Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Letter A Day Project

I read a blog today (see the link below) where the writer suggested A Letter A Day Project.  You can read the details in her blog.  I thought of several people I could write to (some might not be nice letters) but have decided to try to tackle this project for my daughter.  It will be a good time as this time a year from now she will be three months into her first year of high school.  My mom kept prayer journals and I love going back and reading them now, some 10 years later and seeing how God answered her prayers.  I wish I could tell her today how some of these things turned out, but thankfully where she is today, she knows.  She probably knows better than I do.  So I ask you to consider this challenge, whether it be a child, a spouse, friend or parent.  Take a moment to let them know a year from now that they were on  your mind everyday.  Write on!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Are you talking about me?

This is generally the busiest time of the year for me. My home is filled with basketballers and they cram a lot of games into a week. The more games I watch the worse my bleacher butt hurts. I find that I don’t have much me time this time of year, so I find myself surprised to be blogging again today. People just keep inspiring me though to write. I hope they don’t take that as a compliment though, because it is certainly not meant as one.

Have you ever known someone who thinks every cryptic Facebook post is about them? Or how about a teacher, preacher or speakers comments or lessons must be directed at them? We all do. I don’t know whether it is insecurity or a self-centered nature that makes one think that everything people do or say is about them. I do know what I think it is though, a major case of paranoia. It’s like the quote by Stephen Wright; “ I got a new dog. He's a paranoid retriever. He brings back everything because he's not sure what I threw him.”

Not too long ago, I was sent a link and at the bottom of it someone had posted what seemed to be a harmless comment. Another person sharply replied in a hateful tone words that made them look like nothing less than a complete ass. I didn’t realize it at first until it was pointed out to me that the ass obviously thought I had made the original comment. I didn’t. But their victim mentality automatically made them lash out at an innocent person. Now, I won’t say I wasn’t a bit amused by this although, I am sure her comment was meant to upset me. Honestly, sometimes paranoid and obsessed people are just downright entertaining.

It’s the “I hate drama” people of the world. Those who talk incessantly about how they hate it yet look for it in every corner of the internet, in every spoken or unspoken word. The “are you mad at me” people… those who forget that sometimes people are too busy to call, too preoccupied with the gazillion things on their mind to notice you standing near and don’t speak, so they assume you don’t like them or are mad at them over something and pout about it for months or longer. Like I said, I don’t know if it is insecurity or self-centeredness but to those people I say, get over yourself. Stop whining and feeling sorry for yourself, or pointing your victim fingers at others trying to make others agree with you or join your they did me wrong crusade. It is truly a complete waste of time to tie yourself all up in knots worrying and searching out who could possibly do you wrong next or if everything you read or hear is about is about you. It may be, it may not be. If you have to wonder if it's about you some other person with your disorder is worrying the same thing.  Does it truly make a difference in your tomorrow?  Trust me tomorrow, someone else may post something that may or may not be about you.... 

Until then keep your paranoid wheels spinning or seek some much needed help.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Charitable Heart?

Back in the good old 80’s our youth Sunday school classes were allowed to paint and decorate our walls. I remember going through lyrics, scripture and quotes for what we wanted to paint on our walls. We came across a lyric in a song called “Pursuit of the Dream” by Michael W. Smith. I still have the quote written on heart stationary in my purple pen tucked away in my bible. It reads “It’s not just what you do; it’s what you do it for- and who.”

My parents have always had very giving spirits. I remember my dad giving his car to a homeless man once who had just found a job so that he would have a way to get there. I didn’t say he let him borrow it. He GAVE it to him! Title transferred and keys handed over. We thought he was crazy, but that is just who he is. He didn’t tell us, we just asked one day if he sold the caddie and mom said he gave it to one of the guys. He didn’t want a reward or kudos, he just did what he felt God leading him to do. That is what a giving heart does. It generally isn’t a well thought plan, it is a moment of seeing a need and responding, because that is who you are. It’s not a production, it’s a way you live your life. There are so many people who live their life in this manner, they just act in the most humble way possible because it is natural for them.

