One Direction Tickets and a Back to School Prayer for Girls

-There’s the cute boy with rolled up jean shorts and a mic. surrounded by four other smooth voices that know how to dance and how to make “Howdy Houston” sound way exciting. And the teenage girls with deafening screams holding up thick Marks-a lot lettered poster boards spelling out “Marry Me Niall” and “I love you Harry”. Guess where I was Friday night? Hallie and I lucked into One Direction tickets. I felt as if I’d been transported back to 1988 to The New Kids on the block concert.  (NKOTB  was the boy band of my days.)

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It wasn’t so long ago that I don’t remember. Those boy bands; a combination of perfect faces and lyrics that make you feel like you’re somebody special.

Yes.  New Kids on the block was the boy band of the late eighties and I had a favorite band member. “Mine” was Jordan Knight. He had perfect hair even while rocking it out on stage; hair more perfect than I and my spray bottle of Aussie ever dreamed of constructing with that permed mop of mine. My eighth grade year a friend of mine scored tickets to their concert in Dallas. And she invited me!

I remember seeing a black limousine with tinted windows as we arrived at the concert. I pressed my face close to the window just in case that was them, you know….THEM! I needed them, well Jordan, to be able to see me. If not in the parking lot or shuffling to our seats, I desperately wanted Jordan to see me standing in front of my seat, tiny speck that I’d be- three hundred yards away- amongst forty thousand other tiny specks, singing along to “The Right Stuff”.

Because even though he had better hair than I did, and a smooth voice and all the right lines, and millions of fans…..if he knew me…… No. If he’d just see me, he’d know that I was someone special. He’d want to get to know me. He’d think I had nice hair too. And even my shy awkward mumblings and my tendency to avoid eye contact wouldn’t keep him from seeing that I was beautiful. That I was special. I had that kind of hope that night.

That same kind of hope was palpable last night.

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I watched my daughter smile in a way that I seldom see. She was in the company of a multitude; bright smiles singing

You’re insecure,
Don’t know what for,
You’re turning heads when you walk through the door,
Don’t need make-up,
To cover up,
Being the way that you are is enough,………..
But when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell,
You don’t know,
Oh, oh,
You don’t know you’re beautiful,

 

There were so many voices. Deafening voices that drowned out the lyrics meant for them. Still, they listened hard; they listened beyond to the words they so longed to hear. They listened to the words meant for them.

But I tell you. I could have spent the entire night watching a ‘somewhere around seventeen-year-old girl’ two rows in front of me who graced her brown hot-rolled hair with a daisy crown of sorts. She danced. And she sang. And she danced and she sang some more like there was nobody else in that stadium but her, that rocking headband of hers, and the boy band. At one point, the lights flashed and then it went dark. The band vanished in smoke.  The screaming continued, but I do believe that her dear heart near stopped beating.

Minutes passed. Purposeless minutes. And then the boys were back. She melted. She covered her mouth with her hands and sobbed the happy kind of sob that comes when everything makes sense. She shook. She dissolved. She was once again in their presence.

THAT was enough.

In their presence, she was enough.

Silly as it may seem, this is most every young girl’s heart. It may have been winning the affections of  a boy’s band member (who turned forty years old in the blink of an eye), or wanting to earn the affections of “this or that boy” at school, or just wanting to be accepted and loved by those around you

when you sing every line right,

or when you sing a different tune,

even when you feel life hasn’t given you lines to sing.

School is here again. And I’m like “Daisy” (the headband girl) when the boys disappeared from the stage. I think something wonderful is over.

I’ve played with my girls. They’ve had a summer of protection where bad hair days are allowed. They’ve been loved and doted on by seldom seen family. They’ve watched age-old sitcoms on Netflix where every problem is solved in twenty-four minutes. I’m nervous for them. I know that’s unchristian of me being worried and downright afraid,……but I am.

School is nothing like a boy band concert.

I know a girl’s heart; the one that beats in this near four decade old heart and the one I believe beats in the heart of my eight year old, in the heart of my thirteen year old, and I believe beats in the heart of the girl you know too. We want to be loved. In the midst of the crowd, we want to feel both -not alone-, and like we’re the only one. We want to be sang to; words that echo who are.

