Showing posts with label thoughts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thoughts. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It is What it Is...

There's plenty of stuff I avoid blogging about.  Mostly because parts of the story are not mine to tell.  And figuring out what parts are, and what parts are not...is tricky.  And avoidance is easier.  


But lately I can't shake the feeling that it's time.  That ongoing inner dialogue with the Holy Spirit...Him nudging and me resisting...it's a dance we're both familiar with.  


So here goes.  Here goes honesty.  The unspoken thoughts turn to written-down-gone-viral-can't-be-taken-back words.


My words.  My experience.  My perspective.  Completely and utterly one-side of a story that has, possibly, a different view from every direction.  I'm not pretending to know the experience, or feelings of my other family members.  That's their story.  But I do know my thoughts.  My feelings, and my take on life. 


This is my story.  (insert that sound from Law & Order)


For eleven years now, I have been part of a step-family.  I may have just heard the whole internet mumble under their breath, who isn't?  I know, I know...it's common and old news.  Cliche.  And hard.  


Being in a step-family is odd.  And sometimes uncomfortable, even when you like them.  And during the times that it does feel comfortable, it almost always feels awkward to me, even after all this time.  Does that make sense?  


Movies are made about it all the time.  I mean, c'mon, we all know from Cinderella how mean and ugly step-mothers and step-sisters are.  There's always two options shown...the mean-evil ones, and the super nice ones where everyone loves each other...cue The Brady Bunch.  And then there's real life...


My parents divorced when I was 21ish.  My Mom remarried when I was 23.  By that time Ben and I had been married a couple years and I was very pregnant with my first-born, Noah.  My sister was a teenager, and my brother was 11ish.   


My Mom's new husband had three children as well, all in different stages of teenhood.  


Both families were sort of reeling from the loss of their nuclear family.  Mine, to a messy, painful divorce and theirs from the sudden loss of their mom (the details of which are not my story to tell.)  


Because I was the oldest, and already married, my experience of the whole combining families  is totally different than that of my siblings and step-siblings.  I missed a lot of the drama.  And because Ben and I were starting a family of our own, I was distracted enough, in all honesty, to just be content watching it all play out...from the outside.


My mom, and step-dad (whom I almost always referred to as "My Mom's Husband" rather than step-dad because I was grown when they married,  but now after 11 years I can say he is a great guy and very much a father figure to me and a grandpa to my children) wanted us all to mesh together as a single family unit.  They did not want it to be two families, but one family.  And to their credit, they did all that they could to foster that.  Their intentions were good.  


In the beginning, I think we all kind of went along with it.  Each family knew that there was no going back to their original family life...so the idea of The Brady Bunch was appealing.  We avoided using the term "step" whenever possible.  We worked hard at treating each other like real siblings.  And for me, that worked...for awhile.


And then time went on, and we all became older.  New people were added to the family by marriage, babies were born...and lines were drawn by all.  Sometimes visible one, and sometimes invisible.  Sometimes I wanted those lines there, and sometimes I didn't, but either way, the lines are there.  It's part of the complication of blending families.  Because you're family, and at the same time, you're family once-removed.  


And for me, it became too hard to treat everyone the same.  Because we are not all the same.  I care very much for my step-siblings and their families.  They are good people.  But the bond I have with them is not the same as with my sister and brother whom I share a father and mother with.  A childhood with.  A connection that just comes from being blood.  My investment in my sister and brother is fierce.  And my pretending otherwise is really beneficial to no one.  


It is what it is.  We were two families, joined into one...but we don't really become one, because you can't.  We are still two, who do their best to function as one when we need to.  And I think that's ok.  And it's not anyone's first choice.  And it's ok to say it.  Out loud. It's not disrespectful.  It's not out of anger, or apathy.  It's from the heart.  It's the truth.  


I think after 11 years, we are all learning to let it be what it is, rather than forcing it into what we wish it were.  And from what I can tell, it is sort of a never ending process.  Each person figuring it out for themselves at their own pace, with their own rules, at the same time trying to figure out each other's pace and rules...the very definition of blending.  It's tricky...which doesn't mean it's a bad thing...but it is tricky.


Sometimes the hardest thing to admit and be content with,  is that it is what it is.  
  










Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This One Thought...

Lots and lots of stuff on my mind this week.  Lots of stuff that can't be placed on a blog.  


But this one thought...


That those speaking the loudest..who seek to have their opinions voiced, regardless...are often heard the least.


It turns people off.  True story.




Thursday, June 16, 2011

We Over-complicate Things...

Recently Ben and I have had the opportunity to do some pre-marital counseling with a couple.  It's our first time doing the entire counseling together.  After the first time we met with them, Ben and I looked at each other almost giddy with excitement.


