Thursday, July 31, 2008

And the Oscar Goes To.....

Okay, not really an Oscar, but perhaps a small award of some kind for posting twelve whole times this month. This whole "rearranging of my schedule and shuffling of my priorities" thing is paying off. I'm all "woo hoo...I finally have time to write and pursue my passions!" If you find that you do not have time to live from your heart rather than from your to-do-list, I recommend you do some soul-searching and find yourself again. It is a beautiferous discovery! (why, yes, I did just make up a new word). Is there an award for that, too??


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Today I was reading a Tim Sanders blog about the amount of paper we waste in America. Sanders has become very earth-conscious and, while I am sure I should be too, I'm just not right now. I am more preoccupied with things like what my three sons are doing with our power tools in the front yard and why one of them is running in to get the camera. I digress. Sanders discussed the extra junk (ads, coupons, legal notices) that is found on the pages we are printing from websites, causing us to waste unnecessary amounts of paper and thus our natural resources. Please forgive me as I wax philosophical for a moment, but I couldn't help thinking of our lives which, like those pages, are so often crowded with extra stuff that means little to us and wastes our personal resources (time, energy, money, did I mention time?). Maybe we should work on shaping our lives into the more "printer-friendly" version, streamlined and focused and clutter-free. I am really trying to do this so that I can live big yet focused, significant yet simple that I might be free from busyness and, ultimately, regret.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don't Stop at Two...

For those of you who do not know me, I have three sons. Yep, that's right, the clowns you see here are my spawn, but I am not singularly responsible for this genetic blend of intelligence and raw humor that you see depicted. My husband is partly to blame. All three of our boys are highly intelligent, I promise, but what is most outstanding to me is their simply defining senses of humor. While other people skim through life with a smile here and there, my husband and I pretty much belly laugh down the highway of life.

Of particular interest today is my youngest son who gave his analysis of women with tattoos over breakfast this morning. It seems that, and I quote, " women shouldn't get tattoos on their chests because they will sag one day and that is just disturbing."

There you have it folks...straight from the mouth of Jonathan. Please do not stop reproducing if you only have two children. I can almost promise you that your third child will be a near-perfect blend of poetry and complete and utter lack of self-control. You may question your own sanity, but you will not be bored.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Where's the Beef?

Mondays are our day off and today we took our three boys to The Conestoga in downtown Alachua, Florida. If you have never eaten there, let me just say that it is the place to go for man food. Chick food includes chicken salad on delicate croissants and fruit salad and scones. Man food includes all things beefy and oversized and it comes with a side of Tums. The monstrosity you see here is the Main Street Monster Burger and it weighs in at 48 ounces. The guy at the table next to ours was feeling brave and gluttonous, much to our delight, and I was especially happy when he let me take a picture of his mega-dinner before he dove into it.

It was a beefy, happy sort of day with all of my men. Hope your next day off is big and beefy, too!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Out of the Hothouse

For many years I have been thinking about church. It seems odd to me that we create hothouses (we call them ministries) within the walls of the modern American church building where we conduct all manner of programs designed to " bring people in" so that we can "reach them with the Gospel". I honestly cannot find any examples of this particular behavior anywhere in the Bible. I know that someone will read this and pray that I will be suddenly struck by lightening, but I have to say this.

The passage in Luke 14 where Jesus talks about the master who speaks to his slave to 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled", this speaks of an invitation to come to Christ, not to a bible study or pancake breakfast. Now, I am not against pancake breakfasts or bible studies. But we tell the 98% of the average church, who are not called to vocational ministry, to find their place of fulfillment within our "hothouse programs" that have precious little to do with their destiny in Christ. There are so many who are called to the marketplace to fulfill their destiny and, instead of helping to equip them and encourage them in that, we emasculate them by making them feel that if they are not helping us fulfill our dreams within the four walls of the church, well, they are somehow falling short of their potential in Christ.

I remember talking with a business woman once who felt condemnation from the women in her church because she was not active in the ladies ministry. Never mind that she was giving herself, as God was leading her, to the women connected to her business who might not have been confronted with the love of God if it weren't for her willingness to be used mightily by God in her "marketplace ministry". I applauded her obedience and told her to ignore the yapping dogs.

