Sunday, September 28, 2008

All Talk, No Action!

I realized that sometimes we get confused about the meaning of the word "help". I looked it up ('cause I'm good like that). According to the American Heritage Dictionary it means:
To give assistance to; aid: I helped her find the book. He helped me into my coat.
To be of service; give assistance.
The act or an instance of helping.

We often think that we are helping someone when we give them our opinion. Wrong! I was really thinking about Job's "friends" (I use that term loosely because I wouldn't want friends like that!). They really felt that they were aiding Job but I think really they were just comforting themselves. They wanted to believe that Job was suffering because of his sin, therefore because they weren't suffering, they must be blameless. They had a superiority complex.

But that really isn't the point of this post. It is really that often when someone when is hurting, or needs real assistance, we "help" by offering platitudes, or worse, we point out their flaws. I found myself doing this the other day. My friend didn't need my advice, she didn't need me to talk about her to others, she didn't need me to point out what she was doing wrong. Why couldn't I just have actually done something? Why does all my aid have to consist of words? No where in that definition do I see that help is an, "abundance of words that make the speaker feel superior". Sometimes we need to keep our words to ourselves. Even when we are "right", even when we are sure we know what the other person has done wrong, even when we feel justified. I need to remember more often that I am not called to be any one's Holy Spirit. It is not my place to evaluate their motives or point out their flaws. Even if it just seems like pointless complaining, my job is to help like Jesus would. He was a lot more action than talk!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Taking Notice

I was listening to the radio this morning on my way to my moms' group at church and a song (I think it may have been by Caedmon's Call, but I was too lazy to look it up) had a line in it that really caught my attention. I had heard the song before but this morning something about "we delight in the Son who was perfect from birth" got me to thinking. At first, I thought, "What a pleasure for Mary, to know that her Son would never cause her normal childhood grief." No lying, yelling, laying on the floor demanding a sucker...well, I digress. Then as my mind continued to wander I started to think about how even as a child, Jesus must have stood out. I think everyone has worked with children in some capacity. When can all think the reasons the memorable ones stand out, and it is not usually because of their model behavior! Surely, everyone would take notice of a perfect child. I wonder if Mary's friends tried to convince her to write a book on parenting, or if they just secretly entertained thoughts that surely He must be a brat at home. But no matter what they thought, they must have taken notice.

I am sure that is why the Bible says, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) Jesus, as He always was, is the best example of this. His behavior polarized public opinion, but whatever the verdict, people took notice. Oh, that is how I long to be! I want to be so different, so ideal, that people stop and take a closer look. Even as a little child, Jesus grew in grace and wisdom, in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). Why can't I as an adult, manage to do that most of the time? The obvious answer, of course, is that I am not Christ; however, I would like to be a little deeper than that. I have access to all of His power. I want to model the best behavior for my family, my friends but most of all to draw the unsaved nearer to the Perfect One. I can follow the example of a Child on this one. I think the next time I am having a bad day I will remind myself that if a 5 year-old can do it (even if He did have supernatural powers), surely I can!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Facebook Rant

I have a tendency to jump on the bandwagon-I don't want to miss out on anything fun. So, to that end I pulled up my Facebook page yesterday because several people had been talking about their pages lately. I started it back in March and did...nothing. Well, I have decided that it is a voyeuristic way to spy on everyone! I know it isn't really, but I thought it was so you could keep up with your friends and acquaintances. Not really! There is no way to sustain a conversation, and every comment that someone leaves, since part of one that is on their own Wall, you have no idea what they are talking about. It doesn't really help you to keep up with anyone. I know it is based on sociological principles, etc. That doesn't mean the concept works. It is supposed to show how we are all connected but really I think it just exemplifies our grown-up cliques! I don't know... maybe as my dad always said, I just think it is stupid because I don't understand it. Maybe I don't want to understand it, maybe I just like my blog!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Faith and Fairy Tales

Jocelyn has long been a fan of "Cinderella" but yesterday we discovered the magic that is "Sleeping Beauty". Since we only have one television (the other one went kaput shortly after Joel left, of course, and the little DVD player bit the dust long ago) I have seen it three times since yesterday afternoon. I normally try to limit the amount of time she watches T.V. but I was being lazy. Anyway, since I have been forced to listen to the three fairies bicker and Aurora Rose pine for her prince so many times it has set my mind to wandering. I was really contemplating the part where Rose is "cursed" by the wicked queen. Right away the little blue fairy counteracts the curse by bestowing a promise on the baby that instead of dying on her 16th birthday she would merely sleep until awakened by her true love's kiss. Okay, we are all familiar with that part. But what confounded me is why did her father still insist on burning all the spinning wheels? Also, why was it necessary to sweep Rose away from her parents into hiding? Didn't they believe in the blue fairy's power? Hadn't she shown it before? If I was her parents I would have spent a lot more time trying to find her true love then trying to hide her from the evil witch. He was the one who would save her, she couldn't get away from the dying part, really. Rose's life had already been promised to be kept safe, right?

