Friday, August 29, 2014
It took me many years to make the connection between what I had witnessed as a child and my fear of conflict in all areas of my life. As a grown woman who has successfully maneuvered over thirty plus years of marriage I can state that I still shy away from conflict, but I no longer feel that a marital spat will end my marriage.
Regretfully the scars of my experience have translated to a hesitation to enter into situations where I think there may be some conflict involved. My stomach begins to hurt and I have an automatic flight response. I want to avoid any forms of conflict.
The other truth in life is that there will always be some kind of conflict. That is just a hard and true fact of life.
Some conflict is easy to overcome, some conflict is is necessary and then some conflict is just silly and unnecessary.
I had to put on my big girl panties this morning and bite the bullet and deal with the silly and unnecessary.
I am an easy going kind of girl, I don’t go in for all the latest styles or fashion. I am in to comfort, into easy, I may run a brush through my hair and on occasion a flat iron. So the state of my hair has never been a major concern for me. However as I was gazing upon the result of this latest haircut I was NOT happy. Now this in itself is saying a lot, like I said I am very easy going. But I was looking at my hair wondering if the young woman with the hello kitty tattoo on her wrist was actually looking at my hair as she was hacking away at it. Was she using scissors or a chainsaw? Then I began to wonder about the wisdom of actually allowing someone with a hello kitty tattoo to cut ones hair!
What to do next I thought. I needed a bit of reinforcement. You see I had never had a situation like this before. How does one deal with a bad haircut? I sought comfort and a resolution from my facebook peep’s, they would know what to do!
Thank you facebook for bolstering my position. Yes, I did have a right to not to look like I had been hacked away at with a chainsaw by a blind woman with a hello kitty tattoo! But now what?
You see I know what to do! The grown up portion of my brain realizes that I will not crumble into a puddle if I ask for someone else to fix my hair. It’s my hair right!
I don’t want this person to loose their job, but this is just not work’n for me!
So I now enter the putting on of my grown up panties portion of the morning. I had to call the salon and ask who was working today. Alas the blind woman with the tattoo will be there as I have the manager fix my hair. This revelation is causing me a huge source of discomfort. But I am going to be re-reminding me that I did put on my big girl panties this morning and it is my hair and I paid good money to have it cut and….and…..and……
So in the grand scheme of things the state of my hair is non-existent when placed in it’s proper context of World Peace, Ebola and Beheadings.
But I am hoping for acceptable results this afternoon and that the blind woman with the hello kitty tattoo won’t come after me with her chainsaw!
Friday, August 15, 2014
Other days, if feels like my brain is stuffed with an enormous wad of hormonally soaked cotton. I teeter on bursting into tears over not being able to remember to remove the dryer lint from the lint trap or resisting the urge to break all my dinner plates by smashing them against the kitchen floor.
Toss into the mix a mouthy teenage daughter and by the end of the day the administration of a medicinal cocktail is a requirement not a luxury!
The other side effect of all of this is that my tolerance for complications is almost non existent. Case in point, now that the girlchild had gradated high school the next logical step is collage. However, almost everything about the process of getting her enrolled into college has been an exercise complications, errors and a big fat waste of time and energy. None of which we had anything to do with.
To start with the IRS lost our tax returns, this mean that all of the financial aid hoops we had to jump though are null and void. Secondly, given the fact that it was the IRS's fault that they lost our returns, it is completely up to us to solve the problem. I mean why would one expect the agency to actually fix a problem they caused and resolve it to our satisfaction. Funny, they had no problem cashing out check! Next in line to get derailed was the girl child's HOPE scholarship. She worked her tiny little behind off to make the honer role so she is totally eligible, but the high school made an error and she was listed as ineligible for the scholarship. This is HUGE! So now we have two strikes against the process and classes have not even started.
My divining rod for complications is nearly bent to the breaking point. We are working with the powers that be at both the collage, the IRS and her High School to try and get this all resolved to our satisfaction.
During all these complications I find that I cling to the very small things that I can control. I feel fairly certain that on most days I can successfully manage to get a few rows added to a prayer shawl project. I can successfully feed my family a tasty dinner, I can enjoy the hummingbirds that visit my garden.