As with scripture, I think this lyric can take on a different meaning to different people. For me, I think it speaks of selflessness in our actions for those in need, but more importantly the small selfless acts we do for those closest to us. It’s those small decisions where we put others feelings first even though it may make things less comfortable for ourselves. They say charity begins at home. I don’t take this to mean giving up my lunch money for my son to buy gas to go to see his girlfriend. To me, it means going to a function knowing I will be surrounded by people who, as my son says “aren’t my people” because my husband or children want to go. It means biting my tongue, when I want to bite someone’s head off for hurting my child and letting them handle it. It means, eating chicken fingers in a Mexican restaurant because everyone else wanted to eat there but you. It means sacrificing the me, me, me wants and compromising for those you love.

How can you feel so good about your grand gestures of charity when you can’t summon up charity for those closest to you? How can you walk by family or life-long friends you are upset with and not acknowledge them on your way to pick up Christmas dinner for a needy family? How can you keep your child from a sport they love because you just don’t like the coach but yet put money in a love offering for another child to play? How can you reach out to anyone and that truly be your heart when we so selfishly hurt our own because of our own personal demons?

Christmas is considered the most wonderful time of the year because of the spirit of giving. What good is a material gift when holding the most selfless gifts hostage?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Begin With Me

Honestly, I love all genres of music. Hip-Hop, Pop, Country, Rock, Alternative, Gospel & Contemporary Christian all take up an abundance of space on my iPod. Of the Contemporary Christian genre, Point of Grace is one of my favorite groups. In May of 2001 they released a song that is still one of my favorites; "Begin with Me" is packed full of lyrics that are relevant to everyone, regardless of sex, age or social status.

As the song goes "got 20/20 vision when we're watching someone else, but it's a little blurry when we are looking at ourselves". How true is that statement? How clearly can we see the sins of others or what we perceive to be the sins of others but yet to look inside our own hearts we need bifocals. Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV) 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. And yet here so many of us sit picking apart others, digging at the speck in thier eye when where we should start is ourselves. We often act as if the Lord sent us an email and said "you are responsible for making sure so and so lives up to your standards". If so and so is not your child living in your house, who are you to go digging through their failings when you haven't even read your own report card yet?

Now before you remind me that christians are to hold each other accountable, let me take you back to where the song begins. "Lord I know sometimes you look down and shake your head, when we know what we should do and do the other thing instead." That is me... sometimes. But the fact remains he loves us beyond measure, every single one of us. He doesn't pick and choose who and what he forgives, yet many think it is their lot in life to do just that. What a huge job that must be, sifting through the lives of others with such a crazed obsession; watching and waiting for them to stumble. The only problem with that is if you are so intent on watching them, you can't keep an eye on your own path. Does that mean you are depending on someone else to watch out for you? It must be somewhat like walking or driving and texting. Your attention is diverted in some other business, eventually you are bound to trip and fall or crash, and that crash could be life changing for you and those closest to you... more so than that text.

I started writing this blog post yesterday, but duty called and I had to stop. Interestingly enough, during that time I came across something a pastor had as his Facebook status. He felt it worthy to copy and repaste, as do I... "I'm so glad God sees my heart and doesn't judge me based on mistakes I've made. David committed adultery and murder, Abraham went into Egypt lacking faith and told a lie out of fear, Moses had an anger issue. Sampson was a womanizer, The Samaritan Woman, well we know about her. Oh my and look at Paul, one of the greatest preachers and writers (led by the Spirit) ever known, was a murderer of Christians and when he became a Christian he still had a problem with sin! These people made mistakes (sin) in their lives but look how God used them. They had a heart for God and was willing to be used by Him. You don't know a persons heart and they don't know yours. I'm not perfect and will make mistakes. I ask that you just pray FOR me and pray for God's will in my life. Jesus Himself said He didn't come to condemn the world. He came to show the love of God and He did it all the way to the cross being beaten and spit on by people that hated Him. So all we need to do is let Him love through us and not worry about crucifying people He's already been crucified for all of us."

