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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just look at the ones that are lit!

One of the best inventions EVER is the pre-lit Christmas tree. Three poles inserted into each other, three plugs to put together and 'ta-da', you have instant, perfectly symmetrical white light Christmas glory! This is enough to make the angels sing... no more arranging lights and poofing branches to make it look even. (can you tell that this girl is a bit of a Christmas light perfectionist?)
Anyway, there we were, my two girls and I, the day after Thanksgiving, putting up the tree. Three poles inserted. Check. Three plugs put together. Check. Ta-Da? Nope. Not even close. More like, 'oh, no!'. There in the lower center of our white light perfection were four dark rebellious branches. We jiggled them. We tested bulbs. Nothing. I was bummed. I was frustrated. I just wanted a moment of Christmas perfection. My thirteen year old stood back from the tree and squinted, tilting her head. 'Hey, Mom', she said. 'I know...don't look at the dark branches, just look at the ones that are lit.' So I did. Wow. When I concentrated on the lights, I didn't even notice the area of darkness. Great Christmas tree advice- but even better advice for life. Look to the lights in your life instead of the things that are dark right now. We all have 'dark' stuff. Things that we just can't fix. But there are almost always more things that are bright and can be counted as blessings. My dark branches are widowhood, family health stuff and financial challenges. If I stare at them, it can be overwhelming. But shining bright are God's amazing faithfulness, the love of my family and great friends. Flavored coffee, fluffy pillows and chocolate chip cookies...and the list goes on and on...
Have you looked at your bright lights today?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Be Still ... and Know

My kids are back in school- 8th and 2nd grade. Most asked question: “Sooo… what are you doing now that the kids are in school (that question is usually right on the heels of ‘soooo, are you dating yet?) And the answer to #1 is I am in a holding pattern – kind of a seek and find wait and see mode. All of the possibilities – bible study, volunteering, subbing, a new freelance gig – have been shut down. And, apparently I am learning to sit and be quiet and wait. Not dive feverishly into a bible study, not gather with close friends to prayer over life’s concerns, Not to keep busy on ‘busyness’. Not even to pour out my own stuff at his feet. But to ‘be still and know’. Become a human ‘be-ing’ instead of a doer. Now, to hammer this point home, I received the same verse in an online bible study, from a good friend, from a relative and on a plaque as a gift. It would appear that this is a lesson that needs learning. BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
Be Still - stop working, stop striving, stop playing Wac-A-Mole with all of life's demands. This is VERY hard for my sanguine type A self.
I am also learning to curb my cell phone/internet dependency issues. Augghhh! It is so easy to pick up the phone while driving. To find someone to react with you over an injustice or a concern or a situation. I am learning to just be quiet, sometimes to even turn off good Christian radio to just be quiet in those times of driving. Being a huge visual and somewhat dramatic…I even added a new contact to my cell phone directory. There between Jenny and Julie I put in ‘Jesus’. Yep, right there in black and white, Jesus appears in my contacts. I have even held the phone up to my ear as I poured out my heart to him while driving, a tangible evidence of the fact that He is always available and hears me when I call. I love that about Him!
Faith-fully being still…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

F.O.D.Sweeps and the 'Ten Second Tidy'

