Treasure hunt

I actually uttered these words this morning to Jaxon when it was time to get ready for school. “Hey buddy, you’ve got khakis on the ironing board, a shirt hanging up in the laundry room, socks in the laundry basket at the foot of my bed, your tennis shoes are by the kitchen sink, and your belt is in your pants from yesterday, wherever you left them.” Lynn looked up and said, “Wow, it’s a treasure hunt!”

I felt a split second flash of guilt before I caught myself and quickly redirected it toward my 9-year-old. Hey, it’s not my job to pick up every single thing that kid drops! Is it?? No seriously, I normally put away the laundry but I (in theory) make him pick up after himself. I must admit, sometimes it’s just easier to do it myself than fight the battle of constantly reminding him to pick up his stuff. He is a man anyway, I heard you have to tell men 10 times before they actually hear you.

But the child managed to accumulate all the components making up his school uniform, I managed to give him an apple for his snack, give him a kiss and send him out the door with his father, who mercifully drives him the 30 minutes every morning to school. And I sank back on the couch next to my (gassy) dog and dove into this blog. Aren’t you glad I shared all that with you?

I sincerely hope your morning went smoothly, your children found all their clothes, your dog behaved himself, and your coffee is hot and plentiful. And in the words of the late, great Paul Harvey, “Good Day!”

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Spaz

So Lynn and I got into a big discussion the other day about my blog, he is just full of ideas, you know. One thing he said that I really grabbed hold of was including pictures in my posts so people will know who I’m talking about. Most of you who are reading know me and Lynn and Jaxon, especially if you look at my Facebook, which of course you do because how else would you find my blog?

But I’m going to try to get in the habit of including a photo here and there for you visual thinkers out there. I am not a visual learner so it’s not something I often think of. Yesterday’s “Trudging through the sludge” post was my first attempt at that. This is my second.

This photo was taken on the first day at a convention, you can see I’m in a hotel room. Although in my perfect world, my bed at home would have a breakfast menu placed on it daily so I could have my coffee in bed. Back to my point! I had just arrived into the hotel after a long drive. And before that had been weeks of preparation for the convention. Suffice to say, I was beat. I was worn out. I was pooped. And I had gone into spaz mode. This happens to me AFTER I’ve gone through the overload mode, past the tears, and on to the “just being a spaz because I’m so tired and cranky.”

Yesterday was trudge mode, this photo shows spaz mode. I am a complex woman, I have many modes. I’m sure you do too. But it always helps me when I realize that I’m not alone. I usually take an afternoon during that conference week and have lunch with my dear friend Debbie who is a wife, mom, and busy ministry administrator and we trade stories and gripes and generally make ourselves feel better.

So if you’re in trudge mode or spaz mode, or any mode in between, keep your chin up today. You’re not alone. I for one, am trudging along right there with you and I know we are going to make it! Thanks for reading everyone, and have a great day, whatever your mode.

Trudging through sludge

Do you ever feel like this? I do. In fact, I feel that way today. Except that I’m a girl. But seriously I’ve got so many things running through my head, and so many things on my plate today, it’s hard to even know where to start. How can we lighten the load?

On my way to work I did the very best thing I know how to do when I’m having one of these mornings; I prayed in the Spirit. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is my helper, so I said, “Help!” And you know what? He did.

He reminded me of a couple of scriptures that I learned as songs years ago, but they are powerful truths. He reminded me to put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness according to Isaiah 61:3. And He reminded me to seek out the presence of the Lord for in it there is fullness of joy according to Psalm 16:11. I needed to thank God for His goodness, praise Him for all He’s done, seek out His presence, and get some joy. That’s what I needed. That and a double mocha latte. And maybe a brownie.

Sometimes it’s betta

So yesterday, we went to the pet store looking for a new set of dog bowls, and somehow we came home with a fish. How does this happen? My dog has outgrown his puppy bowls, which I must admit were good old Tupperware, and he needs those bowls that stand up taller so he doesn’t have to lower his head so much. This, by the way, is beyond me because I can eat standing up, sitting down, laying down, etc. and have never had a problem. And while I’m on the subject of mysteries, who is Tupper anyway? Is there a Mr.  Tupper? Did he trademark his “ware?” Hmmm. This is what Wikipedia is for.

Anyway, Jaxon had $7 which was burning a hole in his pocket and what do you know, the betta fish were $3. And they had a betta bowl set-up including food, rocks, plant, and chemicals for $15. So after begging for a loan from me, we got all the stuff for a betta fish. We have a new pet in the house, all for the low, low price of $18. Don’t you love America?

So Samson, my 80-pound brindle and white 2nd child, still has to eat out of the Tupperware until I find the right kind of bowls, and he has to share the love of his boy with a fish. Do I have a point in all this? I’m not sure yet. Give me a minute.

Oh yeah, I wanted to say that sometimes we go after something and we end up with something that is not exactly what we wanted, but it’s still a good thing.  Having this fish will undoubtedly give me opportunities to teach my child important things, things besides fish bowls get stinky if you don’t clean them regularly.

So, take the challenge today to be grateful for where you are, to appreciate what you have, to find the good in things, even if it’s not what you were expecting, and to trust God and His uber-powerful statement to us in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Nuggets

Saturday mornings have always been my favorite time. Time for coffee, hanging out in PJ’s, watching cartoons with Jaxon, Facebooking, making pancakes, and more recently, blogging. It has been one week since I started this blog while I was on hold with American Airlines and watching a football game. And I have learned a few things this week.

1) Go do something. Give God something to bless.

2) When you do this, He will meet you there. You’ll be surprised.