Begin with me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

After The Will is Read, Who Gets the Good Stuff?

We’ve all had days where we wake up thankful for another day and then something happens, and then another something happens and your day has gone from sunshine to shit without warning. Some people crumble beneath the load, others somehow let it just pile up and yet still manage to keep their head slightly above it.

I have felt up to my neck in bs for the past two days and in times like these I wonder where the strength and perseverance come from. I know from past experience that God has carried me through many a storm and I know that he will always do that for no other reason than he truly loves me. Yet, this month not only being Breast Cancer Awareness month, but the anniversary of my mom losing the battle against cancer, I find myself thinking about how my mom is still carrying me. My mom had many amazing qualities that I see so much more clearly since I cannot see her. I began to wonder if when the ones we love leave their earthly homes for their heavenly ones where they want and need for nothing, are we somehow gifted with those qualities they possessed to help us survive without them? After the will is read, who gets the really good stuff?

My dad who had a charitable heart to begin with seems to have received my mom’s charitable qualities, as that can help explain him marrying into the family he did after my mom’s death. My brother, always full of enthusiasm and ideas must have had those traits increased after my mom’s similar traits were no longer needed. And I, no doubt, was blessed with her strength and ability to steady the course no matter how many pothole filled roads I travel. Thank you God for giving me that part of her ; and thank you Mom for having such an abundance of it. My mother fine tuned her strength well in her 60 years on this earth. Losing people so vital in your life changes you. Anyone who has been there can tell you that and the one positive in living life without my mom beside me is the changes it made in me. Since losing her, I feel as though I see people and the world around me more clearly. I am more likely to stop and think of how to handle a situation than to just attack it. Seems like I still screw that one up a good bit, but the hindsight is 20/20 now, and I can see the whole picture and not just my side of it.

Truth is my mom was a great lady, but I am not her. In fact those closest to me would tell you I have more physical likenesses with her than common personality traits. I don’t want to be my mom I want to be me. Just me, thankful for the parts of my mom in me that I recognize as pieces of her regardless of what anyone else sees. Even though she’s not physically with me, she’s still taking care of me, nurturing the parts of me that need growth and wisdom. Guess it’s true, we’ll always need our mamas.

Monday, July 25, 2011

All By Myself

The ladies in my neighborhood have taken to a regular evening walk at 7 p.m. It isn't always the same people but there is usually 5 or so. Sometimes less, sometimes more. I am often not home when these walks begin or just getting home, but truthfully that is not why I haven't joined it. And believe it or not, laziness is not the reason either. One of my favorite neightbors and I just had the following text chat:

Favorite Neighbor: You need to start walking with us. :)
Me: Nah. :) haha! I am not that sociable.
Favorite Neighbor: Whatever.
Me: Lol! Seriously. That's just too big a crowd. I walked last night at the track {in town}.
Favorite Neighbor: I like it. It keeps me motivated.
Me: It's at the end of my day when I need to wind down. I just can't do that with all those people. You know I'm 40 now... getting old and set in my ways. I do love you & {other favorite neighbor} though for asking. I just don't want to go with the whole neighborhood.
Favorite Neighbor: :) I understand. Just as long as you know you are wanted.
Me: Trust me, i don't feel left out :)

Now, I often wait for the walkers to pass before I go out of the house, because I don't want them to think a) that my feelings or hurt or that I think I wasn't invited. Like the kid that sits on the porch waiting for someone to ask him to play. Or b) I don't want to have to make up a lie that is more polite than the truth that my favorite neighbors accept, but others might see as snobbish.

A teen recently posted on Facebook how she feels so sorry for people she sees eating in restaurants by themselves and feels like she should go sit with them. I am one of those people. I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I want them to leave me the hell alone with my food, my thoughts and if I am really lucky my book or magazine. Quite simply, I like me. I like my company. There are times when I want to be around others, but just as many when I don't. I treasure my time to myself. I work around people. I live with people. I usually have someone in the car with me, Heck, I even sleep with someone's heavy ass arm thrown over me. So if I get time to be with just me, I treasure it like gold!