Then I had a sudden realization (caution: it gets a bit scary because I start making spiritual approximations!). Isn't that exactly what we do to God? He shows us His power all the time, and He is perfect in His strength and might (or so we say). Yet, He makes us promises and we go around trying to secure them on our own, under the guise that we are being careful, or "realistic", moves that are usually highly lauded by friends and family. I mean look at Abraham. He had been promised a son, by the same God who "cut the covenant" with him. Yet, he still tried to force the issue by having a child with Hagar, with Sarah's approval! Look at all the trouble that got him into! The same with poor Sleeping Beauty. Not only was she separated from her parents for 16 years, but she still had to suffer from the curse, but was also saved by the promise. Wouldn't things have been easier if she had just trusted the promise and lived her life gracefully and fully, not fearfully and in hiding?

Whoa! There I am again. Not believing that He "works all things for my good" that He has a "future and a plan" for me, not trusting that He "is with me always". He has given me much greater promise, my salvation and eternal place in heaven. Why then do I live this life, such a tiny portion of the bigger picture, so afraid? Why do I try to take care of myself when I have a Perfect Provider?

Lord, I want to live my life secure in your promises. I don't want to try to feebly circumvent bad things when You have the power to turn what is bad into something good.Please forgive me for the times I have tried to do what only You can. Thank You for being the most Powerful, Perfect God. Thank you for loving me even when I have such puny faith. Guide me in Your way and teach me.

I am so glad that Jesus loves me! I am thankful He can take anything the evil one throws at me and turn it into good. I am also thankful for Josie and her love for good triumphing over evil. Although, I do think this is the last time we will watch "Sleeping Beauty" today, no matter the spiritual significance!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Discipline...Or Lack Thereof

Okay, so I think that any day that goes really well and is filled with spiritual revelations must be immediately followed by a day that makes you want to pull all your hair (or perhaps your 2, almost 3 year-old's) out by the roots! Today made Thursday seem like a dream! We experienced the mother of all Target meltdowns today. I am talking tears, screaming, unkind words, threats and staring (from the poor shoppers forced to witness the terror). The whole experience was one of those that has been niggling at me all day like popcorn stuck in my teeth. What did I do wrong?

The day actually started pretty well (should I start taking that as a sign?). We had lunch and then went to Target. I had to go back because the other day we accidentally removed an item from the store that we hadn't paid for (yes, you can read that "stolen" because we took it, albeit unintentionally). Sooo, I got frustrated as soon as we got out because Josie had taken her shoes off. It only took us 5 minutes to get there-why did she take off her socks and shoes? Definitely just to vex me. Anyway, we got in the store. There were great deals everywhere! All the school/college clearance was 75% off. I am getting pretty excited when I discover Josie had removed her shoes (and of course her socks) AGAIN! Not happy, Bob, not happy. In the process of replacing them (actually yelling at her to do so) I find a book from Ross that is (cue drums) not paid for! You've got to be kidding me! I am certain at some point I am going to be arrested. You can only be allowed so many of these "mistakes" before someone assumes that you are just lying. At this point Josie is crying, Carson is crying (of course all pacifiers are safe-in Josie's purse because isn't that where they belong-in the car!) and I am about to cry. Issuing threats between clenched teeth, we go back to school supplies. At some point while deciding between lunchboxes for $2.98 Josie loses it. Weeping and gnashing of teeth ensue. So much for $7 backpacks and $5 lamps-we are headed at the door, all of us wailing the whole way. The clerk had the audacity to tell me , "Have a nice day!" Could she not see that I was on the edge of violence? Every tearful Picker loaded in the truck and Josie starts mumbling through her tears. I unkindly bite out, "What is wrong, now?!" Then I realize she is saying the dreaded phrase, "I want my daddy!" I was crushed. He is always the disciplinarian, I am the comforter. What did I do?

