--We finally got the kinks worked out so that our oldest son could get his driver's license this week. And then the other night I watched him drive away for the first time. Really strange feeling...kind of like having your heart outside of your body.
--Fav quote of the week: "When I wake up in the morning, I just can't get started until I've had that first, piping hot pot of coffee. Oh, I've tried other enemas. " --Emo Philips
--We have our good friends, Clay and Karen Miller, spending some time with us for a few days and we are enjoying staying up late and catching up. I made them some homemade chocolate chip cookies and they were beyond nasty. Who knew that walnuts could spoil and taste like rotten fruit? FYI: smell your nuts before you dump them in the batter.
--"The Office" was a rerun last night. What is the world coming to? First an economic recession and now this. Reruns should only happen in the summer. And that's all I'm going to say about it.
--I have run out of thoughts...just been that kind of week. Have a lovely weekend bloggy friends!
Friday, January 30, 2009
--We finally got the kinks worked out so that our oldest son could get his driver's license this week. And then the other night I watched him drive away for the first time. Really strange feeling...kind of like having your heart outside of your body.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."
--Henry David Thoreau
The hot topic everywhere is the state of our economy and the overriding response from most people is fear. This is understandable. But it does not have to be. We learn in driver's ed class that we will navigate towards the object of our focus and it is true in every area of life. When the eyes of the heart are locked in on what is lacking, fear and dread are an inevitability. When pain looms front and center it becomes difficult to even breathe. The pregnant woman is taught that she should plan ahead to have a focal point when labor begins so that the pain will not overwhelm her and so that she can better control her breathing. And God has given us a focal point for the unavoidable pains of life...Philippians 4:6-9. Here is the Taylor paraphrase: "Do NOT be fearful, but rather talk to Me about your needs with a thankful heart and My peace will protect you. Dwell only on the good report."
While no one person can repair the economy, each of us can repair our response to the economy. I make light of hard things sometimes, such as in this post, because humor is how I cope. But most of us need to move past coping and start hoping. Coping hacks at the branches of fear while hoping strikes at the root. The passage in Philippians holds the key. What will you choose?
--become too paralyzed to pray
--resent what is lacking
--focus on the negative reports (and they are everywhere)
--tell God what you need and how you feel
--DAILY list what you do have and THANK HIM for it
--dwell on what is good and positive (especially in idle moments)
As for me? I will take "Resist Fear and Be Thankful" for five hundred, Alex.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Remember the commercials with the giant pitcher of Kool-aid that would come crashing through the walls, freaking out several generations of children? The kids in the commercial would become aware of their burning thirst that only Kool-Aid would quench and then they would call out "Hey Kool-Aid!!!!". And then the huge, red pitcher would come bursting onto the scene. I think every kid must have wondered if a giant pitcher stayed poised behind every wall just waiting to be called.
For some odd reason I was thinking about that when I was having my quiet time with God yesterday. Most of my life I have had that Kool-Aid faith where, after becoming aware of my "thirst", I would call out to God and then TOTALLY EXPECT Him to come running through the wall of obstacles in my life and bring whatever it is I need. Isaiah 30: 18, 19 says, "Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and He waits on high to have compassion on you. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you."
And yet at times I find myself fighting negative expectations as I sit, leaning against the wall of the latest obstacle, too discouraged to even cry out to Him. And I am ashamed. He "waits on high to have compassion on me." He "longs to be gracious to me". It is incomprehensible that God waits and longs for me. And you. And I want to never forget that. Ever.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
It occurred to me today that I am middle aged. By definition I suppose that this means I am at the halfway point of my life. If I live to be eighty or more, that is. So I was thinking how I would like to start planning my midlife crisis...you know, lose those extra pounds, drastically change my hair color, buy an expensive sports car (that only seats two) and plan a trip to Europe where I will frivolously roam the English county side, reading poetry and writing the great american novel while I consider if I want to sky dive or bungee jump on my next birthday.
And then it hit me. Even if I were serious I cannot afford my own midlife crises because of this inconvenient recession (or depression or whatever "ession" it really is) and the tiny little fact that we still haven't sold our home in Florida. Not to mention that this recent diversion in our life path has slowed our Dave Ramsey steps to financial freedom so technically, we have a few other goals to reach before I can start my midlife crisis. Not to worry. If, like my grandmother, I live to be ninety-three, then I have approximately six more years to get the party started and begin living recklessly. I hope our house sells soon...there is a black 370 Z with my name on it.
Monday, January 26, 2009
The search continues for a church home for our family. We had our second Sunday at church "B". Church "A" fell off the radar for a number of reasons, the most important being that we sensed it is not where God wants us. Church "B" has our attention and we are just listening for God's direction. I know that we could choose most any church and God would be fine with it, but I truly do believe in divine appointments with others and we want to connect with the body here in Columbus that will expedite His Kingdom plans.
Even as I write this, I know it sounds religious and I hate that but I don't have an "unreligious" way of expressing these thoughts. It still feels so strange to sit in the congregation and be a "church consumer". I don't want to be that. I want to be "planted" where He desires me and my family to be. A friend of ours who serves on a church staff told us that we are sausage-makers. He said that someone who has ever made sausage will never eat it. They know what goes into it. I see his point, especially now. We have pastored churches and we know what goes into it so we will never be satisfied to just "consume". But I don't want it to be true. And I don't ever want to just consume. I want to always be in the middle of "doing and being" the will of God. His grace has brought us to this point, when we pastored and when we didn't, and He will carry us on.