My prayer is that it will be more revealed to my girls, and to “almost had a heart attack ‘Daisy” and to the other girls out there,  that they are loved and cherished.

I want them to know, not just in their head, but know in their heart, that they are wonderfully made.

I know there will be days when they dance and sing believing that.

But there will be other days.

Dark days when they feel abandoned. Days when it feels that even “The One Who Loves Them More Than Any Other” has disappeared; HE HAS NOT.  He is still there; not on some distant stage. I pray they will wait for and long for HIS company.  I pray that those days of sadness, their lonliness, their confusion about life and it’s struggles are temporary. I pray that it’s through these times that they will know him not from a distance. He is near.

I hope that they will really know, I hope YOU really know girls……

Boy bands, as awe inspiring as they are, come and go.

But

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

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Boy band lovers.

Girls across the globe.

These words are meant for you.

 

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Why I’m Going on a News Sit-Out

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

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 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. Psalm 1;1-2

I grew up hearing the word “blessed”. I grew up singing it, really, without much understanding as to what the word meant. I’ve blessed dozens of “sneezers” too. I just thought it was the right thing to do.

I learned somewhere along the way though, that the word “blessed” means “happy”, “encouraged”.

It’s made my reading of the psalms easier.

Blessed is the man-Happy/encouraged is the man.

Psalm 1 tells me-

Happy and encouraged is the man who DOES NOT
walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.

That’s great to know.

Even better, I love how verse one goes from being casually acquainted with sin (walking in step) to something more abiding (sitting in the company).

I can think of times I’ve spoken to someone in passing. I say “Hey, how have you been?”. They respond.  And I make a quick comment about my personal business, (“This summer has been crazy busy”).

Then I go.

Sometimes I’ll stop and (standing) have a quick conversation with somebody.

But if I intentionally sit down with someone, you can guarantee I’m getting comfy. I’m going to be there a while.

I have to tell you where I’ve been sitting.

Several months after we moved to Nederland, I bought an oversized comfy brown chair with a matching ottoman for Jason. It was a nice alternative to some of the more unbecoming recliners he’d expressed interest in.

Before I knew it, this chair was the one I’d catch myself sitting in first thing in the morning and last thing before I went upstairs to bed.  Occasionally I fold laundry while I’m sitting there.  Sometimes I settle down in its inviting cushion beside one of my guys, and we talk about our day.

But mostly, I get on my iphone and read.

I skim Facebook paying attention to posts of friends telling funny kid stories.  I stop for a picture of my nephew losing his first tooth. I watch videos of babies with contagious laughs and people who bring Simon Cowell to tears with their unimaginably, unexpected beautiful voices.  And I feel encouraged, happy…….blessed.

Sitting in “that”,  is just dandy.

What gets me into trouble are those sensational headlines put out by media outlets.

Allen West Declares Obama An Islamist

10 Celebrities Who Are Openly Bisexual

Comedy great Robin Williams hanged himself at home

Nigeria fears Ebola spread to east by infected nurse

Obama urges police to respect protestors in Ferguson, Missouri

If you’ve scrolled down the Yahoo News website today, you’ll see those articles.  With maddening certainty, I click on the articles and I read them.

News isn’t just information.  News has become a platform for political and moral/amoral agenda.  The news lies; maybe not always an outright lie but by omitting important parts of truth. That makes me angry.

Reading of terror and revolting realities wraps me in fear.

I’d say that’s wicked company to be sitting with. But daily I find myself walking in that way, reading the garbage.  For those of you who are able to read responsibly, I applaud you.  Really I do.

Psalm 1 goes on to say [Blessed is the one who doesn't] sit in the company of mockers.

For crying out loud, I read biased and scandalous accounts and then I think them over.  All. day. long…..

I get hyperfocused and then down right depressed.  Ask anybody who’s had the misfortune of being in my company after said reading.

The news is largely a joy killer and hope stealer.

And I wonder, Where’s my happy?

I’ve decided I’m going on a news fast.  I’m hoping writing my intentions will add some resolve.  I’m in agreement of the importance of being informed of necessary local and world matters; things on which I should pray.  I’m not quite sure how to go about being informed without having a soul sit-down with wicked.