Pre-marital counseling is fun.  Really fun.  Generally, we do more marriage counseling than pre-marriage...just because most of the people around us are already married.  Marriage counseling and fun rarely go together.  Most of the time is spent with two people not-feeling very loving and trying to convince the couple that they can, in fact, repair the damage that's been done...pre-marital counseling involves trying to equip two people head over heals in love,  to avoid the damage in the first place.  One couple is in the valley, and the other, at the top of the world.


In pre-marital you've got two people who are desperately in love, and blissfully hopeful about their future.  They're open to ideas, cautions, and plans.  They want to do whatever it's going to take to keep the loving feeling they have.  They're listening.


I like when people listen.  I especially like giving counsel to people who are actually listening.  As I look at ministry...from my perspective as the pastors wife, my hardest part in it is trying to minister to people who want answers, who want direction, who want to change...but most of the time they are not genuinely listening.  


It didn't take me long in ministry to realize that I was only going to offer advice or counsel when asked...and even then I'm not sure they're always hearing what I'm saying. ;)  


And through all the counseling...there's one lesson that God keeps pounding into my heart:  It is so, so much easier to avoid the pitfalls of life, than it is to get out of them.


It's true in marriage, and it's true in life.  


I think we make life more difficult than it needs to be sometimes.  Is life full of hard stuff?  Yep, for sure.  But do we add selfish over-dramatics to it as well?  Often.


I came across this verse this morning:  Micah 6:8  "The Lord has told you what is good.  He has told you what He wants from you:  Do what is right to other people.  Love being kind to others.  And live humbly, trusting your God."


Sounds like a pretty good verse to build a healthy, godly marriage and life on. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated...just a matter of doing.  That verse is going on my fridge.  Today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Telling Myself No...

I've been thinking lately.

Deep thinking.  The kind of thinking that requires just too much effort to put into words.

The Bible has me thinking.

Books I'm reading have me thinking.

People around me have me thinking.

Ministry has me thinking.

See, lots of thinking going on.  Lot's of reflecting.  Evaluating.  Observing.  Analyzing.  Changing.

I just finished the book Made to Crave.  It deals with the food issue, yes, but it deals with other stuff on a different level as well.  I may or may not have copied down half the book in quotes because it just spoke to me.

A couple things in particular just won't let go.

She says, "It's not the "how to" I'm missing.  It's the "want to"...really wanting to make changes and deciding that the results of those changes are worth the sacrifice."

I'm not sure I've heard a more truer statement uttered.  It used to be that admitting you had a problem was the first step to overcoming.  From my experience in my own life and in ministry, admitting there's a problem is not difficult at all!  We're fully aware we've got issues, it's the willingness to do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, in whatever way God says that we find the issue with.

And...

1 Corinthians 10:23  Everything is permissible - but not everything is beneficial.

Seriously, read that again.

We live in a culture that doesn't like to tell ourselves "no."  And, from my own observations of myself, and those around me, it is no different in the Christian culture than it is in the world's.  Oh, we like to deceive ourselves into thinking it is.  We've made lists of all the really bad things one can do, and we try our best to stay away from them.  We give ourselves an invisible pat on the back for being such self-sacrificing people...but are we?

Who do we live for?  Who do we live to please?  Do we live as though we understand the truth of God's word when it says, Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial?  Do we seek out His wisdom on this?   Do we tell ourselves no?  Or do we justify?  Do we tell ourselves we deserve to indulge in whatever it is we choose?

I'm good at justification.  Really good.  Unfortunately, justification is really just a nice word for lying-to-myself.

I'm pretty good with excuses too.  And very good with lacking the "want to" in some areas, which I cleverly turn into "I just can't"  but really, "I'm just lazy."

And the past few weeks, I've become disgusted.  I'm not even sure disgusted is a strong enough word for it.  It's as if, through God's Word, the Holy Spirit has shown me the ways in which I've been deceiving myself...living as a slave to the whims of my flesh.

And I've had enough.  Enough justifying.  Enough laziness.  Enough excuses.  Enough of telling myself yes, when I should be telling myself no.  I'm tired  of it in myself, and honestly...I'm tired of it in people around me too.  Because it's enslaves each of us.  I can't make people "want to."  I can't.

But I can live as an example of one who surrenders my own will, and puts it in submission to my Heavenly Father's will for me.   I can tell you, that there is such joy and FREEDOM in saying no to myself.

Your issues are likely going to look different than mine.  Or maybe you have no issues at all *this is where I cough out the word denial under my breath*  But, because I haven't already disclosed enough to you...I'll give you the truth I'm now speaking to myself.  The little bit I like to call..

No Sarah...

You do not need so much sugar.
You are not  too tired to get your butt up and run.
You do not need a snack...or ten snacks.
You are not too busy to spend time with God.

You get the idea.