I apologize, she apologizes and we head to another Target (okay, I am a glutton for punishment, but also a sucker for a sale!). We successfully navigate the 2nd Target (good deals had all around). But I am still reeling. I prayed, I know the Lord knows our hearts. I just kept replaying the drama. Somehow, I feel like Josie's behavior can be excused, but I am an adult. I did not maintain self-control, so how can I expect her to? I remembered (too late this time) Dr. Dobson's sage advice to apply disciplinary action "anywhere along the timeline that it is convenient for you, the closer it moves to the front of the conflict, the better." Thankfully, I will have another chance to remember that I am the mom. I do not have to cower in the face of a toddler tantrum. I can be forgiven, and victorious. Here's to next time!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gathering Grace

There is something that has been a recurring theme this week for me: manna. First, I studied it in my Beth Moore study and then we discussed it in Awana on Thursday. Really though, it was more about the gathering. The Lord instructed the Israelites to gather the manna every morning (except for Friday when they gathered twice as much so they wouldn't have to gather on the Sabbath). He did this because He wanted to teach them that He would provide for them every day, as long as they trusted Him. Beth correlated this to the scripture in Lamentations that talks about His "mercies are new every morning". The Lord provides enough grace, like manna, for everyday; my only job is to gather and not be greedy!

What a revelation! I do not ever have to fear that a situation will be too tough for me to handle! I can forget about yesterday and not think about tomorrow. I just need to gather the grace for today, and there is always just enough. No matter how much the Israelites gathered there was always the perfect amount for everyone. I think what struck me the most is that I try to store grace. Doesn't work, it gets moldy and maggoty! I mean, when I try to do all my week's Bible study in one day, or only worship on Sundays. It won't last! It's good for that day, but the next day I have to have more. God doesn't do this to demand my dependence, He just wants to grow my faith. I show my faith by simply taking what I need. It is very exciting to know that I only have to live in today. I am always trying to worry about tomorrow, but now I know that tomorrow's grace is right where it needs to be: in tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Crazy Cat Lady

So, just if you thought my life was perfect (in which case I will know you have not read any of my other posts) I had one of those days. It did not start out as one of those days, but it definitely turned into one! I had things pretty well together. I had a lunch date that got cancelled, but that was okay because I always have a to-do list a mile long. So, I did all right this morning. Josie had a really yucky accident in her big girl panties, and she spilled cereal all over the floor and she cut a piece of paper in a million pieces but unfortunately those are normal occurrences in our house. So, we made lunch and Josie went upstairs to take a nap (yeah right, that sooo didn't happen).

Anyhoo, to wind up my long story, we are getting all ready for Awana. Josie's ready, I'm ready, Carson is in his car seat (hey, when you are bald and 5 months you are always ready). Then I realize I need to make up a little project in case I have extra time during Handbook session. That's where the kids recite their verses in case you didn't know and sometimes you need a little filler. Anyway, I found this great site where all you have to do is enter words and it creates puzzles. I think , "perfect, this will take exactly 60 seconds". That is when tragedy struck. Okay, so maybe I am being a little melodramatic, but you don't know, you weren't here! Josie is really into opening doors lately, and she is absolutely obsessed with propping open the screen door. So she is standing in the door and I am furiously typing when she comes over and says, "There's my kitty, in the house." And I am nodding, not paying attention, and she says, "My kitty went upstairs." Fortunately, then I look at her and realize that I should be paying attention. I try to interpret her bizarre 2 1/2 year old speech (see previous post) and finally I say what any good mom would say, "I will go look for your kitty upstairs". I am thinking maybe a stuffed animal, possibly an imaginary friend, when it hits me that it is probably this same gray stray that got in our truck the other day when I was loading the kids. Then I got a little panicked. I mean, who knows what this animal is carrying around? With thoughts of fleas, ticks and rabies dancing in my head I start looking everywhere. Sure enough, sitting at the top of the stairs and acting as if it owned the place, is the same cat. I am NOT an animal person, so I chase the cat down the stairs, through the living room, through the kitchen, back upstairs into the bathroom, Josie's room and back down the stairs. I finally chase it outside and I am racing back in the house, when the cat (who is obviously faster than I am) flies past me BACK INTO THE HOUSE! I grab the broom, do it all over again. The old adage of catching more flies with honey enters my brain and I grab a piece of lunch meat (anyone who knows anything about cats is probably laughing at me by now, but I did my best!).That doesn't work either! I finally grab the stupid thing by the neck (did I mention that I am not an animal person?) I haul the cat down the stairs (I suppose I should be thankful it didn't scratch/bite/infect me with a dreaded disease) and yell to Josie, "Shut the door as fast as you can as soon as Mommy gets the kitty outside!"