I think the best example, all this CRAP, the moments of testing are moments where my life is like my cast iron skillet. Seasoning comes from daily use, from simmering and searing off and massaging more and more seasoning into the molecules of the cooking surface. After many years of being tested by fire the result is a beautiful shinny black cooking surface. That surface did not happen over night. It took years of use and years of testing by fire.
All of these trials have another byproduct, difficulties draw me closer to God and His word.
In this life I will have trouble, that's a reality as well as a biblical truth. How I maneuver through it is up to me!
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
It’s only August and it feels like about ten years has passed. Sometimes things pile up on ya, when life tosses a whole pile of stuff at your door and you sit back and wonder why does life have to be so hard at times.
The reality, my life is no more or less difficult than anyone else's.
My mom died in January. It was very unexpected and it was defiantly not the way we expected to begin the new year.
My daughter graduated from high school in May, again, I’m not the only mom dealing with shifting roles, growing pains and learning how to parent a child that wants to be a grown-up, but in reality is still a child in my mind.
Hormonally, I am on the downward spiral and find that the ebbing of my natural female function to be difficult. The emotional ups and downs are at times very difficult to maneuver through. Focusing on the reality that this too shall pass in no great comfort for me.
I know this all sound like a great whopping mess of debbie downer theology. But for now it’s my reality.
Being the mature woman I am, coming at this from the perspective Paul, I can’t truthfully say I am rejoicing in my suffering, but I can say that I am at least taking stock of certain aspects of my life. I know that life is full of mountain top experiences. I also know that the real fruit is grown in the valleys of life. I know this to be true in my own life. All the really true and valuable lessons I have learned have been hard won and awarded through great pain and suffering.
The other unchangeable fact, I know what to do when life turns ugly….God’s word is the beauty!
When grief comes, I know that Joy comes in the morning.
When children grow up I focus on the blessings of Ecclesiastes and know that for everything thing there is a time and a place. We want our children to grow up. That's our goal from the time they are born, however the reality of all that hard work seems cold comfort at the prospect of her one day leaving my home and going out on her own. I want her to stay safely under the protection of my wings.
So it’s a mixed bag of emotional bits and pieces. Some days they all fall into place, other days I am whacking away with a sledge hammer trying to get a round peg to fit in a square whole and find no logic or wisdom in the process.
My accountability sisters hold me together, my husband is a rock and God’s Word is the truth!
So we shall see if takes me another year to make an appearance on the blog-o-sphere.
I hope not!
Blessings to whom ever reads this!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
How to begin…
As a Christian, as a mom there are times when I feel overwhelmed.
Case in point, last night on the way to church the girlchild was behind the wheel. The customary mode of operation is that as soon as her butt hits the seat there is an automatic change in the radio station. The concept of driving without music is just not an option. So there I sit in the passenger seat and it begins to wash over me. I am listening to the words that are pouring forth from the radio and I am in shock.
I continue to listen, wondering when the pod person is going to bust forth from my child's chest, because surely my sweet precious child would never listen to such as this. I cast a glance over to the drives side and watch as we travel along.
Song number two comes on and again I am listing to the lyrics and becoming more and more alarmed. When my brain and my heart could take no more, fortunately we had come to a stop sigh. I had a moment to ask without distracting her, I asked “Do you ever listen to the words of your music?” as I reached up and enforced my parental authority and switched it over to my Christian radio station.
Her answer….it was a curt “NO!”
At this point I am contemplating the Lords wisdom, exactly what was He thinking when He knit this child together in my womb…cause I’m not getting it! Now this is not my first rodeo. My son is now 24, so I have been down this teenage road before. I have the scars to prove it.
Here is the thing, both my children have been reared with Christian values since the day they were born. It is talked about, discussed daily. It is lived everyday, practiced as best we can everyday. The plumb line of behavior that is expected is set according to the biblical standard laid out in God’s word.
So as a mom I expressed my distress as to the the inappropriate content I had just experienced.
“It’s just a song Mom!”