Maybe with less news on my lips I’ll have more time to make that question a matter of prayer.

I want to become one whose delight (and focus) is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. (Psalm 1;2)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Say a prayer for me as I learn to better sit in the company of the great Almighty.

 

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Praying for Christians in Iraq

I was told Sunday on the way to church by one of the kids that I was a buzzkill.  I tried to protest and sought defenders, but the two other siblings were silent. Guilty I guess. I’m moody.

My record has been bad this week. I near ruined our annual school shopping trip yesterday. One of the girls complained of being hungry. The other wasn’t happy with the number of stores we had to go to. I lit into them about how good we have it. I explained how we don’t even know what hunger is and how we should be thankful that we’re able to get all of the “things” that we need for school.

I spilled my sorrow recounting what I’d read that morning about Christians in Iraq. I told them how families, the lucky ones, have found themselves homeless having been able to flee ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorists. The less fortunate ones’ lives have been snuffed out, as they were unable to escape. All this, simply for their belief in God. A quick guilt trip imparted, I’d straightened up their attitudes and done my holy emoting for the day.

We went back to our shopping.

We bought apple-scented detangler and pink mouthwash with cute “bubble” characters on the label. And after several attempts, we found jeans that don’t look painted on. We tried on sparkly shirts. We had strawberry lemonade and peach tea for lunch with free refills; accompanied with laughter.  I’d almost forgotten how devastated I’d been that morning reading about persecuted Christians in Iraq. 

 

 

Picture credit: nrb.org
Picture credit: nrb.org

Just Saturday I changed my profile picture to the symbol recognized for supporting these Christians.

The symbol is the Arabic letter “N” standing for “Christian” or “Nasrani (Nazarene)”. This symbol is being spray painted red on the doors of Christian homes and businesses in Iraq. The symbol grants militants permission to seize property inside. Thousands have fled, and thousands have been killed. Fathers have been hung, mothers raped before being killed and children have been beheaded. Children’s heads have been placed on sticks in a park in Mosul.

When I think about this I’m downright devastated; sick to my stomach. That gut-felt emotion is fickle though.   I quickly return to mind-numbed distraction. There are things to do.

Boxes of sharpened number two pencils and packs of matching socks have to be bought. Old and ill-fitting clothes have to be taken out of drawers to make room for new school outfits. Eye and dental appointments have to be made. The husband and I need to find time to work off calories by the thousands that were consumed with dips and brownies and too many soft drinks. Back to the gym. Back to school. Back to new Bible studies and a new year of children’s choir and twirling and youth activities.

The world is in peril. But we’re busy.

I changed my profile picture. And I told the kids of the horror in Iraq. I even made sure my sister who called this morning, who doesn’t watch TV knew how bad things are for our Christian brothers and sisters there. I’m even telling you.

I’m heartbroken, for a moment, like I was when I heard that Miriam Ibrahim,a young Sudanese woman, was being sentenced to death for her faith.

-Like I was for Saeed who is unfairly imprisoned in Iran. I still “get sad” when I read pleas from his wife for prayer.

It’s my duty to feel sorrow for such injustice and terror. So I fulfill my duty and then return to my life of prosperity blaming a full schedule for my lack of genuine Christian love. I’m troubled enough with the constant flurry of activity.

Still, I’m burdened with the truth. These Christians, in constant fear of death, don’t need our fleeting pity. They don’t need our likes on Facebook underneath a Christian Post article, updating us on the situation. They don’t need a moment’s sorrow or a heavy sigh when we stumble upon harrowing pictures of lifeless children. They need us to pray.

Pray hard.

Pray constantly.

The senseless and violent killing is hard to fathom because we are so far removed from such a life. That makes it hard to pray. Attempting to imagine what these people are going through is even harder. Thus we distract ourselves with the meaningless tasks of life, like serving the recommended daily allowance of fruit or making sure that our daughters get shoes that won’t earn them disapproving glances during PE.

We ought to live thankful lives for all that God has done for us; not forgetting the grace he has shed on us. We ought to be praying for our children; for endless matters such as the friendships they will make, for anxiety that they will likely endure, for good and understanding teachers.