Success! I walk back around our building, because I didn't want to risk letting it back in. I get to the back door and Josie is holding my cell and announces, "Your phone is ringing!" That's right! My deployed husband called in the 2 minutes I was outside! Sometimes it seems if it weren't for bad luck I wouldn't have any! I am still trying at this moment to remember to give thanks in all circumstances. I suppose I can be thankful there weren't 2 cats!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Schedules Are For Losers!

I have decided that if something doesn't work for you the best approach is to...just make fun of it! I am kidding, of course, but still it seems that the mysterious, elusive group of people known as "everyone" gets the magical "everything" done on time and in order, and I just can't. Yes, yes I know this is false. However, if anyone says that they don't get trapped by the grass-is-greener mindset at least once in a while, I will know for certain they are lying! I started this blog and promised myself that I would post this great schedule I had planned and carefully wrote out as soon as I had followed it for 2 weeks consecutively. Ha! Hasn't happened yet-at some point perhaps, but certainly not today. I barely made sure all of the dishes that had been sitting in the sink since Sunday (wow! I am embarrassed to admit that, but in a way it is very freeing to be honest!) got washed. I refolded a load of laundry that would not have gotten un-folded if I hadn't left it sitting in the middle of the living room. I changed my toddler-twice-because she has given up on potty-training. I washed a load of whites that had been begging for my attention, that I just now remembered needs to go in the dryer. Since I started writing this I have stopped SIX times to attend to Jocelyn. By the way, I have decided that English is obviously not her native language because my endless pleading to "Go play", "Go to bed" or just flat out "Go away" have been met with blank-eyed stares. All this said, I am not blaming the fact that my carefully laid out plans have been cast by the wayside on anyone but myself. However, I do think that my brain is so used to functioning in just-barely-getting-by mode that it refuses to acknowledge there is another way to live. I am sure with a lot of hard work and dedication I can reprogram it. However, since I need to blog and finish watching "House" the schedule will have to wait until tomorrow! :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Carbon Copies

I love reading other people's blogs. The problem is that I have to resist the urge to duplicate everyone else. I am looking at everyone's blogs and thinking I should plan menus, organize my house and lose weight! While I probably should do all those things I have to remember to do them in a way that will honor the Lord and work for my family. I need to use others' ideas as inspiration, not for imitation. I do some fun things all on my own! I recently put out all my fall decor and was thoroughly pleased with the results of covering my tiny "dollhouse" dining room table with orange gingham fabric. I also filled a glass pumpkin with dish washing tabs! (Don't ask me why I always put my tabs in a decorative container on my windowsill. It just provides me pleasure, good enough reason, right?) Besides, I figured I may as well have fun since I will be spending the holidays with my parents and will miss out on Christmas decorations. Yet another year in storage! Oh well, part of being a military wife. Anyway, back to my earlier thoughts. When we all do things differently it gives us an opportunity to appreciate others' creativity and skills. Inside I realize I am glad we are not all the same-no carbon copies here!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ready, Set, Memorize!

I felt compelled to post something new, because I felt silly having that last post as my top one. I am so excited about Awanas. I am the leader of the "Yellow" group, and I have 5 great 5th-7th graders in my group. I have challenged myself to follow their book and I want to learn the Scriptures with them. I am really daunted by how much they have to memorize! It is sometimes as many as 7-8 verses a week. I really feel that the Lord has provided this as a way to answer my prayer about committing more of His word to memory. However, my brain is not nearly as spry as that of a 13 year-old! I am also so eager to be able to share the treasures of the Word with these kids. So many of them are not from Christian homes and this is a fantastic way to spread the Gospel to not just the kids, but also their families. I will keep it updated as to whether or not I am upholding my end of the bargain!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Down with booties!