And if you have issues with food, or issues with telling yourself "no" when you need to, I whole heartedly recommend Made to Crave...and this is most definitely not a paid for recommendation ;)

Anyone else out there in desperate need of telling themselves NO?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sometimes...

Sometimes I start a post five different times because what I thought I wanted to write about ends up sounding dumb.  Or boring.  Or both.  

Today is one of those days.

Sometimes they get too wordy, and I lose my train of thought along the way.  Hate when that happens.  Sometimes, what God is teaching me is so personal and gut wrenching to me, that my limited vocabulary and writing skills (laziness) do it no justice and so I choose silence.

I'm a "so you get the gist of it" kinda blogger.  Not big on details.  Or grammar *cough*  So, in true Sarah form, here's my life:  The Gist it anyways.

In a few short weeks, we will have been in tiny town for five years.  It's got us reflecting on our time here thus far.  Five years ago we came into full time ministry with so much excitement.  We hadn't a clue what we were doing, and we knew it.  Calling on God for His wisdom and assistance was simple.  Without a doubt we needed His help.

And then somehow, as it always seems to happen in my life, I settled in.  Familiarized myself with this ministry thing.  With the community.  With routine.  And called it good.

Turns out, as it always does, that my standard of good is not even close to what God has planned.  Why do I so easily settle for my pathetic version of good?   Oh, the list of reasons is quite long...I'll spare you.

At a friends recommendation, I picked up a book recently.  It took just a few pages before that feeling of "oh this book is talking directly to me" hit.    For some reason, somewhere in the process of "settling in" I also unconsciously decide that I can handle things on my own.  The "I got this!" attitude.  Without even realizing it, I had viewed ministry as a job like any other.  You know,  the experienced worker trains the newbie and before long, the newbie is no longer an idiot and can actually do the job on their own.  Simple.  Except...in ministry, without God, I'll always always always be  the idiot.  

When your husband is a pastor, it is not his job.  It is your life.

I don't mean that negatively.  I mean that ministering to people is a way of life.  No clocking in and clocking out.  You're always on.  Pretty much like parenting.   And, it really is a good thing.  It's what God has called Ben and I to.  Together.  It is a privilege.  And a burden.  It's not something that very many people understand, I'm not sure I understand it yet myself.  What I do know, is that I need the Holy Spirit's leading and empowering to accomplish what He has planned.  

On my own, I have nothing to offer. I take that back, I do.... such things as apathy, annoyance, criticism, attitude, unforgiveness, harshness, loathing.  I could go on.  And on.  It's not pretty.  And it accomplishes nothing for Christ.  

At the end of the day, I want to be able to look back and see what God accomplished through me for that day.  That's where I'm at.  One day at a time.  

I wanna leave you with this quote:

It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are.  But it's absolutely vital to grasp that He didn't call you there so you could settle in and live out your life in comfort and superficial peace.  His purposes are not random or arbitrary.  If you are still alive on this planet, it's because He has something for you to do.  He placed us on this earth for purposes that He orchestrated long before we were born (Eph. 2:8-10).  Do you believe you exist not for your own pleasure but to help people know the love of Jesus and to come fully alive in Him?  If so, then that will shape how you live your life in the place where you are.

                   Francis Chan, Forgotten God

I want God to be shaping how I live each day...it's certain to look much different than my version.



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's the Little Things...


It happens occasionally...I awaken from a deep sleep with an overwhelming sense of fear and hoplessness. It usually involves those life circumstances that I struggle to hand over, to relinquish to my Savior...to believe He can do anything in.

It's a spiritual battle. I know it is. The Bible tells me it is.

Last night it happened again. And I found myself praying fervently, in the darkness. Replacing fears with truth. Truth that nothing, nothing is too big for God to handle. No circumstance, relationship, financial situation, etc is beyond His reach. And in the darkness, as I claimed those truths (for the millionth time) His peace replaced the chest crushing hopelessness...and sleep came quickly.

But the battle doesn't end. I awoke early to...

  • My husband letting me know the furnace had stopped working sometime in the middle of the night, he'd talked to a good friend and something must be wrong with the gas line. Ben heads off to work.
  • I wake up and find that school has a 2 hour delay because of fog (also learn that it's the 6th day in a row without sunshine)
  • Call the gas company and they send someone out.
  • Teenager comes down stairs ready for school, not knowing that it's a late start. Not happy.
  • Two day care kiddos arrive.
  • Gas guy comes...gas is not the problem.
  • Call friend who can fix the furnace.
  • A dear friend calls, a tragic situation has happened in her family that lives far away. My heart hurts for her...
  • Load 5 kids up in order to take 2 to school. Buckle everyone in. Gripe under my breath about the cold.
  • On the way to school, someone drives right through the yield sign without ever looking...it wasn't super close, but close enough to make my heart pound.
  • Get back home unload 2 preschoolers and a 7 month old. Walk into the house to have teenager tell me their ride to school over slept. Load preschoolers and baby back in the van, pick up teenagers friend, and take to highschool.
  • Someone calls and needs a babysitter, I say no...which makes me feel bad for not helping.
  • Friend comes and takes 5 minutes and furnace is fixed.
  • Feed kids lunch, delay nap of 7 month old because...
  • in 30 minutes I would need to load 3 kids up again to take one to preschool.
  • My head hurts, my back hurts, my pregnant self is tired, my patience is tested...
But in reality, this is an average ordinary day. Sure, some stuff's been a little extra annoying...but nothing too far from the average day. It's life.