But we ought to never be too busy to pray for those removed from these sorts of comforts.   Pray obediently. Praying sincerely. Love must be sincere -Romans 12:9

A sincere love surely prays.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Colossians 4:6

The mountains are shaking
Could this be a great awakening

Break our hearts
With the things that break Yours
Wake us up to see through Your eyes
Break our hearts
With the things that break Yours
And send us out to shine in the darkness

It’s time to move outside our comfort zone
To see beyond our churches and our homes
To change the way we think and how we spend
Until we look like Jesus again

 

-song lyrics for Break our Hearts by Vicky Beeching

 

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Dear Olan Mills,

I have admired your portraits for years; especially the grand family photos where every family member smiles vibrantly while wearing matching colors; carefully posed like a pyramid of bright-faced varsity cheerleaders. Professional. Picture perfect. unnamed (74) We’ve had a couple of family pictures taken by your company as you provide your service at churches making those awesome church directories. Those directories have come in handy when I need an address. Or when I forget what name goes with what face of someone in church.

Anyway, I sat in my formal dining room two nights ago facing our family photo you did back in 2003. You covered up our blemishes. Nobody is complaining about having to take the photo.  Nobody is whining in the photo. No bunny ears. With the aid of your flashing bulb and umbrella, our near perfect skin is practically glowing. I like the 2012 portrait in our entryway even better. I was in a better hair era for one thing. I think I’d better learned by that time about clothing coordination too. We all have smiles on our faces; the proverbial best foot forward.

No one would guess us hooligans.

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 Dressed to the nines, your pictures make it look very much like we have it all together. I thank you for that because honestly there are times I want us to appear as the All American family (like on our Christmas cards) and sometimes when I need reassurance that I’m not wrecking things, and….. well, on every Sunday morning.

You have dressed the walls in our home nicely.

 But I must admit. The more time that passes, I’m realizing that it’s our blemishes and unposed moments that have invaded the deepest part of my soul.

It’s the candid exposure of Hayden’s affectionate nature and the pictures of Rylie where even her eyebrows are creased in laughter that fill my heart.

unnamed (75) a3   I love honest illustrations of Hallie’s individuality.

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 I love how when facing the camera, Jason pats my lower back rhythmically, somehow pacing himself to correctly time when his eyes should be open. I roll in laughter when he mis-times four pictures in a row. Because these kinds of pictures aren’t so serious.

My favorite pictures are becoming the ones where hairs are out of place and kids are caught sharing a sweet moment together.  I like the ones where they’re being their mischievous selves too.  Pictures with Cherry Chill dotted noses and baby arms with chubby rolls are the ones I cherish. I love pictures, like the time Hallie got a special gift for her thirteenth birthday; times where we’re caught up in a special moment.

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Likely your portraits will always adorn my walls. They’re special. But it’s the snapshots of impish grins and sun-kissed babes in bathing suits that will decorate my heart.a9

 

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Counting Our Days*

Sunset, Teach us to number our days

Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years

-Fiddler on the Roof

 I’ve never seen Fiddler on the Roof. Maybe I should. But I remember my mom liking this song. I remember hearing it at weddings. And I remember thinking to myself how utterly depressing it is.

It’s reminds me of a host of other somber songs like “Don’t Blink” and “Remember When.”

My awesome in-laws have graciously rented a beach house this week so that we could spend time together. I’ve little more to do than soak in sun and breeze. I’m feasting on Frito scoops and pimiento cheese while laughing and exchanging stories.

The days seem longer. And I’m grateful.

Jason and Hayden are driving back and forth some to be able to work during the day. They leave the beach house before 5:30 in the morning.

Last night Hayden and I took a stroll on the beach. We saw the sun set. Neither a picture nor words can describe how pretty it was.

“I saw the sun rise and set today”, Hayden remarked.

He seemed to understand in depth the meaning of a day as he talked about things he wants to do with his life.

Kristi and Hayden painting

I understood the meaning of days too like those sad crooners in the Fiddler on the Roof, singing-

 Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he get to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?

 Thankfully I was quickly wrapped up in the sky’s warm pink hues and my heart was reminded of the Psalm.

 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

 Seeing a sunrise and sunset bookends a day. Countless sweet days pass. For less sweet days, there’s an end to our toil and trouble. And then there’s a fresh start.  Through the years we’re given one sunrise after another; new opportunity to bring glory to a good father.