My eyes have now fallen out of my head and my brain is millimeters for exploding…..”Just a song” she says…
Y’all there are times when I just want to run and hide. The world expresses itself so very loudly. Our young people see nothing wrong with the dumbing down of morality. I begin to wonder, even in a home where Christian morals are discussed, certain behavior is set as an expectation, the worlds still inserts it’s low bar of expectations into our daily lives.
I take a deep breath, and begin “It may be just a song, but the lyrics are endorsing things that God finds objectionable. God does not want us listing to or participating in things that go against His Word.”
I get the look…..at this point y’all I was done. I just wanted to smack her “upsidethehead” and then reach in and retrieve her brain and give it a good firm shake.
Parenting is so hard y’all, being a Christina in an evil word is even more difficult. Daily I find areas of grey. Confession, as a mature Christian I struggle to weed through the crap the world places before me, what will I watch, what will I read, what will I participate in. I have to make choices, I may want to watch this or that, but I have to consider what God want first. I fail sometimes….I fail a lot actually. But I know where the lines are drawn. In my head and in my heart I know almost instantly when I cross it. Most of the time I listen, I delete a move from the DVR, or I switch the channel or delete a download from my Kindle. I am a work in progress like we all are. Our teenagers, even more so. They are so influenced and bendable by the things and people they come in contact with.
For our young people it is much more perilous. The have the disadvantage of walking around with the axis of the world shifting with their every step. With their limited world view, the emphasis placed on everything being acceptable it is a perilous thin line they walk every day. All they see is that all of us uninformed adults are trying to tell them what to do. We don’t know anything and they know everything. The axis of the earth really does shift with their every step because it is anchored firmly wherever they may be standing.
Rearing teenagers is not for sissies or cowards…
Did she here what I said, probably not. Her response to my comment about God not approving of the content of the song…..”Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion Mom!”
I’m thinking “upsidethehead” again but since we had just entered the family center at church I thought better of it.
Here’s a thought! Wouldn’t it be great if teenagers where like computers. When they get full of viruses and garbage you could just wipe the hard drive clean and replace all the junk with clean new programming…..THAT’S WHAT I WANT!
But we don’t live in a perfect world and I can’t wipe my child's brain clean.
I can continue to place the right ideas before her. I pray for both of my children every day. It truly is my best line of defense again the relentless and enticing evil that pervades the world today.
Against my better judgment I did a Google search for the two songs that were on the radio last night. If you want your brain to explode as well you can follow the links below.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
I was listening to the radio this morning.
I love listening to Victory 91.5. This is a station based here in the state where I live but you can also listen on the internet if you want to check it out. They are truly a radio ministry. They read scripture and pray on the air several times a day. If you haven’t tuned in you should!
In my prayer time this morning I was seeking some direction, some discernment in what I need to do. Do I need to seek some part time employment, no I need to commit to facilitate a bible study, do I need to sign up for a bible study, do I, do I, do I……I was asking for direction. A LOT of direction. The great thing about God is that no matter how much or what you place before him his well of attentiveness is bottomless. He never fails to draw near to listen.
As I was driving this morning I was listening to a small teaching moment in between songs and the subject matter was the Parable of the Talents.
The theme of the teaching moment was focusing on money management, however when they closed out the speaker said this:
“God expects you to use the gifts he has given you.”
It was one of those moments, very small, however it was like God was waving a red flag in front of me. I snatched a pad of paper from the floor board of the car and at the next red light I quickly scribble the sentence down.
In the parable (MT 25:14-30) the first servant took the resources that his master had given him and made a smart investment, so did the second. However the third servant was motivated by fear and took the money his master had given him and buried it in the ground. He allowed his fear to influence him and he missed the blessing that God as well as his earthly master had waiting for him.
I began to think about the questions I had been placing before God earlier in the day.
It was a flashing yellow road sign and it said.
“God expects you to use the gifts he has given you.”
I am not sure what will happen next, I am not sure where working with the clay will lead.
What I do know is that God has placed this opportunity before me and I need to be obedient and see where it will lead. I may still seek a small part time job, I may still do a bible study but I feel certain that working with the clay will be a big part of my life, at least for right now anyway.
Here is what I found on Biblegateway.com, love that site too….