I know that God loves His church and so do I. I do not pretend to have all of the answers to the problems in the American church. I am also not just a critic who has no answers. There is much that the church does well and I want to be a part of the solutions to what needs work. I do believe this though-we in the church should rip the roofs off of the hothouses and send people out to do whatever they were born and destined to do. We should applaud peoples' tenacious obedience and encourage them to ignore life's critics. Jesus spent His time out where ministry grows the streets and the marketplace and people's homes...not in a hothouse where things only grow under artificial conditions and out of season.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jobs I've Had

-Retrieving straight pins off of the floor at Churchwells' Department Store (my grandmother paid me a penny per pin while she shopped)
-Babysitter (beginning at age 11 until, well, now)
-Lawn maintenance (the summer between 11th & 12th grade...I lifted my mower in and out of the trunk of my grandmother's old, blue Nova a thousand times and I had a great tan)
-Alligator Billy (yes, I dressed up in a huge alligator suit for the Clean Community Commission in Waycross, Georgia)
-Easter Bunny (once again, I dressed up in a huge bunny suit, small children screaming helplessly in my lap while having their picture made at the mall)
-Waitress (Golden Corral Steak House)
-Waitress (Shoneys...three days...couldn't memorize the menu)
-Jewelry sales (Great Southern Gold & Diamond Market...high quality jewelry, my friends)
-Used bookstore clerk (could things get any worse?)
-Christmas elf (at the Santa photo booth at the mall...will I ever graduate from college?)
-Nanny (I didn't know three-year-olds could pee in their pants so much)
-School teacher -3rd grade (thank God -I finished college!)
-Babysitter, again (call it regression, but I wanted to stay at home with my own kids)
-Conference speaker (great fun AND great pay...I could get used to that)
-Pastor (pays slightly better than babysitting)
-Writer (okay, no paycheck yet, but I wear the title proudly regardless)

You learn a lot about someone from the jobs they have held. Where has your path taken you and who are you now??


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Impossible

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying”, she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

The Queen’s words to Alice in Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass”

It seems to me that many have lost the capacity to believe. Most of those who serve in positions of governmental leadership don’t believe in all that the founding fathers laid down as our very foundation. In our society, we don’t even believe that humans can wait until marriage to be physically intimate; we have reduced the fabric of humanity to the stuff of which animals are made. Our urges control us and therefore we must give our children birth control to take the place of self-control. How have we arrived here? What happened to believing that we can be what we were created to be, the very image of the living God? That now being the fabric of our society, how can we then believe that we are capable of doing anything that does not appear naturally within our reach? Much of what God desires for us is too great, too impossible, and too far-reaching for our natural abilities and so we settle for what is base and minimal because it is all we think we can attain.

In his book, Sex God, Rob Bell says, “If your energies don’t go into a few, select disciplined pursuits that you are passionate about and are willing to give your life to, then they’ll dissipate into all sorts of urges and cravings that won’t even begin to bring the joy that the “one thing” could.” In America, we teach our children to grow up and make a living instead of making a life, to settle instead of search, to passively accept insignificant things rather than passionately pursue the “One Thing”.

We must not allow ourselves to be lulled by such small thinking. We must regularly remind ourselves that those things we allow to be buried deep within us by the cares of this world are the big, impossibilities that God actually wants for us. What about you? Are you believing impossible things? I have a half hour…I think I am going to get started.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Crack Anyone?

You know, everyone does crack. The question is, what is your crack? For some it is a five dollar cup of popular culture from Starbucks. For others it is some mind-numbing moments in front of the television because who doesn't need some "reality tv" at the end of your reality-filled day? For others it might be a quick trip through cyberspace or maybe just a nice nap. Me? Well, I like to unwind by doing just what I am doing right now. I love to write and, while I await the day that some publisher deems me worthy, I will be content to blog because at least that way I know that tens of people are reading what I write. It doesn't pay the bills yet but, oh, one fine day it will!

My second favorite crack is reading (if you are one of my tens of faithful readers, you already know this) and I usually get my daily fix of this"literary crack" at night. When taking a long trip in the car my crack of choice is original flavor Bubble Yum. I put a huge piece (or two) in my mouth and attempt to chew it and talk to my family while trying not to drool on myself. Dark chocolate is another provocative bit of crack in which I indulge on a regular basis, and by regular I do mean daily. Now, none of the things that I call "crack" and that I heartily endorse are dangerous or even particularly addictive. They just help me to enjoy my life a little more. This is perfectly alright. Sadly, I miss the time when spin class at 6:00 am was my crack. The only place I can now afford to exercise does not offer spin class and I do miss it because it made my daily "chocolate crack" habit less dangerous to my thighs.

None of this really matters in the grand scheme of things but I like to write about trivial things from time to time because, you guessed it, it relaxes me. And so I hope you enjoyed this little bit of "literary crack" need to search the sofa cushions for loose change or sell one of your children to pay for it. It's on me.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Run Away!!!