I remember feeding the cows with my parents when I was growing up. I remember the sound of the shaking feed sacks and the cows’ insistent “moos”.   I remember the smell of the feed, and the grass being stirred beneath their feet.

And I remember counting the cows. Because each head was precious to the herd.

As I’ve taught little ones, I would ceaselessly count when we went on field trips. My mind’s eye bounced from head to head always sighing with relief knowing I had the number I’d been given.

Memories are precious, count them. Troubles like thunderclouds pass over or rain down, and then they’re gone. Count troubles passed too.

Swiftly fly the years and good is each day we’re given.

Count them.

* This post was affectionately edited, formatted, and published by Kristi's loving and handsome husband.
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For Parents who Over-practice Failure-Prevention; Another thing my Kid has Taught Me

Hayden has always been a dreamer and a builder. And I have always been a skeptic and a pessimist. That’s why I cringed when he brought home two large rusted lockers that had been discarded and a 2 by 7 piece of wood with the idea of building his own desk. If you think that made me shake my head no on the inside, you can imagine my internal reaction when he started buying parts (many, many parts) to build his own computer.

I didn’t score an “A” for encouragement in either of those plan announcements.

The best I did was keep my mouth shut. I refrained from saying things like

“That desk is going to take up your entire room”

And

“How much money have you spent on this so far?”

“Are you sure this is going to work?”

 

Ok.  Not really.

I said all of those things.  But I didn’t brow beat the boy this time.

Because in a few short months Hayden will be eighteen.

And because he was paying for it.

And maybe most important, why not?

Was it possible that the desk would become a gianormous fixture that would overwhelm his somewhat small room?
Absolutely.

Was it likely that he’d bust his computer budget and run out of money?
Sure.

Was it probable that he would find himself in a slightly tragic situation where he’d spent hour upon hour and dollars upon dollars to build his own computer and then it not work?
Mm hmm. (Does he even know how much those things cost?)

That’s why not.

I knew lots of good reasons why my soon-to-be eighteen year old shouldn’t be let loose to create catastrophe.

But a small voice inside urged me to throw caution to the wind.

It was the same voice I heard years ago as I stood in the checkout line at Walmart.  As the last few items ceased their ride on the counter conveyer belt, I noticed Hayden lifting up the thick black belt and peering underneath studying exactly how toothpaste and cereal boxes got from point A to point B (the cashier).

Never in all my years have I had the slightest bit of curiosity about such a thing. But he did. And in that moment I remember being struck at his intrigued nature. And I remember the notion being impressed upon me to let him be.  This was one of the many times I realized my problem of getting right smack in the middle of something God might be doing with him.

Too many times I’ve interfered. In my mind it’s my job to prevent failure, but so many times I sabotage his opportunity to grow and to learn.

Experience and growth are things we can count on happening when we as parents ever so often listen to the still small voice that tells us to let them be.

Their successfully doing what they set out to do isn’t always the true goal. The attempt to do things they have yet to do before will grow them.

Allowing them to do things that you never did, or your friends’ kids never did will give them unique experience.

And (I hate this one…..But) failure will
grow them and give them experience to guide them.

If his self-made computer ended up not working after taking up a couple of hard-earned paychecks, he’ll have learned.

And so it goes with a computer made with his own hands that works like a charm.

So as Paul says in Philippians 1,

 peace to you from God….

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. -Philippians 1:6

 

-Thankful we can be partners in the gospel of grace; showing that God continues to do a good work even in slow learners like myself.

I love this guy
I love this guy

P.S. Can’t close without telling you. After two days of putting together a hundred tiny pieces of “things” and consultations with two computer geeks, Hayden’s computer is up and running. I’ll take one hole punch on my mama brag card.

-Hayden approved this message.

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A Wedding Dress, My Daughters, My Hope

I found my wedding dress in the first Brides magazine I purchased; my fickle heart’s desire met. I remember tearing the page out for safe keeping. I shopped with my mom and (soon-to-be) mother in law and tried on a half a dozen dresses, but I knew the one I wanted. And luckily we got our hands on it quickly; the very same dress pictured in the black and white magazine photo tucked in my purse.