And then the realization hits me. It's not the big life-altering situations that bring me to my breaking point.

It's the tiny little ones. The every-day-ordinary ones. The freezing weather, the dishwasher not getting loaded/unloaded, whining, piles, my cell phone that never stops ringing, on and on and on. Nothing significant...until you put it all together.

I know what I should do. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Knowing is generally not the problem for me...it's the doing.

Looking at the daily craziness of life as a blessing, rather than a huge pain. Some days it's easier to do that...but I want to get to the point where I choose quickly to see the "inconveniences" of life as opportunities instead.

I'm a long way from that point. God has some work to do...I have some yielding to do.

How about you? What brings you to your breaking point?


Monday, January 11, 2010

Boring

Funny thing about blogging...lots of thoughts in my head equals zero posts.

Probably because all of the thoughts have beginnings, but haven't been totally worked through yet.
And the other thoughts...too boring or random to blog...even for me...yet I'll do it anyway.

  • Took the boys bowling for the first time. I know! They'd never been bowling. We're terrible parents. Happy to report I won both games. Turns out I bowl better with a preggo belly. The bad news: I'm still totally sore from it. Sore from bowling...good grief.
  • Started and finished (in the same day) Ted Dekkar and Frank Perreti's book House. Weird. Very weird. Turns out, a friend told me it's his worst one...so (at her recommendation) I'm going to read Black next.
  • My kids were supposed to have their yearly dental check up last fall. We never made it. Now, with all my prenatal appointments and juggling everyone's schedules already driving me crazy, I've decided to wait until summer to take them to the dentist. Maybe that makes me a bad parent. Oh well...at least they've been bowling now.
  • I hate winter in Iowa this year. I do. I've tried to look at the positive side of it, and well...I just can't find one. I think I need some more vitamin D.
  • I ran 1.8 miles on the treadmill the other day. It wasn't actually running, more like walking with a hop, but I'm totally counting it. The boys just stood and watched me for a few minutes, because the sight of it caught them by surprise. The sight of their pregnant mama in running gear was a little shocking to their systems.
  • Odie smells like rot. I'm not even kidding. He desperately needs a bath...and I desperately wish I was not the one who had to give it to him.
  • Wishing will not make him smell better...I've tried.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Just Like Everyone Else...

I'm bad at reflecting back sometimes. I'm very good at forgetting lessons I've learned. But this past year has been a big year for The Parsonage Family...and one of huge change for me spiritually.

I so don't want God to let me forget.

  • Started my first Beth Moore Bible Study in 2009. Now into my 2nd one. God has used her tremendously to help me get into His Word and understand it better. I've been so blessed by the annointing He's placed upon her.
  • Friendships grew and deepened. I may not get to see some of you often, or ever, but your presence in my life encourages me. For those I do get to see often, thank you for putting up with me.
  • I trained for a 1/2 marathon. Something I never thought I could do. Turns out, I was RIGHT! But with His strength, and kick in the butt every now and then I ran distances I never thought possible. I learned spiritual lessons through physical ones. I'm hoping 2010 has more of that in store...because otherwise my clothes may never fit again.
  • Saw my oldest son, Noah, desire to be baptized. Saw my husband get to do the honor. Realized that, more than anything, I want my boys to grow up to be men of faith...just like their daddy.
  • Decided to host an exchange student. Preparing for Julie, and having her here has been a once in a lifetime experience for us.
  • Watched friends and family suffer tremendous loss of loved ones. A good friend's son diagnosed with cancer. Watching them press on, one day at a time...fighting the good fight.
  • Unexpected blessing of finding out our family was going to grow by one more. Barfing and sickness for 18 weeks. Choroid Plexus Cyst...and the disappearance of it...news of a healthy baby.
  • Torturing others with the "secret" of the baby's gender. A growing belly, pants that won't stay up, and the amazing feeling of that sweet little baby kicking around in there.
  • Unexpected expenses, car repairs and stuff. Wondering how it would all work out...and seeing God work it all out. Blessed.
  • Learning and adjusting to parenting as the boys get older. Trying to deal with heart issues, school issues, brother issues. Loving them more than they'll ever know.
  • Watching a ridiculous amount of football.
  • So much other stuff.
As I start this new year today, I plan on cleaning. my. butt. off. Something about January makes me want to organize EVERYTHING. This phase will end. It always does.