I have decided that for the moment I am going to indulge in being extremely shallow. I have a new rant in life-booties. I am not talking about cute, fluffy blue and pink knitted socks for infants either. I am talking about the latest, horrid evil trend. Those awful lace-up, bow-bedecked, high heeled monstrosities. I hope that trend fades faster than Tickle-Me Elmo! Why in the world would you want to wear a shoe that looks like it was produced from an affair between a hiking boot and a stiletto? What is WRONG with these people?! And nothing is more heinous than a peep-toe booty. Absolutely just the ugliest thing since homemade sin as my mother would say. They are actually uglier than the stupid gladiator style sandal that was all the rage this summer. (Although I wouldn't wear a pair of those if someone paid me... well, okay, maybe if it was a LOT of money). Where do the fashion people come up with this stuff? I sincerely think they have their board meetings and once a season they pick an item to prank the whole planet with. I can just hear the conversation... "So Bob, the world took to leg-warmers like ducks to water, how about this fall we set up ugly half-boot-half-heel-no-cuteness-anywhere booties as the hot new item?" "That's hilarious Jim! That will be a great way to use up all the laces from the children's shoes we didn't sell and no one will guess it is all a huge joke!" Wake up people, whoever said Crocs were the ugliest fashion-trend ever has forgotten about Uggs (doesn't the name say it all?) and has never seen the new booty! Down with the booty!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I am tired of inferiority. I have a complex and it is time to do away with it. I just have to believe that the Lord did not create me as a lesser person. I am constantly comparing myself to everyone I know and I am tired of it. I am also sure that everyone who knows me wishes I would quit talking about all the things that I wish I was. I am going to focus instead on what I already am and what I know God wants me to be. Therefore, in the spirit of appreciating what I already have I am going to brag on myself. Lisa Dawn (my very wise younger sister) informed that constantly going around deriding all my accomplishments and talents is not honoring to God. It is a false humility that seeks compliments and is not advantageous to anyone. Instead, know that as the song says "You make everything glorious, and I am Yours... so what does that make me?" Well the obvious answer is GLORIOUS! That is an exciting thought. So here it is... a list of things I think I do well. Don't laugh!
1. I organize clothes well.
2. I do a really thorough bathroom cleaning!
3. I really love my kids...even if I do allow my toddler to live on chicken nuggets. :)
4. I am always willing to help my family and friends.
5. I am honest about small things (I always give money back to cashiers!)
6. I am extremely passionate (can also be a negative, but we won't talk about that!)
7. I am very loyal.
8. I truly love the Lord and am very committed to trying to become more like Him.
9. I am always eager to get involved.
10. I make a mean Rice Krispy Treat.
11. I can be very thoughtful.
12. I write nice thank-you notes.

This is not a complete list, and I know it looks like I am filling out a profile for Sometimes though I just think that it is okay to step back and tell ourselves that God doesn't make mistakes so we need to rejoice in the things we do well. We don't have to brag, but we don't have to constantly downplay our attributes and belittle ourselves. As another song says, "Thank You God for making me, ME!"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Busy Bees

What a crazy week! I am really enjoying being busy, it has helped to keep the loneliness at bay, but it has only been 3 days. I started a Beth Moore Bible study at PWOC (A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place), Josie started AWANA on Thursday and our Moments for Moms group started today. I am particularly excited about AWANA because Josie is a Puggle! For some reason I just think that is the cutest thing. I also volunteered to help with the Trek group, the middle-schoolers. I am really in prayer about them, from what I can tell there are a lot of unbelievers. Since the program is offered at the chapel on post there are so many opportunities to reach people, and these kids are so precious.
I am also really excited about the Beth Moore study, but I have been really lax about getting started. I am convicted at this very moment to get started on it so I will have to wrap this up. I have some mixed feelings about the study at church. Time will tell if we are able to work out the kinks. We are changing a lot of things from what we did last year and I think that is making things seem a little strange to me. Oh well, 2 out of 3 is not bad! Besides it was only the first meeting so I am sure it will only get better...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Love, Loneliness and Retail Therapy

It's hard to believe it has been over a week since I last posted anything. Joel left this morning. It is hard to know how I feel, it is still so recent. I do know that I had to go fetch milk from the convenience store this evening and it almost made me cry. He is so great to do things like that. Probably what made me most sad is that when he does things like that he always brings me a "happy", mainly delicious Hershey's Truffle Kisses. I love those stupid things! I also absolutely hate going out at night and I was mad at myself for forgetting to get the milk while I was out earlier. I also really missed him when Josie made a big mess earlier and he was here to help me. I am sure that is how the whole time he is gone will go. However, I have made a decision to not just survive this year, but to be victorious. I don't want to be a couch potato, listlessly waiting for him to come revive me. I know that would not honor the Lord. Instead I really want this to be a time for me to learn to completely rely on the Lord. I know that strengthening my relationship with Him will only better my relationship with Joel.
On the other hand, I did decide after I went to two different Kohl's today that there is always a silver lining. He hates Kohl's and I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty about devoting plenty of time to each sale rack since he wasn't out in the truck impatiently waiting! I found several great tops for $4 or less and also got Carson some cute things for next summer. Never discount the benefits of retail therapy!


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