Finding my dream dress was easy.

The girls and I are having our summer visit at the house I grew up in.  Today I had the girls humor a romantic notion to model my dress. I had Rylie brave yellow jackets in the shed. Hallie participated without complaint as I captured shot after shot of a dress whose time has passed.

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I wanted somehow to preserve such a precious piece of the past. I think we succeeded.

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My real hope though is that my girls see past the silk and layers of petticoat. My dream wedding dress was easy to find. What I really want them to know is that

 

 It’s love beyond the frills that’s worth working for.

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Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.

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Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

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Love doesn’t strut,

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Doesn’t have a swelled head,

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Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”

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Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

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Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Hallie in my mom's dress with my dad
Hallie in my mom’s dress with my dad

Puts up with anything,

-When she noticed the yellowjackets
-When she noticed the yellowjackets

Trusts God always,

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Always looks for the best,

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Never looks back,

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But keeps going to the end.

1 Cor 13:4-7 (The Message)

r9I still love my dress.  But this LOVE stuff is worth working for.

 

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When your “Suck it Up” won’t Work

 

It hasn’t been the best morning. I’ll spare you the details.

Surprising, huh.

If you ask me later, I’ll probably tell you.

When your "Suck it Up" won't work
When your “Suck it Up” won’t work

 

It’s been one of those mornings where I wonder if I’ll ever be a good housekeeper. Or a mom who remembers to make eye, hair and dental appointments. Or a cook who hears the whole table say “Mmm!”, instead of sympathetic words like “That’s ok….I like my chicken dry”. (Unfortunately I’m not making this up.)

My morning, like so many mornings, and afternoons….and evenings..and midnights was pity-FULL.

I’m never a great housekeeper. Those responsibilities that other people seem to know to do, I’m not aware of. I find out about those things along the way; like the time a friend mentioned how long it had been since she cleaned the ceiling fan or the time my mother-in-law mentioned cleaning her baseboards.

People do that?

And that’s just the housecleaning stuff.  I’m quite inadequate seeming in other areas. I’ve considered asking my thirteen year old exactly how I’m supposed to apply eyeshadow.

Anyway. This morning I was vacuuming the stairs; a chore I most hate. It’s one of those hand held vacuum things that I carry that has an extending (always in the way) suction arm. Vacuuming the stairs hurts my back. And frankly, it boggles my mind. How do those tiny feathers of unknown origin and tufts of hair find their way to the staircase? And how long have they been there?

To make a despised chore worse, the vacuum has had poor suction. I find myself scattering the contents instead of sucking them up; having to be satisfied with merely rearranging the untidiness and making the carpet look at least look brushed.

 

My “suck it up” hasn’t been working lately.


This morning I had a brilliant idea though. I decided that like all other vacuums, this hand-held model must have a bag that needs to be replaced. It HAS felt heavier the last few go rounds. I boldly took the little machine apart and found a bag bursting at the seams.

Giving no heed to the sign on the bag that said “DO NOT REUSE BAG”, I  leaned over the garbage sack and began to empty the contents of the burdensome, soil-filled bag.

I’m still in shock at the amount it held.

Kind of like the amount of junk I hold.

I started out the morning thinking about how I just don’t get it done. In terms of “the things I need to do” as a mother, a wife, a growing Christian and even a friend, my list is a mile long.

And the end of that list is a moving target. Something is always being added. The things I want to do are unending. Who I want to be is always out of reach. That’s when the unending cloud of dust and hair balls I dumped out were like magic sands.

 

For a moment I rested in conquered dust bunnies.

The heavy stuff appeared weightless as I let it all fall.

I didn’t lament what’s yet to be done. And I looked in victory at what had already been accomplished.  And honestly, I felt ready to face what lies before me.

 I assume this peace came through the process of emptying; getting rid of all the junk I’d been carrying in my effort to “do these things”. When my dust-clouded vision cleared, I was reminded how very important it is that we empty ourselves. There is something more important than our busting at the seams list, more important than our seemingly lofty goals or our self-given report card.

I decided (AGAIN) that I want to be the woman who frees her toiling hands and empties her guilt-laden, overdriven heart…. to make room for weightless, beautiful grace.