But while I'm cleaning, there's one thing that I just can't get out of my head...

What is too big for God?

Nothing that 2010 holds will take Him by surprise. And nothing nothing nothing is too big for Him to handle. Not even me.

With God by my side, bring on what He has in store for 2010.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's Personal...

I'm in session 5 of Beth Moore's Daniel study. God has used this study to challenge me beyond words. I haven't blogged on it much because it is so personal, so close to my heart that I need it to just stay there for awhile.

This morning, something Beth wrote hit me hard.

For some, the flow of the world can be easier to resist than the flow of Christian mediocrity.

I struggle with both. Until this study, I didn't realize how much the attitudes of my culture are just a part of me. Even more so, how the attitudes of other Christians around me affect me.

Beth says...

We abide in our subgroups by unspoken codes dictating how far we'll go in our devotion to God. Anyone who goes overboard or takes it too seriously is considered eccentric, not extraordinary.
The truth is, worldly individuals already think I've lost my mind. I came to understand that very, very early in my Christian experience. I get that...I understand that. I can handle that. After all, why wouldn't they think I was a little strange?

What I seem to never get used to is the backlash that sometimes comes from fellow believers during the times in my life that Christ has called me to be different. I can be going about my business, quite happy and content and then God goes and grabs my heart again with something like this Daniel study. And during those times...He requires something different of me. Requires a change.

I've learned that sometimes other believers view my changes as judgement on them. And often, I've wrongly viewed other's changes as judgement on me.

And they're not.

I do have a point to this incessant rambling, I'll try to find it...recently God has convicted the parsonage family that it's time for us to do something different in one particular area. It has nothing to do with how anyone else does this particular thing. He's just calling us to it differently for now, and we can either obey what He's asking and risk being viewed as the weirdos, or we can maintain our norm and just go with the way we've always done it.

But only one way leads to obedience for us.

At the end of each day, I want to be the Christian that is an encouragement to the person who tells me God is convicting them and they want to change. I want to rejoice with them when God calls them to something radical. I want to encourage them to trust and follow even when it seems crazy. I don't want to get in the way of what God is doing in someone elses life...I want to cheer them on instead.

I am so thankful for those people in my life that have cheered us on when God called us to something that seemed crazy at the time. And I'm especially thankful for those who've set the example before me, living out a radical faith.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm Punishing...

Ben took the personality test from yesterday and it confirmed what we already knew to be true.
He's the exact opposite of me.

I was surprised at how closely it wrapped me up...in an oversimplified way.

It says that my "enthusiastic encouragement" is "charming." I'm assuming that by "charming" they also mean "annoying." If that's the case: Right on.

There's one sentence though that totally nailed me.

Although you strive for harmony, when your values or ethics are violated, you can be very emotional, confrontational, and even punishing.

I'd like to lie here, but the truth is, that is EXACTLY me.

It's been rearing it's ugly head quite often lately.

Case #1: A week or so ago Billie and I were running on the trail, seven miler. We do our best to stay on our side of the trail so that bikers and other runners have room to pass us. We also have our ipods on so high that we would likely not even hear a nuclear explosion (that will likely come from North Korea.) Anyways, a middle aged man who was obviously not a hard-core bicyclist because A - he was not wearing a helmet or spandex and B - he had knee high dress socks on with loafers...apparently had to go a little too far around us for his liking. After passing us he turned around and yelled what were probably obscenities. Billie and I looked at each other, and then at him with our most confused expressions. He proceeded to give us, what I like to call "the naughty finger" for another 15 seconds before riding out of sight.

I. Was. FURIOUS. How dare he treat two women like that?!? We didn't even do anything wrong! I kept wishing I had a taser or in the very least some pepper spray because I totally would have chased him down. Sadly, I am not even kidding. Billie, on the other hand, offered the opinion that he must really have some other problems going on in his life for him to react to us that way.

Hmmm...who's the pastor's wife again? Oh yeah...that'd be me. Sheesh.

Case #2 - I cannot turn on the news lately without my blood pressure rising. The government is making me CRAZY. What is happening to America? I'll spare you my rant, mostly because, like my personality synopsis said, I really do not enjoy confrontation. I especially hate bantering back and forth on blogs. It's completely not the point of why I blog.

I post, and then lovely people say kind things back to me...that's why I blog ;)

I also digress easily...back to my point...everyones personality is flawed. Some more than others. How 'bout you? If an incredibly rude man makes an obscene gesture to you do you want to tase him or pray for him? Inquiring minds want to know.

