Easter surprise… not really 

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I am an emotional person. Shocker.  I know.  I tend to be drawn to movies and shows with a lot of drama,  melodrama, and even the occasional bit of angst. As long as the characters are well rounded I’m engaged.  I believe in experiencing the full spectrum of emotion.  

A lot of people I know only want to feel the good while others get stuck and can’t move past the bad.  I have had a fortunate and blessed life so far. I would consider it mostly good. But I have most defiantly had my share of pain,  destruction,  drama,  and yes,  angst.  I’m alive.

As long as I’m sucking wind I will continue to feel weather I like it or not. That is why I have chosen to look my fears and pain in the face, to see past them to the beauty that hides,  very well sometimes, in everything. God can make anything beautiful.  Of course one of my favorite songs is Better than a Hallelujah by Amy Grant . “We pour out our misery, God just hears a melody. Beautiful the mess we are.  The honest cries of breaking hearts,  are better than a Hallelujah.” 

Who says we must be perfect and put together all the time?  Who says broken can’t be beautiful in its own right? The trials we face, the obstacles we overcome build us into better people if we let them. If you look for the worst in people you’ll find it, every time.  The same is true for goodness and beauty. God made everything beautiful but sometimes you have to go looking for it. Isn’t that the whole point of Easter?  The most perfect person ever chose to die a horrible death then trumped death to give us life.  Beautiful. 

Adulting

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Having a child doesn’t make you a parent any more than having sex makes you a man or real woman. It’s everything that comes after that matters.  Being an adult is learning to take care of others and do things you may not want to to do what you have to. Real love is a marathon not a sprint.  

Our society is more into instant gratification than long term commitment.  Having sex may seem like a small act but it can end up with a long term commitment.  Some people keep the child but are unprepared for parenthood. Being a parent is hard. I also believe it is more rewarding than taxing but then again I wanted to be a parent.  Loving a child means more than keeping one alive. 

What am I driving at? Be more than a warm body for the ones you love, especially your kids.  Some days that is difficult. I have a very active 2 year old.  Some days I get home from work and all I can do is sit next to her while she plays. Then the next day I’m freezing my butt off because I know she wants to play outside even though the weather is less than favorable. I may not always be the best parent but I try and I just try to be there for her for whatever she needs. 

Love and Green Grass

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The grass may be greener on the other side but their water bill is higher. Your grass can be greener if you choose to water it, to put in the effort and resources. Marriage takes work. All relationships do.  We are socially conditioned to see love a certain way. All chocolate and roses, romantic getaways and sex whenever you want it. However, real life tends to disagree and alter this perception.

Real life and real love gets messy. It’s frustrating and hard and painful. But it is also one of the greatest sources of safety, support, comfort, and joy. Love is a complicated thing. It may be easy to fall in love just as it may be easy to buy a car however we all know how much work and money goes into the upkeep of our prized vehicles. Relationships take work to maintain but they are well worth the effort.

It is easy to look at what others have and think I want that. But how often do we think about the cost of what they have. I don’t know if I can make this point clear enough, strong enough. Relationships and real love take work. If it’s all easy all the time I’d be looking for the storm coming. Unpleasant things such as arguments and rough patches give us the tools and the strength to weather the bigger storms life throws our way. It also builds a sense of confidence that your partner and you can survive anything as long as you work together. God made us relational people for a reason. We are stronger together than alone. Be strong. God bless.

The Little Things

They say it’s the little things in life that can mean the most.  The little things that are the easiest to ignore, to skip over. How many messes have been created from ignoring the little things?  Socks on the floor,  dishes in the sink,  words unsaid. 

We are tired or busy so we don’t do what we know we should even though it’s easy and will only take a few minutes.  Then things pile up. It takes so much more effort and time to clean up the things we ignored. Then we miss out on little moments because we are worrying about messes we could have avoided. 

Take a few minutes today to pick up the blocks,  or the socks, or the dishes and use the time you just saved to enjoy the people around you.  They will notice. 

Happy New Year

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Happy New Year! 2016 had some good points: My brother got married and I gained a sister, my daughter’s first interactive trip to the zoo, teaching her how to bake Christmas cookies. It also had some rough points: My husband’s back surgery, job changes, the election, need I say more? Whether it was a good year for you or a rough one I hope 2017 is going to be better.

A new year always brings new hope and new challenges. This year, a new president. My followers know I don’t do change well even when necessary. I know I’m supposed to be anxious for nothing because God is in control no matter who is in office but I can’t help but hope my hoping isn’t in vain. We need a change in this country desperately; I just don’t trust politicians. We, as a people, need to get our act together, start taking responsibility for our own actions and the needs of our neighbors and stop looking to some elected figurehead to solve everything for us. This backseat approach is what has gotten us into the trouble we are in now. Of course, if we take responsibility then we must accept blame when we fail and heaven forbid.