I want to empty myself of all that I’ve done (good and bad). I want to let go of my ambitions “casting my burdens upon the Lord”. Psalm 55:22 reminds me, that in doing so, he will sustain me; not a clean house or a glowing resume’. My nature lends me to live by the “suck it up” motto. And undoubtedly, there are things I must endure. My unreasonable goal of “doing it all”, “BEING ALL” though, is one thing I can get rid of.

True story.

 


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Why I’ll Always Brush Your Hair

 

Dearest Daughter,

You reminded me again today how hair brushing is a dreaded daily activity. I know. You’ve got a mess of hair on that head of yours which means you’re going to have tangles. You squeal in pain almost every single time we have a brushing session. It hardly helps when I let you watch the Disney channel trying to distract you. The twenty different kinds of moisturizing shampoo, conditioners and detanglers that I’ve tried haven’t helped that much either.

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You accuse me of being the worst “hair brusher” lauding your uncle and dad as better than me.

Here’s the thing.

Mamas know that tangles can’t stay. Tangles left alone grow to be stubborn, massive knots. They have to be addressed. Though it causes you discomfort, we work through strands until each knot relents. It’s not easy.  And I may not show it, but hurting you, hurts me.

That’s something you won’t understand for a while.

You’re learning to brush your own hair. And I’m glad. It thrills me to see you grow.  Unfortunately, there are those other catches that you need help with. There will be confused messes in life that very much resemble those hair tangles you get.

There have already been some of those occasions. Remember those times that you brought home math papers with circled, missed problems? You couldn’t understand why I made you go back and correct them. Why couldn’t I just leave it alone? They were life tangles; a mess to address. We needed to work through them so that next time you approached those kinds of problems you’d master them with more ease.

I’ll continue to make you clean your room. And tell the truth when you’ve made a mistake. I’m here to help you with life’s disarranged parts.

Later there will be relationships that you’ll wish I’d stay out of.  Still, there will be times I’m going to be right there in that mess. I’ll keep teaching you to make right, the things you’ve done wrong. There will be apologies you are taught to make and apologies you are encouraged to accept. There will be times that I tell you to walk away from people who don’t treat you the way you should be treated. I will teach you that some relationships aren’t healthy.

Some of life’s snarls you won’t be able to see. They’ll be just like the knots in the back of your hair right in the underneath. You never knew they were there. But a mama knows.

Learn to trust me.

There will be other times when I brush and there’s ease. No tangles.

I’ll keep brushing anyway.

Please understand. This act will prevent tangles. I’ll do much the same as I stay in your business in the years to come. Just ask your older sister. I’ll be involved in what music you listen to and what you post on Instagram. I’ll help determine what you can wear and the places you’ll go.

I pray that as you grow older your mind will change about my constant care over your life. I hope that someday you won’t find it intrusive like you may for the next couple of years. This discipline of working together through the disarray of life will be one of the things that brings us closer together. And I hope that as you grow wiser you’ll come to trust my forever-desire to bring about good things in your life.

It’s my hope that someday you know that the tangles, life’s snarls and knots, they’ve never been important; YOU ARE.

And maybe there will come a time that you ask me to brush your hair.

I think your hair is beautiful.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

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The Epidemic of Poor Commenting

I blame my Granny for this; or at least tabloid-type magazines that could always be found in her bathroom. Globe. Star. The Enquirer. “Enquiring minds want to know.”  It’s true. They do.
It may have been those magazines that gave me my first real taste of wanting to be up-to-date on current events (even though the events were often untrue). My inquiring mind would usually have an opinion. Back in the day, having an opinion meant shaking my head at the fact that Dolly Parton had gotten another reconstructive surgery. Or Granny and I could discuss the events leading up to the night Princess Di lost her life.

It’s different now.