I'm working on it....I'm working on it :)

I'll resist getting a tshirt that says "Be nice to me, or I will tase you" I'll also resist ordering this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

No Sacred Cow

Ben and I had a pastor in our lives that always said that there was "no sacred cow" when it came to how he approached ministry.  It meant that he was always evaluating how the church was running programs and various things...if it once was working and serving a purpose but over time became more tradition than ministry, then it was gone...no sacred cows.

It's stuck with me.  It makes sense to me.  

It's easy in life to make things sacred that were never meant to be sacred.  Changing something does not mean that it's a bad thing, or that it never served its purpose, it just means that currently, it's time for something different.

I like to use the no sacred cow idea in my life outside of ministry as well.  From anything as simple as hair products to the more complicated, like relationships.

My life, like yours, is chuck full of relationships.  And lately, I've noticed I'm having trouble just keeping up with people.  Old friends, new friends, bloggy friends, family, ministry, on and on.  The end result usually leaves me feeling guilty.

Guilty that I don't talk with so and so anymore, guilty that one friendship takes priority over another, guilty that I haven't made that call, written that note, sent that card, left that comment...followed up on their life.  My lack of doing any of those things in no way reflects on how If feel about that person, it reflects my life....my time...my priorities.

And that's where I find my sacred cow.  The sacred cow of friendships.  

Don't ya just love those friends who you haven't talked to in forever, but the moment you have a chance to catch up, it feels like you pick right up where you left off?!?  Those are the friendships that last, that survive, because both people understand that life goes on...and sometimes, it goes on without each other, but it doesn't mean the friendship is gone, it just means it's changed...it's always there...it just looks and feels differently than before.  

I've been seeking out God's help on this stuff...big time.  I need Him to show me which friendships need more focus, and which ones are changing.  As I was mulling my thoughts over with Ben, he shared something that really hit me.  It was something to do with Chemistry and atoms...and I will of course butcher the explanation because of my complete idiocy in all things science...but it was something to do with atoms and molecules and how only so many molecules can be grouped together at a time.  If there's too many they break off and form another group.  (Ben and my chemistry teacher are hanging their heads in shame right now ;)

That analogy though is so true.  As women, we grow and change and "break off" so that we can be blessed by new friendships.  It doesn't mean the old one is broken or bad, it means that in order to bless and be blessed by new friends, we've got to be willing to let go of the all the time invested in the old ones and invest some in the new.

"Make new friends, but keep the old..."  You know the song.  Seriously, I should have just stuck to the bullet list form because I've even lost myself in this post!  Good luck to ya'll! ;)

It boils down to this:
  • I'm learning to appreciate all of the friendships God has blessed me with.
  • Some of those are going to require more time than others.
  • No need to feel guilty.
  • Those old friendships, that require the least maintenance are often the best.
  • Let go of the guilt.
  • I can't "be there" for every friend.  Even if I want to, I'm not meant too.  Not meant to.
  • Letting go of the guilt that was never supposed to be there in the first place...
  • See a theme?
So, to all my old friends:  I love you.  You know I do.  I think of you...I remember our history, it's part of me.  You're just as important to me as you always were.

To my new friends:  Our everyday lives cross paths continually.  We share children in the same grades, neighbors, everydayness.  I'm thankful to be sharing this part of the journey with you, and know that someday, many of you will be in the old friends category.

To my bloggy friends:  Your uniqueness and sweetness entertains me endlessly.  The fact that you've read this far is frankly amazing :)  Keep writing.

To my family:  You get the shaft sometimes.   You get the tired and worn out version of me sometimes.  The fact that you love me regardless is what makes us family.  Love you.

To my Julie:  You are one of the newest investments of time in our lives.  I look forward each and every day to your emails...you are a part of our lives in so many ways, already.  You soon will be family...and you will get the shaft sometimes...because that's what family does ;)  Love you already.


Monday, March 9, 2009

What's Got Me So Cranky...

I'm a bit crabby today. 

Shocking, I know.  *cough*

I'll spare you my whiny list of why, because it really boils down to one thing.  

And that one thing was written superbly by my bloggy friend Kelly, who happens to be living just one state north of me.  Which happens to be the only other state I've ever lived in.  Minnesota.

Minnesota is a lot like Iowa...except it has traffic, lakes, and shopping. Insightful, aren't I.

I read her post today, and *sighed* with relief.  

If you live somewhere cold...go on...go read it.  You'll feel better.

If you're smart enough to live somewhere warm...I will try not to stick my tongue out at you in jealousy ;)  I said try...I can't promise.

Thanks Kelly...I needed that today!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Perspective

It's interesting how circumstances can change in an instant.

That instant usually brings about a complete change in perspective for me.

Logically, I know I should be thankful for certain things, for certain people, all of the time.  But generally, I pretty much take it all for granted until something changes.

