head of what kind of place the city was.  This is what I came up with.

" The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates  and its walls.  The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide.  He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it was long."

12,000 stadia = ~1,400 miles = ~ one day's drive 

About 1,400 miles shown here. 

"He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass." 

144 cubits = 200 feet

The Healy Clocktower at Georgetown University is 200 feet tall.
200 foot walls surround the city
City of pure gold, pure as glass
As far as we know, as far as I've read, gold is not see through.  Do you think this might mean there are elements of gold we have not discovered yet?  What does the phrase, "purse as glass" look like?

I like to think it's shiny and smooth, maybe it will be like glass and we can see through it.  How weird would that be?!

"The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.  The first foundation was Jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst."
Jasper means "spotted or speckled stone"

Blue sapphire; may be blue, pink, grey or black 

Chalcedony; may be an color of the rainbow
Emerald, hues may range
from yellow-green to blue

Sardonyx; a variant of onyx where
 bands are shades of red instead of

Carnelian; color ranges from
from pale orange to almost black

Chrysoprase; ranges from apple
green to dark green
Topaz; colorless when pure,
impurities will tint
Beryl; three varieties, tinted colors
come from impurities  
Chrysolite; also called precious

I don't know anything about construction much less the "foundations of the city walls."  Is it normal to have multiple foundations for a city wall?  

Isn't the foundation of a wall or building usually not seen?  That makes me wonder why the foundation for the walls of this city to be so pretty.  

"The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl.  The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparant        glass." 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Discovering My S.H.A.P.E.

Chapter 1: Masterpiece

God had complete confidence in my ability when he created me and he has complete confidence in my ability today.  He speaks highly of me.  He designed me with passions, desires, thoughts, personalities and emotions which all work together to great one masterpiece - His words, not mine.

I know these verses well.  But do I really?  Maybe if I heart-understood instead of head-understood I wouldn't lack confidence in my own ability.  Whether it's my marriage, my kids, my athletic ability, my inner creativity, my relationships with friends and family, I lack confidence.  Reading words isn't enough anymore.  I'm a grown woman and still harboring insecurities dating back to the 90's. It's time to start believing the words in my heart by allowing the Holy Spirit to have the time to speak to my soul each day.  I will soak it in, meditate, learn to see myself as the person God designed me to be.

For a lot of my life I allowed stickers to be put all over me and decided that since it stuck, it must be so.  "Dumb blonde," "ditzy," "airhead," "sex object," "crazy," "wild," "stupid," "slut," "hyper," "social butterfly," "leader," "motivated," "stubborn," "weird," "lost cause," "pretty," I could probably go on like this for a long time.  What I didn't know for a long time is that I have power over what stickers I choose to  define myself by.  During the past 12 months I have been able to peel away some of those unwanted stickers.  But they had been there so long that they left a scar which God is graciously helping me heal.

I am an individual.  I am unique.  I love to break out in song and dance in the middle of making breakfast or throw a rock concert in the shower.  I think bodily functions are funny - until it smells.  I don't like bugs or snails or spiders and I run away from bees.  My favorite part of the day is when I find myself in a perfect moment.  I struggle to finish projects but I love getting them started.  I am a hot head and speak my mind at inappropriate times.  I hold my friends to high standards and my family and mentors to a higher standard.  I try to control my environment and strive for perfection.  I like shopping but I don't like giving to charity.  I want to adopt my step-daughter but I'm not sure that I even like her.  I like reading books about the Bible but get bored of the Bible itself more often then not.  I am told I have good skills with video editing, writing and planning activities.  Sometimes I see this, sometimes not.  All this to say, I am an individual.  I am unique.  What I do with all my gifts, skills, passions and desires is my gift to God.

Today I discovered that my masterpiece is "A Fragmented Kingdom Purpose" which reads:

"Based on your answers, your God-honoring purpose seems cluttered.  Your strengths are somewhat confused due to the fact that you are overextended in many areas of your life - something we can all relate to.  There are times when you feel you are using your gifts for God's glory, but there also are issues, emotions, and desires in your life that you still need to surrender to God in order to live the life he has in store for you.  Your accountability to others may not be as consistent as God - or you - would like.  You desire to invest in others, but have not committed the time.  You ave a few goals in place, but no master plan to ensure your purpose for God is completed.  The result is intermittent fulfillment.  You occasionally feel ou are living the life you were created for, but you long for greater clarity."

This pretty much is true on all counts.

A potter has the ability to squash the piece he is working on if it's not coming together how he wants.  In Jeremiah 18 God says he would like to do just that with the Israelites who were not conforming to God's will.  I am glad God doesn't treat me like a lump of clay which he can destroy when I become stiff-necked.  Instead, I am in His hand being molded into a masterpiece.