Social media (which I love for many reasons) has an unending menu of events to read about. Articles on moral and political issues and world events are at the tap of your finger. You don’t even have to go to the check-out aisle of your supermarket if you’re wanting to read biased or incomplete information regarding current events. After reading about such issues and events, one usually finds that they have a comment. Now days when I, or anyone else wants to discuss such events, we have a much bigger audience than Granny. Social media has become a playground for the bored and the bullyish.  It’s a place to inquire and then insult or threaten anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

Thankfully I’ve never I experienced any mean-spirited comments personally. It seems that most of the hateful things people say are to strangers. I guess it’s easier to be insulting to someone you never intend to face. It’s also a little safer to be courageous when commenting online. We teach our children (I think most of us do) not to bully. But there are so many who go online and lose their wits when it comes to giving their opinion. Online speech seems so often to be laced with anger and hate.

Then of course there are the spiteful commenters that care little about the issue. They care more about taunting. I think some of them might be the same people who pulled the legs off of Grand Daddy Long-Leg spiders just for the fun of it.

The following are comments I read in the comments thread regarding two recent events. The first event is the Hobby Lobby case that went to the Supreme Court. It was decided that Hobby Lobby would not have to provide employee coverage on four types of abortifacient birth control methods that violated their religious conscience.

The second event I read about yesterday. A Texas Tech cheerleader went on a hunt in South Africa. She legally killed several animals, giving some of the meat to local villagers. She took pictures of herself with the animals she killed. A rhino that she is pictured with was only tranquilized to receive medical attention for a leg injury. I am not a hunter. I don’t even fish. But I’m flabbergasted at the response this girl has received.

When deciding to use direct quotes for example, it didn’t take long to find a variety of unnecessary responses. Keep in mind that I didn’t post any of the many comments that included profanity or vulgarity.   

Common Poor Commenting Tactics (Suggesting some of us need a break from social media): 

 

1. Use of false analogies.

So, I’m curious.

If your boss is Muslim, and requires you to wear a burqa at work, because of his religious convictions, you’re all for it, right?

You know, because of his religious freedoms.


2. Use of one or more colorful words to call someone a loose woman though 1.They have given you no reason to believe such and 2.The fact of whether or not they are of loose morals has nothing to with the issue at hand.

3. Making uninformed comments.

-Usually uninformed because you have not read the article in its entirety.

Birth control pills are quite commonly used to help with health issues like PCOS or endometriosis.  Now we are denying medicine to treat a health condition because of its other use.

 

 

Sixteen types of birth control are covered by Hobby Lobby.  Whereas the sixteen approved are used to treat conditions such as the above mentioned, the “morning after pills” which Hobby Lobby is not covering, are not as far as I can tell.


4. Assuming that you know someone’s political leaning or their faith based on a single comment. And then attack that leaning, or that faith.

5  Responding to someone by talking about their lack of attractiveness.

6. Intentionally going to sites that you know are disagreeable to your beliefs.

7.  USING CAPS LOCK TO MAKE YOUR POINT!!

(or usage of multiple exclamation marks)

FOR THE VERY LAST TIME! DO NOT COMMENT IF YOU’RE GOING TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL NOT BEING COVERED!  IT IS STILL COVERED!

 

8. Insulting someone’s intelligence instead of calmly stating why you disagree or by stating facts.

I think there is an overpopulation of dumb bimbos in the world, should we put retards like you in a fenced area and hunt you down?  It will be for the common good of all people….We need to stop hereditary retardation from passing on to your offspring. we kill you, we kill the disease.

 

9. Making fun of their spelling or grammar.

10. Making wild generalizations.

Thanks for not giving me the choice to my own body. Can I get carrots banned because I want to?

 

killing just for fun is sick and horrible. every person who needs that kind of recognition has inferiority complexes. what surprise….she is from Texas

.

Because people from Texas like killing for fun,  They also all have inferiority complexes….

11. Wishing for or threatening harm

Because of hobby lobby’s war on women, it’s little consolation that as a Christian I’m 100% certain the owners will burn in Hell.

Can’t decide which one I want to burn down first, Hobby Lobby or SCOTUS.

I hope all five conservatives on the high court BURN IN HELL!

 

12. Wishing for their death

Hopefully an animal takes you down soon

Unnecessary comments come from all sides; Christian, left, right, meat eaters and public breast feeding fans. Snarkiness and impatience with people we disagree with is just plain old human nature. But why share a comment that holds no good purpose? There’s insinuation that in our passionate commenting, we all want to make the world a better place.  The fact is, the world would be a better place with a lot less poor commenting.

 

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