Talents in the Bible: Matthew 25:14-30
In the "parable of the talents," we get an idea of what God expects us to do here on earth. We're all given talents, some great and some small--but whether your talent is epic or miniscule, we glorify God when we use it to further his kingdom. God isn't rating His followers based on the number of converts they win over or the number of church pews they fill; He's interested in the passion with which we use whatever gifts he has given us.
The Parable of the Bags of Gold
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Saturday, August 3, 2013
I would love to be able to share that I am out of my hormonal funk. Unfortunately this nasty cloud of toxic thinking still hovers. It feels as if it is stuck to me with super glue. On the upside I do recognize that being the mature grown woman I am I do not have to let it invade all areas of my life. I may feel crappy emotionally as well as physically, this does not give license to make the others with in my sphere of influence miserable.
I may want to inflict bodily harm and I am trying my best to keep it to myself.
But I digress.
I was looking for some relevant scripture to post over on the facebook page I set up for our pottery studio this morning. If you want to go over and take a look at our page here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/WildcatPottery. I try to keep it updated with all our current inventory.
But I digress again…
maintaining focus also seems to be influenced by hormonal deficiencies…
Anyhoooo, I found this piece of scripture from Jeremiah.
3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
What’s my take away fro,m this verse?
“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands”
I just had to laugh, it is so true. The woman who set up the studio commented to me the other day about this very thing. We were discussing how to properly price our items. She said “That’s why most pottery is so expensive!” There is a HUGE percentage of operator error involved. For every one successful piece there are probably several that failed. I can attest to that with 100% certainty. I am still shaking off the discontent at having pulled a piece from the kiln only to have the glaze be TOTALLY not want I wanted.
When I think of how God is my Heavenly Potter, I recognize how very true and relevant that is to me in my every day life.
If I will allow myself to be molded by His direction then things in my life will go as He plans.
However there are a lot of variables in getting a successful end result in pottery. Just like there are a lot of Heavenly variables to staying or trying to stay in right relationship with God.
There are a few hard and fast rules for clay and God.
Clay can not be rushed. There are some things you can do to speed the process along but the reality is that there is no way to start and finished a bowl or tea pot or whatever it is you are making in one sitting.
God can not be rushed. His timing and His time are His alone. When I seek instant results I am always looking to the world and not to Him.
Next, and this one is HUGE! I am an imperfect being. I will never be able to achieve perfection in anything I do. There will always be some element of design or form or whatever that will not turn out as I want it to be. I know there are lots of production potters out there that have been practicing their craft for decades, they may be able to toss a lump of clay on the wheel and produce vessel after vessel all to the same specifications. This takes decades of practice and since I am in the second half of my life I am still working with a HUGE learning curve.
Most days I am happy if I can actually get the clay to turn into what I have in my head. The other day I sat down to begin making another tea pot. I am slightly obsessed with them these days. Well the end result was not a tea pot.
God is perfect and I am not!
Lastly, what really spoke to me in the Jeremiah text was “But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands”. How many times have I been at the wheel and have something I was working on become marred in my hands. Too many times to count.
I will share with you one of our favorite saying over at the pottery studio: “It’s JUST clay!” It’s dirt and water and a few other thing tossed in the mix but the reality is that it's just clay. If is fails there is always more clay at hand. If it fails we just toss it in the recycled clay bucket and make it into new clay. If it fails we turn it not a water bowl for the dog or sponge bowl for the studio or another item for the $1 table at our next sale.
Nothing ever goes to waste. I like that!
Then there is Isaiah 64:8
8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
When I look deep into the comparison between the clay in my hands and the process of being molded and shaped by My Heavenly Father I am humbled by the obvious lesson there.
When I think of the lengthy process I go through to actually have an idea in my head and then bring it to completion. Well, let's just say that I am working on Tea Pot #4 now because models one through three all leak, dribble or wobble in some way shape or form.
Anybody want a Doorstopper Tea Pot or a Flower Pot Tea Pot or a….. just let me know!
Every time I sit at the wheel I am reminded of the process that God goes though with me on a daily basis.
Will I be obedient?
Will I be forgiving?