I’ll admit I’m just as bad as anyone. I’d rather curl up on my sofa watching Netflix and pretend the world isn’t going to hell, to say why worry about what you can’t change? But then where does that line lie? What can I change? I can’t change other people but I can change myself, my reaction or inaction. I can take responsibility for my little part of the country and hope that God will take care of the rest and others will do the same.

Something Good

​When it comes to the news, sometimes I feel like Gale from the Hunger Games. What if we all stopped watching? I know, not going to happen. But if everyone stopped watching maybe the news would change. Instead of turning on the tv to see who died today maybe we’d see doctors healing children or neighbors pulling together to help each other. Bad news spreads quickly. There will always be bad news but why can’t we spread good news to chase it. Maybe then we can have copycats who leave checks in mailboxes and food on doorsteps. If only the squeaky wheel gets the attention the machine will fail. We need preventative maintenance for the media.  People need to be reminded how the machine is supposed to work, how humanity is supposed to look not how it is failing. Get creative. Fear isn’t the only thing that sells.

Do something good today then spread it around. 

Scary

​This week I attempted something I haven’t tried in a while. I attempted to fix my car. Between God and YouTube I figured out how to replace the fuel filter. The scary part was actually doing it. I was terrified of taking a gas bath but I did everything right and it only trickled out.

I was pretty proud of myself. I test drove it and it worked perfectly…for 15 minutes. Even if I didn’t fix the problem, by the look of the old filter, it still needed to be done. The big lesson here is that the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” applies to auto mechanics. Ask God to help you do something scary today.

Hard Work

​What does being an adult mean? I’m pretty sure it means taking the extra effort to work two jobs even though you hate one so much you fantasize about quitting. But honestly, it isn’t that bad. Sure it could be better but I can acknowledge that they are working with me and making exceptions to keep me. Sometimes we have to put up and shut up because even as bad as it seems it is driving us where we want to go. Life takes hard work and sacrifice and it is rarely fair but I can enjoy it when I’m thrown a bone. Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else Now so later you can live like no one else.” One day I will look back at years of toil and mistakes and say, it was worth it. Hard work now will give us a chance for a better life later and a chance to teach our daughter what it’s rewards are.

God Help Me

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​How can my daughter be so little and so big at the same time? I watch her sleep all curled up in her crib still small enough to fit sideways. But then I think about how much she can say and do. How do I let her grow and flourish when I wish she could stay little like this longer?

I constantly fight off panic as a parent. Nothing good ever comes of panic. She’s innocent and helpless. The choices I make can affect her. My mistakes can affect her even though she had nothing to do with them. Little things can spiral out of control. But while my fears may be legitimate I can’t be ruled by them.

We are human. We make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make us bad people but we need to own them not try to hide them. That is where things get messy. Our children can learn from our mistakes and hopefully avoid them or they can feel inferior to parents busy hiding their flaws.

I’m a people pleaser. I worry to much about what people think. Every mistake I make feels like failure. But I can’t let it define me. Let it go. Learn from it. And hope for the best. God has a good plan for my life and a few mistakes won’t stop him. He knows I’m flawed. I’m sure he prepared for it. 

I know I’m going on and on about mistakes. I tend to get stuck in a loop of past actions. I over analyze making minor things into major ones. But I will leave you with one more thought. When we get sick  it’s because our immune system failed. However, many illnesses you can only catch once because the body compensates. Antibodies strengthen the body against the failure so you won’t get sick again. I like to treat mistakes this way. Yeah, I fail from time to time but it makes me more vigilant and more compassionate. It makes me a better person and hopefully a better parent. God help me.

The Return of…

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Mike has finally gone back to work which is great. Now we just need to readjust to opposing work schedules and intentionally make time for each other. When Corinne is awake it is all about her but when she’s asleep even if we are doing our own stuff in the same room it’s nice to be together. And we will still have a day or two off together during the week. We made it before we will make it work again.

With his income back and a little extra from my two jobs I’m hoping with a little discipline we can undo the financial damage over the next year. We need to get back on track and back to our lives and goals. Mathematically the last four months shouldn’t have worked out as well as they did but our family and friends really stepped up to support us. And God did some weird things with math too.  He really provided what we needed even if it wasn’t how we expected it.

My desperation is fading quickly as I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take heart. God doesn’t love me any more than anyone else. If He carried us through this, He will get you through your struggles too if you trust Him and follow His lead. That is the scary part but it is always worth it in the end.