There are circumstances going on in so many of the lives around me...hard circumstances.  As I've thought on them today, God has given me a fresh perspective on my own life. 

My long list of things to whine about now looks like a long list of things to be thankful for.  Very thankful for.

I wish I could say that list will stay that way...unfortunately, it's likely that within hours I will once again be viewing many of those things on my list as less than desirable...not because the things changed, but because my selfish perspective changed.

Frustrating.

Praying today for the grace and wisdom I need from Him to be able to enjoy and appreciate every day life without something "tragic" forcing me to. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mommahood

I'm answering some more questions today, which means that for the life of me, I can't come up with anything else to blog about.

Yay for questions!

Colored With Memories asked this...this may be too personal...but i always wonder about people that have 3 kids of the same gender...did you try for the third to see if you could have a girl, or did you just always want 3?

we have 2 girls...and are debating on having a third...of course we'd love a boy, but the debate isn't so much about that...as it is if i could actually handle 3 (of any gender!)...

which leads me to another question...which transition was hardest for you kid wise (and why)...going from 0 to 1, 1 to 2 or 2to 3...can you tell we are over thinking a third!?!

I always wanted four kids.  And then Jake came along and rocked my little world.   The transition from 2 -3 was hardest for me...mostly because I only had two arms, which meant that  one child was always breaking free running to and fro.  

I then decided three was plenty :)  Now as he gets older though, I start to think maybe four wouldn't be so bad...and then he starts on a tangent of destruction and I think...three is plenty ;)   Who knows what the future may hold.  

When I was pregnant with Jake (our third boy) I was very annoyed when people asked me if I was hoping it was a girl.  I wanted whatever God had ordained that baby to be.  After he was born, I had comments that were almost apologetic in tone, regarding having "another" boy.  Insinuating that I might be disappointed in that beautiful, perfect little boy I held...it made me want to scream.  I fully believe God has given me what He had planned for me.  I am the mother of boys.  I can't imagine anything else.   I wouldn't want it any other way.

I do, however, want some really fantastic daughter-in-laws someday :)

Thanks for the great question!






Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Failure...

Yesterday I spent 2 hours in the waiting room at the dental office while each of my boys had their check-up. I didn't have an appointment myself (because I haven't rescheduled from canceling in June :) It gave me plenty of time to think...

I would rather
  • give birth
  • barf
  • go to the gynecologist

than to the dentist. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Our dentist is a wonderfully kind and gentle man, and his hygienists couldn't be sweeter...but it still not enough for me to think kindly of them. It's nothing personal. I know they're just doing their job...in fact, they actually have our best interests at heart. Just trying to help me and my children from becoming victims of rotten teeth and gum disease.

I am not fond of the smell, the drill, the drool...all of it. But WORSE than all of that is the way I feel when I leave.

Do I floss? nope, unless 1 week before my appointment counts ;)

Do I make sure my kids have brushed ever tooth thoroughly morning and night? No

Do I drink too much coffee? *insert eye roll*

Did I bribe my kids with more sugar if they were good at the dentist? yep

Since I was a little girl, every time I leave the dentist I feel like a big, fat, FAILURE. Simply from not doing what I already know I should be doing. The dentist doesn't harass me or scold me...but I leave feeling like an idiot none the less.

It would make sense, logically, that to avoid this feeling of failure I would floss everyday, stay away from the "sugar bugs" and actually keep my 6 month cleaning appointment instead of canceling it. Easy peasy.

But I never do that. Instead, I do all the things I'm not supposed to, resent the dentist and avoid it at all costs until it's absolutely necessary I go. All the while blaming the dentist for their evil tools of torture and nauseating smell. After all, who is he to tell me what to do?!? I don't smoke or do other things that would be bad for my teeth so SURELY he could give me a little break, right?!?

I think the way I feel about going to the dentist is the way many feel about going to church.

And that's what I'm pondering for today...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Conflicted

Good questions yesterday!  Now I have some blog fodder for a few posts...phew.

Gina from Louisville asked: 
Do you ever feel conflicted between living simply, being frugal, focusing on inner beauty versus the world, being fashionable, spending and looking good? 

One word answer:  Absolutely.

Long answer:  There always seems to be a pull to be off-balance.   It seems that something in my humanity wants to veer off course in one direction or another, regarding so many different areas of life.  We go to extremes.  And no matter what the thing is, we run the risk of making an idol out of it when it becomes extreme.

Saint Augustine said idolatry is worshiping what should be used or using what should be worshiped.  

It is easy to become obsessed with outer beauty, material possessions and appearances.  By obsessed I simply mean letting them consume my thoughts.  The same goes for the opposite of these things.  I can become consumed in striving for the simple, saving money, even frugality can become an idol if given the chance.  

