8.12.2014



"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone."
--Robin Williams

3.23.2014

Countdown...

My first top ten of the year:

10. The...government... moves...slowly...We are in process of applying for emergency healthcare and unemployment, and other things to help during this season of unemployment, but this stuff takes SO LONG. If I were President, my first order of business would be to burn big dumpsters full of red tape.

9. Snow is relative. When you live in a mid-Atlantic state, you look forward to one or two sled-worthy snows. You bide your time for those very few snow days made for sipping hot cocoa by the fire and reading Little House on the Prairie books. But when you get snow after snow after snow, it gets old. Old and cold. That's where I am right now.

8. It's hard to spring-clean when they're calling for snow. My house is dirty. Enough said.

7. Having a dirty house is humbling. Today friends dropped off their son, and I was mortified that my house STUNK. Granted, we had a water leak that morphed into gunky, malodorous ceiling tiles. But still...stink stinks. 

6. Health insurance is a racket. We are insurance-less right now, since hubby was laid-off and nothing else has kicked in. To pay $1800/month for coverage would wipe out our savings (aka living money) in a snap, and the new Affordable Care Act is soooo un-affordable. I don't have a clue about subsidies and aid, and the government...is...slow...

5. My older two children went to their first dance last night. They dressed up, I took photos, and then I grilled them this morning. So FUN! I can't wait to see some shots from my friend who chaperoned.

4. I wanted a peanut butter shake, I got a nose ring. Well, technically, two of my friends got nose rings while I held their hands and coached breathing. Note to self: Next time you drop off your kids at a dance, mention peanut butter shakes before your friends start driving to the tattoo parlor.

3. My body likes to hoard tension. My neck and upper back are pockets full of rocks. But my very talented, very generous massage therapist friend worked magic, and now I can move my neck and breathe normally. Big thanks to her!

2. I want to find some new outlets--paying outlets--for writing. I am working for a local magazine, which I love. But it's only quarterly, and I want more regular gigs. Any ideas? 

1. Jesus is so GOOD. Today our pastor reminded us that He isn't on anyone's payroll, He doesn't operate according to political or philosophical fads, but He simply LOVES. That's it--that's His big plan to win the world: LOVE. Unconditional love.

3.03.2014

Whose Time is It Really?

I'm ashamed of my last post,
but I refuse to take it down in order to save face.
To preserve my own dignity in this case means covering up God's work in me.

My complaints bear testimony to my selfishness in the flesh,
and to erase their evidence takes away the opportunity to proclaim that
I serve a God who refused to leave me enslaved to my own flesh,
who would rather send His son to DIE than to see me in chains to selfishness and sin forever.

When I came to know Christ and take in personally the great work
He accomplished on the cross for the children He so loves (including me),
I was given the Holy Spirit as a seal to remind me I AM HIS.
The Spirit bears witness that my flesh has been annihilated.

The old ways of living and mustering up for myself a halfway decent existence are GONE.
I am a New Creation.
The old has passed away and the new has COME.
My flesh is no longer my master, and the
MASTER has overcome the trappings of my flesh.

No longer do I need to ferret out situations, try to find ways of looking at them anew,
because I AM NEW. I have new eyes and a new heart with which to see life.
Flesh, you cannot make me do what you will anymore--
It is His will that moves inside me.

So, flesh, to answer your question, "Whose Time is it Anyway?" 

It is God's time.

He can do with it whatever He wants. Period.
He doesn't need to explain anything to me, and
He doesn't need permission from you, because
My MASTER has no master.

It's Your Time, Lord. Do with it what You will...


2.25.2014

Whose Time is it Anyway?

Do you remember that old show, "Whose Line is it Anyway?" A moderator would throw out a funny situation, and actors would just jump in with improv.

"Kid in a candy store gets his hand stuck in a jar...GO!"
"Your mother in law shows up on your honeymoon...GO!"

Each actor was at the mercy of the inner dialogue of his fellow actors, which made for crazy impromptu interactions. It really was hilarious!

Today we could have named our day, "Whose Time is it Anyway?" Hubby came home from his last few hours at his job and decided he wanted to spend the day with us.

"Time to go to PT, and hubby wants to join us...GO!"
"Visit mom and pick up dinner...GO!"

We were all at the mercy of each other's inner dialogue and personal pace. Well, "the kids and I" were at the mercy of hubby's racing inner dialogue.

We average a steady 45 mph most days, a good clip to get all our studies done and a few fun things or errands in. Not too many speed spurts, a little time set aside for idling (rest).

Hubby is a speed-demon. The man has no "slow" setting. He must be moving, thinking, talking aloud, doing, producing. If he idles, he stalls out (snoring).

I remember a few years back when he was unemployed, going through this very adjustment. God was able to keep me from forming a root of bitterness. That is my prayer now: Let me appreciate my husband's qualities as complements to my own; let me harness them for good; let me love him well, even while he's speeding by me in the middle of our school room.

This might just be the time to put a few more miles on my stationary bike, or schedule some lunches out with friends...