Will I be a bold witness?
Will I be compassionate?
Will I be whatever He wants to mold me into for today!
He really is The Potter and I am just a humble lump of clay!
Sunday, July 28, 2013
It started very early, before I even got out of bed.
My thought life was going places it just did not need to go. As it does from time to time I woke with thoughts of doom and gloom. Thoughts that no mother ever wants to ponder upon. I lay there for several minutes allowing the thoughts to weigh heavy upon me, then I recognized it for what it was.
Away from me Satan, it’s Sunday and I need to get ready for church.
The evil one is persistent.
It was a series of very small things, however it was just enough to shift my mood, my thoughts to a place where they should not have been.
I got myself ready for church, I was ready to go, purse on my shoulder and the Girlchild points to my chin and announces “You have a GIANT white hair right there!”
From the look on my face she then follows with “Well it’s better than waiting to point it out to you at church!”
I concede to her logic and redeposit my purse and other things to the counter and go on a hair plucking mission.
We managed to hit every red light on the way to church, now I am hating street lights and being law abiding.
It continued as we walked across the church parking lot. I notice that one of my friend looks very nice today. Do I complement her? That would be a big no. Internally I think how very coordinated she is today. Her Capri's and strappy sandals match and she even ties it all together with a coordination necklace. Very nice. I am now hating her for being so thoroughly put together and berating myself for my lack of the accessorizing gene.
We get on the elevator and hit the button for the third floor.
The door closed and begins to rise up, ding the door open and I realize that we are on the second floor. The children's floor. An older couple get on. I am guessing that they have dropped their grandchildren off. Now I am irritated that we had to actually stop at the second floor to allow these folks to get on. Now I am hating them and all children too boot!
Finally we get to the right floor.
We walk into the sanctuary and my normal spot on the front row is filled with strange people. Now I am hating all these strangers, and hating myself for being inflexible.
I ease down the isle to an available row about midway back. One of my fellow church members tries to make a joke about joining them in the back. Well I began to hate them for their comment.
I guess by this point my internal thoughts were now seeping out of me like a cloud of toxic waste.
One of me sweet church friends gently leans over and whispers in my ear “Are you alright?”
I guess my cranky was not so internal after all.
I take a deep breath and whisper back that yes, I am alight, I just have my cranky on.
Any woman in my age bracket seems to understand that sometime ya just aren't feeling it.
Well I sat there during worship trying to soak up some good. Trying to allow my surroundings seep into me and wash away all the ill humor.
One of the realities I am certain of is that one of the evil ones favorite places in church.
Oh and all those strangers in the front row….they were baptizing a baby. Double hating myself for hating them…
I would love to share that the light dawned, that the sermon spoke to me, that there was a miraculous internal shift.
The reality is that thankfully I was able to control my tongue and not verbally bite someone head off. I practice the tried and true Thumper philosophy. If you can’t say anything nice don't say anything at all.
Y’all want to know what the sermon was on?????
Y’all I certainly did not deserve to here a word of grace today. I had no love for just about anyone yet God’s Grace was the topic du jour.
So what is my take away?
Having just comprehended the previous sentence and acknowledging how completely accurate it really is.
I did not deserve to here a word of grace. I no not deserve GRACE in any form or fashion. I certainly did not deserve anything with my internal nasty going on.
Yet there it was….GRACE!
I DON’T DESERVE IT, YET I HAVE IT!
I am yelling at me not y’all!
Somebody need to be yelling at me!
Oh that’s right I was at CHURCH hearing a word on Grace.
God disciplines those He loves …or for today places a message of GRACE before the red light, coordinated Capri's and sandals, second floor getter on’ers and baby baptizer hating person like me….
I feel like I need to post an addendum to this post like they do in movie credits.
“No animals (or humans) were harmed in the writing of this post”
It’s been a few hours since I got home from church. I administered a BLT made with thick cut bacon and some good home grown tomatoes with a heaping side of Frito's.
For today I really am thankful for a word on Grace and BLT’s!
I will pray for more control over my internal dialog and I will continue to seek discernment for when the evil one tries to turn my small stumbling blocks into huge boulders.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.