I read a quote recently that said, "If you don't find it in the index, look carefully through the entire catalogue." There are days when life is like that...the shortcuts and easiness are nowhere to be found and you must take the long way to everywhere. Why is that? On days like that I like to plug in the twinkle lights on my ficus, put in one of my favorite movies that I have already seen forty or fifty times and curl up into a ball on my sofa with my favorite pillow and completely ignore reality. Sometimes reality chases you down like the IRS or something and it hounds you until it gets what it wants from you. I got an e-mail recently that was filled with warnings about terrorism and the inevitability of future attacks here on our soil, and I wanted to throw my computer in the toilet. Don't misunderstand me, I am not condoning escapism as a way of life...we must live responsibly and do the things that are right, but don't most people want to run and hide sometimes? Is it really so bad? I think the best escapism is turning on worship music as loudly as you can stand it and getting lost in Him when all you feel is just lost. The truth is, He is reality-not all that we see and do each day, and so escaping into Him is what really living is all about. He gives us perspective, which is what is usually lacking when we want to escape, and He showers us with the grace that is needed to do what we must do.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Curiosity...What's That?

Today I was in a doctor's office examining room with my fifteen-year-old son. This was a dermatologist office so the chair in the examining room was most interesting. Every time that we go to this particular office, my son is overcome with an insatiable desire to play with all of the buttons on the chair to see how it works. It is as though he regresses back to age four when we enter the room and I always remind him that we lowly mortals are not allowed to touch buttons in doctor's offices...ever. Curiosity is a strange thing. For some it is a mildly passing notion that may or may not need to be embraced. For others, like me, it can be maddening and all-consuming, like an itch in the middle of your back that you will go to any length to scratch. My son is actually just like me. When I have the opportunity to go to Biltmore House in North Carolina, I am not nearly as interested in the hundreds of rooms I am allowed to walk through as I am the locked doors I cannot open and the dark, shadowy corridors that are roped off. I can't stand it!! I must know what is behind those doors and in those closets, and down those hallways! I have even asked employees there to just tell me what is lurking in the unseen places and they look at me as if lobsters were crawling out of my ears.
Why are some so very curious and why is curiousity said to kill the proverbial cat? And what of the first man and woman? Perhaps she was driven by the need to have what the serpent promised her- good eats and great wisdom. Had I been in her place, I would have had to fight off curiosity like a swarm of bees. I like to think that only the lure of great wisdom would have drawn me to disobedience, but I am simple and shallow and why deny it? I would have wanted to see what was behind door number three no matter how many other doors were opened to me. It is not that I want what I cannot have, I just want to see everything. But seeing everything is really not my job, it is God's job and sometimes I just need to be reminded of that. He has every right to choose for me...because I am His.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hope, Nests and Reggae

This time last year I posted a blog about nests. I wrote about my dying mother and the disappointment I was walking through at that time. Today I discovered another nest outside of our kitchen window and I was struck by the timing. I was telling a friend over lunch today that I am finally feeling like myself again and that, although I still have waves of grief wash over me (and I probably always will from time to time), I feel happy again and hopeful. I love life and I always have. Even when the road is difficult, I find this gift of life irresistible and I am profoundly thankful for it. So here I am, a year after the creation of the last nest, watching new life right outside my window. Hopefully these eggs will be left alone (hateful squirrels!) and I will get to see them hatch as my heart begins to feel life again. God has been "incubating" some dreams in a deep place in my heart and I am excited to watch and see what He will do and when He will bring it forth. I know it will be soon because you just know these things.
In two days Eddie and I head to Jamaica for a wedding and as I get to look out at the green blue of the Caribbean with the sound of reggae music in my ears, I will be thanking God for hope and life and new things being birthed in His time.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Silence Is Golden...Duct Tape Is Silver

Perhaps it has happened to you. You part your lips and open your mouth to speak and before you realize what has happened, you have not only put your foot in your mouth, but you can scratch your spleen with your big toe. For those of you who know me, you are probably laughing right now because you have seen me in action...maybe you have even been a helpless victim of my inability to edit myself. If you don't know me then let me just say that I am tons of fun at parties, but I wouldn't introduce me to any important relatives or friends that you are trying to impress. This past weekend I was on a road trip with my family and several close friends and I was perusing the new pictorial directory of a church that will remain nameless to protect the innocent (mainly me). I saw a photo of a woman that I found especially funny because of something that she undoubtedly found positively attractive the morning that she was dressing for her photo session, but that I was unable to resist making fun of in my latest moment of unguarded expression. Yes, that's right...she was the grandmother of one of my friends in the van. Oddly enough, I dissolved into fits of laughter when I should have been mortified and reverently silent after such a transgression. Inappropriate laughter is another entry on my long list of faults. My friend is a true friend and managed to forgive me, but I have to there any hope for my mouth? If only there were time delay like on live television and all of my horrible mistakes could be bleeped. I like to think that I am not mean but just overly descriptive. Who am I kidding? I should get a muzzle or maybe a nice roll of duct tape...