Who and what consumes me?  It's the question I'm always having to ask my wandering heart.  If my answer is Jesus, then all the rest is just simply fun stuff. If my answer is anything other than Jesus, it's now become an idol.

I have an penchant for extremes.  I've often said that the reason I have not and do not consume alcohol is because I'd likely be a raging alcoholic.  I'm not even  kidding.

I think that it is fully possible for me as a woman to live simply, be frugal, be changed from the inside out while still being fashionable and making the best of the outside appearance that God has given me...all within a budget.  Now...I say possible...as in something I'm continually trying to get a handle on :)

One last thought on inner beauty:  I am absolutely and thoroughly convinced that Christ shines through His people.  Knowing Him and walking closely with Him won't change my face shape or my body shape, but I know that it will change my heart, and what's in my heart is going to overflow from me.  My words, my thoughts, my actions...and some people will be drawn to it, and some will be repulsed by it.  In our humanness I think we sometimes equate such things to physical aspects, when in reality we are being drawn in by a persons presence...we just don't have a good way to describe that.


Thanks Gina for that great question!  I'd love to hear all your thoughts on this one :)

Tomorrow, my thoughts on being a pastor's wife...need I say more ;)


Friday, February 6, 2009

Notes:


There are times when I hear something and it just HITS me.  Sticks with me.  Changes me.

Beth Moore is hitting me hard lately.  I love watching the DVDs that go along with this study.  Her passion for God's Word is inspiring and contagious, and what I love most about her is that everything really is all about Him.  

Here's what I scribbled down Tuesday night during Bible Study as we watched her DVD.  I feel like I can't write fast enough to catch all the good stuff, and if I don't write it down...*poof*  it's gone!

  • Peace and ease are not the same.
  • Many times we don't have a knowledge problem, we have an obedience problem.
  • Part of being spiritually mature is ceasing to equate hard with bad.  Just because something is easy doesn't mean it is good.
I can't get these out of my head.  I have a feeling I know why.  There's a theme going on...

I love that God loves me enough to keep leading and guiding.  Not because He needs me, but because He wants me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Poor Poor Pitiful Me...

Everything in life...anything of worth, requires maintenance.

Everyone knows this...it's not some new deep thought.

I've known this for a long time...logically speaking.  But every fiber of my being wills it to not be true.  I want to work at something ONE time, maybe two and then I want it to just work perfectly...forever.

I think I'm not alone.  

I know that's not how it works...but it doesn't change the fact that sometime...many times I act as though it should work that way.  And when it doesn't, I play victim and give up, because it MUST not be fair...it shouldn't be SO HARD, right?!?

Yes it should.  Yes it is.  Time to get over it.

That's what I heard as I poured out my heart out to God this morning before finally dragging my lazy body out of bed.  I whined and complained to Him about how tired I was...about how cold it was, about how evil my treadmill was....on and on. 

It was my own answers to my complaints that hit me.    It was my thoughts on how things should feel...
  • I should be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and be able to pop up in the morning, cheery and ready to start my day.
  • Ditto for the kids.
  • When I get out of bed, I should step into a house that is clean...because after all, I spent TWO weeks getting it organized...it should STAY THAT WAY without me having to attend to it all the time.
  • My kids should get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth and THEN watch cartoons until school starts...because that's the routine, they know it, they just should do it.
  • I will of course have gotten up by 6 AM (cheery) and spent the time alone with God that I so desperately need.  I'd also have time to make a menu/grocery list so that I could hit the store after dropping the kids off to school.
  • I would then hit the treadmill, shower and actually have myself ready by...say...11.
  • Then, I could work on ministry stuff...all the while my house would stay clean because no one would be undoing whatever it was that I had done.
  • Supper would be planned and prepared, because I of course, had a menu and all the ingredients needed to make it.
  • Then, and this is the kicker, we would all sit down and NOT ONE CHILD would complain and refuse to eat.
Sound lofty?  Some of it is, some of it is completely unrealistic.  According to the amount of work I think I should have to put in, in order to achieve this makes it IMPOSSIBLE!

Have you ever looked at women who seem to be able to pull this off and think,  how in the world does she do it?  I'm ashamed to say, that most often, I assume that it's easy for her.  That there must be something in her life that makes it extra easy for her to pull that off.  That I, on the other hand, have it so much harder...that MUST be why I can't do it.

Wrong.  So wrong.  Truthfully, that crazy list is not really that lofty (except for the kids actually getting themselves ready:).  But it requires work, and diligence.  It requires doing what needs to be done even when I don't feel like it.  It requires no excuses.

I don't have to work any harder than anybody else to accomplish things.  Time to stop giving myself excuses.  Time to do things I don't feel like doing.  Which for me right now, means folding an enormous basked of whites...my least favorite ;)

If you relate at all to this, I'd love to hear your thoughts :)