2.24.2014

A New Chapter

As cliche as it is, I'm going to say it...
we are starting a new chapter in our family.

My husband has been laid off, which means our financial picture is changing.

I need not be frightened because God is our Provider.

He has provided for us over the decades, whether through employment, friends, public assistance, and odd jobs.

I admit it--
I prefer stability.
I prefer for my husband to have a stable, high income job. It brings me a sense of security.

But God knows when I need to dethrone idols,
and He lovingly provides opportunities.

I need Him to remind me:

HE IS MY STABILITY.

HE IS MY SECURITY.

HE IS MY SUSTENANCE.

Sure, cliche again. But true.

1.30.2014

The Calf on My Back

It's incredibly frustrating to hear the same person whine about the same thing over and over and over, right? Recently a friend confided how hard it is for her to hold her tongue when listening to others, particularly if they've been complaining about the same things for a long time. I get it. It is frustrating to hear the same old whining. I wanted to tell her right then that sometimes people struggle with the same issues for a lifetime. I knew that was true. But why?

Why do we spend countless hour over decades complaining about the exact same things? What is it for you? Do you eat too much or hate your fat? Is your house not big or pretty enough? Does your husband drive you absolutely batty? Are you waiting (and waiting and waiting) for God to do something spectacular in the mundane of your life?

A couple years back another woman asked about how an old mutual friend had been. "How's Hannah? She's probably struggling with the same old things, right?" Funny how for some of us the struggle is with others who struggle with the same old things. Some of us struggle with watching others who seem weak, stuck, and not being able to change them.

Mine is relationships. For several years now, friendships. I've been deeply disappointed with others and the level of relationship they're willing to extend me. I've felt sad, alienated, excluded, and deeply sad. So I've complained about how no one is willing to reach back or take the time to really get to know me. I've been whining that I don't have close friends I can call to go shopping, chat about the kids, or cry to about my bad day. It's made for a really intense whining season.

Here's something that recently came to me. The reason I complain about the same thing over and over again is that what I'm complaining about isn't really the problem!

Did you hear that?

It's not really other people who are my problem. It's me. Rather, it's my idol. I've strapped a golden calf to my back, and then refused to admit it's there, preferring to wallow in the aches and pains it causes me.I'm carrying around this heavy burden on my back, and I can't even name it correctly!

I've idolized human relationships, convincing myself that if I could just get them "right," I'd be secure, never alone, filled with friend-love, and that would be enough for me. I've made friends with a golden calf, hoisted him up for the ride, and then hidden him from my own eyes. It wasn't until God revealed this idolatry in my heart that I was able to pull away from the altar and see it needed demolished entirely.

Fear accompanies giving up my complaints: Fear I'm not pulling my weight...when it wasn't a weight for me to carry. Fear I'm not doing "my part," before I give it to God...when all God wants is for it to be destroyed as it is, not polished first. Fear of not having a calf to blame for my aches and pains. See, I will still want and need relationship even after I have cast it down as an idol. Yet friendship will be a gift given freely, lightly into my hands, by its Creator.

The truth is that once I cast off that golden calf, I will be free to stand up. I will cease to have complaints. I will be able to lift my eyes toward Heaven.

In his teaching series on the names of God, Dr. Tony Evans discusses God as our Shepherd. He reminds us God is the Source, all the rest are re-sources. For me, that means relationship with God is what fills me full to overflowing, my cup running over. And all the beautiful people He gives me for fellowship are above-and-beyond blessings. I no longer have to claw and scratch and demand to have my needs met. He created me with those needs and He fills them...first with Himself, then with His other resources.

So, yes, friends, there are burdens we can carry our whole lives, that bend us over in submission to pain and complaint. But if we see them for what they really are, idols we have exalted above the Lord, Himself, in our lives, we can cast them off and stand up straight, hands open to receive the blessings He so longs to give us.

: peace :

8.05.2013

Home Again

This week the weather dropped near to fall temps, and it's been hard not to long for walks in the fallen leaves and hot pumpkin spice tea.

But, it's still summer.

Let me rephrase that--YAY, it's still SUMMER!

I love summer. It's my favorite season. I love living in my bathing suit and reading novels on the patio. I love watching my children run from the river to the pool, the river to the pool. I love late nights on the deck, drinking sangria and playing gin rummy with my husband.

But this summer has
       kicked
                   my
                         rear.

This summer we've been to day camp, Cub Scout camp, overnight camp, youth retreat camp, arts camp. The boys joined the local football team. Two children are in physical therapy. And then there were the few weeks between camps when I tried to shove in time with all our friends, so I'll call that Crazy Playdate camp!

Wonderful things? You betcha!
 
Am I exhausted? You double betcha!!

What am I going to do about it? Stay in my jammies all day today. I might clean my house that's in a state of disrepair from all our busyness. But I might just load a new novel on my Kindle and go hide on the patio. Or chat with a friend on the archaic home phone. Home. That word sounds so nice...