Granted, I do need motivation to exercise and therefore, will walk with one or two people. Generally, close friends so we can have time to talk without the interruption of children or husbands. We can look like crap and talk crap without having to be "on" or polite to those who don't know us as well. I have often said, I don't want new friends. I have said it as a joke, but now that I am 40, I see truth in it. It's not that I want to be unfriendly but I want to be me. The energy to be anything else has passed. Some understand that, some don't. I've got about 40 good years left... not long enough to explain it to those who don't.

So maybe I am a bit of a snob. Maybe I am not as friendly these days, but so what.... "I'm still a Rock Star! I got my rock moves..." Sorry. I find myself bursting out with a good P!nk lyric more often these days. Which is much better than Celine Dion. "All by myself... don't wanna be all by myself". What's wrong with her? Nothing wrong with being all by yourself, if you like yourself. So go pile your booty up in a restaurant by yourself and enjoy yourself with yourself. Marilyn Monroe once said "I restore myself when I am alone." I believe that is what you have to do to be around others sometimes. Who knew a dumb blonde was so wise. But I leave you with words from the the wisest advice giver of all; "It is far better to be alone, than wish you were." -Ann Landers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Befriending Your Elders ; )

I cannot believe I have not blogged since November! Usually someone has to say something to me to inspire me to write. Things are always said to me that inspire me in one way or another; I just haven’t wanted to write a rant lately. Yesterday though, someone did say something that made my thoughts start rolling, so here goes.

A lady was talking to me about some mutual friends we have and she said she had asked someone how we were friends because there was quite a bit of an age difference. Actually the age difference is about 17 years. I was a less than surprised to realize that this is unusual for some people, but let me assure you, true friendship does not know age. As I have learned over the years, what is shared in that friendship bridges the gap.

Some of my closest and definitely my most trusted friends are at least 7 plus, years older than me. These are the ones that have never broken my trust, always been there for me anytime, day or night and never judged me. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these ladies love me. They have taught me how to survive motherhood, marriage, death and even the ballpark. They have physically removed me from situations that I found myself in and tried their best to keep me on the right path and never ceased to pick me up and dust me off when I took detours along that path. While I was a young married I looked at some of these women and thought they had the perfect life. But when we became friends they weren’t afraid to show me the reality of adult life. They never let me believe they were better than me or they had all the answers. They allowed me to know their struggles and because of that, I learned from their successes and their mistakes. I won’t say I didn’t make some of the same mistakes myself, but when I did they knew. Their consistency in our friendship never wavered.

One of the most important things I have learned through their friendship is how to be a friend as an adult. Some adults still revel in teen drama in their friendships. They get mad for crazy reasons, or get their feelings hurt at the drop of a hat. They either don’t know or forget what true friendship is; Knowing, trusting and believing in your friend enough to be able to not have to ask what is real. You just know! It can be forgiveness, but generally in real friendships, forgiveness is not often not necessary because you accept each other flaws and all. I have been blessed to have younger friends come into my life and desire to be the friend to them that mine have been to me. I want to always be real for them. I don’t want to present myself to them as perfect because that is false. No one is and it makes you inaccessible to some. As I have said a million times before, I believe God expects us to learn from our experiences and share them with those coming behind us.

My younger friends who have trusted in me and listened to my stories, especially my “gothic”, make that “exotic” dark haired friend are true gifts to me. What would I do with all my so called wisdom if they had not come into my lives? I don’t know that I deserve them, but I don’t think they are part of my world by accident. It’s my chance to give what was given to me and I am beyond thankful for it. Truthfully, I do think I am pretty dang wise sometimes, although I often push wisdom aside and go for fun. So thank you my wise older friends for sharing your wisdom with me. You know who you are. You know that I absolutely adore you. I cannot imagine the pile of crap my life would be without you showing me that we all trudge through crap sometimes and every now and then we might even come out with the lingering scent of it on us but there is always a friend to hold your hand, to laugh at and with you whose love is faithful.