3) Trust your instincts, the first thing that I type is usually the one that sounds best.

4) When trying to be a blessing to people, even if you do something silly, if you do it with your whole heart, you will succeed. And even if I just help one person with my writing, it’s worth it. The one person that read something I wrote this week and took a little nugget of truth away from it, that person was worth it. And for that person, I’m going to keep going.

5) Jesus has broad shoulders, He can carry your load if you let Him. Trust Him.

6) Don’t stress over the little stuff, don’t major on minors. Do what counts and do it well.

7) Fourth grade math is inexplicably hard.

And that’s all, folks! More learning next week!

Why just cast half?

Picture this, you’re walking through a busy airport. (I do this a lot.) You’ve got a rolling suitcase, a backpack, a purse, a computer bag, a heavy coat, a diaper bag, a stroller, a venti non-fat latte, a book, your boarding pass and your ID, a bottle of water, and a smile. At least that’s what I’ve been known to carry in recent history. All of a sudden, a very big, strong guy comes up to you with the kindest, gentlest eyes you’ve ever seen and says, “Please let me carry all of that for you, no charge.” And this was seriously the most trustworthy guy you’ve ever seen. What would you do?

Would you just hand over half of your stuff? Would you just let him carry one thing and then continue to struggle with the rest? What on earth are you thinking? Give it all to him, walk free and easy and sip your coffee in peace with this awesome dude walking next to you with all your stuff!

Well, that’s how I see Jesus when He tells me to cast all my cares on Him. I see Him as this huge, strong set of shoulders that can literally handle anything and everything, and I’m a fool if I don’t let Him help. I Peter 5:7 tells me to cast ALL my cares on Him because He cares for me. Why do we just cast half?

So many times we only cast half our cares on Him, we feel like we can take this one area of our lives and roll it off on His shoulders and trust Him to handle it, but for some reason we feel like we need to handle the rest by ourselves. And while we are all capable, strong people, there’s just no reason to try to handle all the situations of life in our own strength when His grace and help have already been provided for us! He is able, willing, and wants us to trust Him with all the cares in our lives. So don’t just cast half your cares on Him today; go ahead and cast it all.

Thank God for frozen dinners

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Can I just say how grateful I am for Stouffer’s? I mean really, what full-time working mom can make it through a week without at least one meal born in the freezer? Or maybe two. If you can, more power to you.

I realized yesterday afternoon that I had not prepared a vegetable for my family in a week. Bad Mommy! So last night there was a big salad and a nice lasagna, which I managed to cook perfectly, thank you very much. The directions were very easy. Ha!

But in all seriousness, the nightly dinner battle is just one I have chosen not to fight. I’d like to say I do my grocery shopping every weekend and have a nice meal plan all laid out for the week, but that of course would be a big, fat lie and probably not going to happen in this lifetime. But I do what I can, I cook healthy meals when I can, I try out new recipes when I can, I (make Lynn) grill up a nice steak when I can, and I order pizza when I can. Oh yeah, and I go to the gym when I can. But that’s another conversation for another day. Today I choose to do what I can and not stress about what I can’t do. I choose to do what has to be done, and do it well, and the rest will still be there tomorrow.

Go do something

This seems to be a running theme as I’ve been writing this blog. I’m probably just preaching to myself, (I’m definitely preaching to myself) but I keep coming back to this thought. Go do something. Maybe it’s because I’m guilty, like so many are, of waiting for God to move in some area of my life and He may be telling me to move. My father-in-law Terry Mize, who I respect so highly in ministry has always said that God is a good checker player; He waits on us to make a move and then He makes a corresponding move. Well, I was sitting in my Dad’s School of the Spirit class last night and he was talking about how Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were diseased. Right then it struck me, what can I do that’s good? What are my strengths? What do I have to contribute to humanity, to my family, to my friends, to my community?

What can you do that’s good? Go do it. What is your strength? Go do it. What do you excel at? Go do it. What can you do that would really help someone? Go do it. Do something! Be an instrument, a vessel. God gave each of us gifts and talents, what do you think He expected us to do with them?

I don’t believe He’s going to call every single person to the mission field to eat worms and run around with naked people, while there are those that are absolutely anointed to do it and I have the utmost admiration for them. But I believe He puts passions and desires in us to pursue what we’re good at, what we love, what brings us joy, what brings us fulfillment. If those are the desires of your heart, then go do them. Use the gifts and talents He’s given you to help someone, to make a difference. I’m not saying everyone is called to the ministry, although many make good arguments for that, I mean go do what you’re good at, in whatever field that is. Go do it with your whole heart, and you’ll bless people in the process. My grandfather says that his mama told him, obey God, stay little in your own eyes,  and you’ll bless the world. Wise woman. Go bless the world.

Choices

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary; oh my stinkin’ heck! How did we make it this far? It’s much easier said than done. Choices and grace, God’s grace and mercy and the choices we made along the way. Choices to love each other even when we didn’t feel like it, choices to forgive each other for our mistakes, choices to go to God for direction instead of a sympathetic shoulder, and a million other choices along the way. Point being, they all add up to a marriage that lasts. It’s not a magic formula, it’s a choice. We choose to love each other, even when we don’t feel like it, especially when we don’t feel like it. In my experience, the choices that are the hardest to make are usually the ones that are the most important.

A favorite scripture of mine that has always been very effective at pushing the junk out of my brain is this: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV) 

It’s so easy to think the worst, to think the bad stuff,  it just kind of comes naturally to me, unfortunately. I’ve always been a glass half empty kind of girl. But this really helped me, even if I just focused on one positive thing, at least it was something and it was a place to start. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?