We have a thing in our house called the 10 second tidy - apparently that phrase is from one of my daughter's old favorites 'The Big Comfy Couch', a kids show about clowns that is only slightly annoying to moms :) . The premise of the 10 second tidy is this: Mom was going crazy with the living room clutter from the day (it's called a living room for a reason!) , you know the stuff I mean; shoes and pony tail holders and drinking cups and markers and DS chargers and one sock? and a Barbie dress and a stack of books balanced precariously on the side table. All of which is a a pretty discouraging sight to greet you first thing in the AM. So in order to avoid one more Mommy morning meltdown, our pre-bedtime routine now includes the 10 Second tidy - close it, put it where it belongs, throw it away, and so on. While tidying last week, I was reminded of a thing called the FOD sweep that they used to do on my hubby's aircraft carrier. Since planes land and take off on the runway of the ship, it has to be spotless. So before flight operations, 50 sailors would stand shoulder to shoulder and walk the length of the deck, lookng down all the while. Anything on the deck and to be removed - paper clip, styrofoam cup, pen lid.
Even a tiny piece of paper could get sucked up into the jet engines and cause a problem. They call this a FOD sweep which stands to foreign object debris. So..back to the landing deck of my living room. Our 10 second tidy is basically a FOD sweep from the drama of the day. And allows us to start the morning fresh and uncluttered.
Last night, I had to do a FOD sweep and 10 Second tidy on my heart. Unkind words from a friend had cut me to the core- I had littered my heart with the debris of ugly thoughts and my personal pity party had left a lot of party trash lying around. I needed a specific time of walking around my heart and asking the Lord to forgive me and to help me pick up the ugly and replace it with His thoughts. Otherwise all that debris could definitely get sucked up into my tomorrow and cause unecessary of damage to those around me. Clean house, clean heart - two of my favorite things- woohoo!
Psalm 19:12, 14 'How can I know the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. My the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.'

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Flat tires and chocolate squares

So there we were, single mom and two girls, stranded after church with a big fat flat tire on the minivan, hungry, late for a birthday party and wondering what to do next. Along came Royce to the rescue (the man has a huge Cadillac with a trunk full of stuff to handle any crises from flat tire to removal of your appendix). He fired up his trusty plug in air compressor and filled us up right there in the church parking lot. Blowing kisses and waving thanks we raced to Wal-Mart, dumped the van at the Auto center and ran in to buy the birthday gift for above mentioned party. We were still late and definitely still hungry. Trying to stay ahead of the stress I suggested playing the thankful game as we headed to the checkout. OK girls, waht can we find to be thankful about in this situation. Kelsey (age 13) went first. 'Well, Mr. Royce was right there and at least our car wasn't stranded beside the road somewhere'. Audrey (6) - 'I found some crackers in the backseat to eat while we wait' (she is always hungry) . Me - well, we made it to Wal-mart and have the money to get the car fixed and buy this birthday gift. Thank you Lord for providing for us.' As we turned the corner by cosmetics, a sweet lady stopped us: 'Excuse me, would you girls like some chocolate?' I did a double take. Yep, it was true. She was wearing her Walmart blue smock, giving out sample squares of Ghiridelli chocolates right there in front of the pharmacy. (Did I mention we were hungry?) How cool is that! Felt like a tender kiss on the cheek from my sweet Jesus. The moral of the story? Stuff does happen - bad stuff, frustrating stuff, impossible to believe stuff. But if we can somehow choose to look to Him, the maker of all things, He is ready, willing and able to show himself right in the midst of the days drama..and to give you some chocolate right when you need it most!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brand New Blog

So...apparently the whole whole is doing this 'blogging' thing except me!
Thought I'd jump in and give it a try. Woohoo!
Deep things on my mind at this moment:
1.the grocery shopping is done for another week (hurray) and while doing the above, I discovered BRAND NEW cherry flavored M & M's. Loving them. I broke open the package at the check-out and shared with all of the cashiers and bagging help. It was a sweet moment. (hah!)
2. My six-year-old rode her bike without training wheels yesterday. Why does my mind automatically go into fast forward - in just ten years she'll be driving a car?!! She started off on the grass and with a few wobbily runs with her middle age momma holding on to the back of the seat, she was ready to go. 'Don't let go, mommy, don't let go', she squealed as I panted to keep up while running in a half/crouched position. So, I did what all good parents do at these life-changing moments. I let go and she rode off without me, sure that I was still holding on. 'Mommy, I'm doing it, I'm doing it !', she shrieked. Ride on, baby.
Cherry M&Ms and riding without training wheels. Life's simple pleasures.