Friday, January 23, 2009
A little weekend bonus for the brave few who are popping by to see what is what. This is a little PG-13. So funny!
--Well, friends, there is a full-on shopping cart conspiracy of the worst kind. I recently went to the newly opened Super Walmart (there are three or four here in Columbus) and what happened? Yep, that's right....a broken buggy was just waiting for me at the door, cleverly disguised as a new buggy. What kind of new store has broken shopping carts?? And, people, it didn't just thumpety-thump along--oh NOOO!!! It also had a high-pitched squeak that made me want to shove my pen in my ears and puncture my own eardrums!
--On a positive note, I discovered that squeaky shopping carts are quieter if pushed really, really fast. And so I did. For those of you who know me, you know I was totally running down the last few aisles, throwing food in the cart, and looking over my shoulder for the shopping cart mafia, which I am convinced truly exists and follows me from town to town.
--I'm not gonna lie...I hate it when people sneeze in public without covering. Why must people spew their lung funk like a fire hydrant?? While I was in Walmart dodging the buggy mafia, I headed to health and beauty aids to get something to, well...make me beautiful. And what happened? A man sneezed not once but three times all down the aisle I needed to go down. My boys know me so well and they all just looked at me and laughed. So I did the only thing I could do...I held my breath, ran down the aisle, grabbed my face scrub and ran back to my broken down cart, gasping and sputtering for clean oxygen. These are perilous times, I tell ya!
--FYI: some of my silly questions about life in the White House posed here will actually be answered in this week's issue of People Magazine. And we all know what an incredibly informative and accurate publication that is. Get your copy today!
--And finally, I am pretty sure that my whole neighborhood is in a time warp. My neighbor across the street still has Santa hanging on the front door and two doors down, there are pumpkins on the front porch. I gotta, run...gotta help the boys get the Easter eggs colored...
Thursday, January 22, 2009
And that is why I am thinking of buying a Snuggie. It just isn't right that my power bill is through the roof but I am still turning into a Bethcicle. If only it came with a hood then I could be snuggly, wuggly warm AND look like a member of some secret society of social misfits. If you order right now, they will double your order AND throw in this nice, leather sofa. But call now...supplies are limited! (some restrictions apply-void where prohibited)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
In honor of yesterday's inaugural festivities, I present the following thought-provoking questions about life in the White House...
1. Who washes their underwear? Do total strangers wash the dirty underwear of the President and First Lady?
2. If they want to order a pizza, to which door (there's like a million of them) do they send the Domino's guy? Should he tip the guy extra? He is the President, after all.
3. Who house-trains the new Presidential puppy? Is there an aid in charge of pooper-scooping?
4. What if the President or First Lady needs something "unmentionable" from the drugstore...who gets it for them?
5. If the President and First Lady have a nasty tiff, can one of them sleep in the Lincoln bedroom to "cool off"?
6. Who brings the snacks to the Cabinet meetings? Do they just take turns or is there a sign up sheet? And do they ever play Texas Hold'em when things get tense, you know, just to blow off a little steam?
7. If the President's child spills Koolaid on the rug in the Oval Office, who pays to have it replaced? Or does the Pres. keep some Resolve in a drawer in the Resolute desk?
8. Who shops for the First Family's toiletries? Is there someone who gets paid for shopping for the President's Rightguard and, if so, does this position come with health insurance and retirement benefits?
9. Will the First Family have to take their own movie rentals back to Blockbuster or will Vice Pres. Biden do it? (It's not like the VP has anything better to do...sheesh)
10. When the President's children have a sleepover, can the children play hide and seek in the China Room and are they allowed to slide down the banister of the Grand Staircase?
America is dying to know!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"God calls us throughout our life to severe grace, the grace of the cocoon. We are called to separate from the old, to die in order to be reborn. If we open ourselves to this severe grace, we encounter God in new places: in the cyclone, in the dark, in the crisis that shatters our old confining consciousness. It is this severity that makes us new."
-Sue Monk Kidd
When I was six, my grandfather took my brother and me to the local carnival where the rides are put together in a store parking lot in just a matter of hours and you wonder who in their right mind would really get on one of them. My brother chose the "Spider" which was a ride that went around and around while the bucket seats at the end of each spider leg would spin. And spin. And spin. I do not like to spin. This was the moment in my young life when this revelation came to me. The ride began and thus began my screaming. I screamed for the entire duration, begging the man running the ride to PLEASE LET ME OFF!!! He did not and it was then that I realized that there are consequences for the choices you make in life.
Fast forward thirty-four years and there you find me on another of life's rides that seemed safe, nonthreathening, benign even from the ground but once strapped in and the motion began, then came the moment of yet another fit of screaming. "I want to encounter you in familiar places, GOD!!!!!!!!!!" "You tricked me!!!!!" "I am not talking to YOU anymore, and I mean it!"
What? You don't talk to God like that? I know, it is irreverent, but I just figure that He knows what I think so I might as well get it all out there. He has never minded my honesty. It is I who mind His. Sometimes. And yet this past weekend I was thankful for His honesty as I stilled myself long enough to hear Him talking to me. And this is what I discovered. I don't really understand the love of God. I had thought that, to some degree, I did. I was wrong. As He "shatters my old, confining consciousness", I am finding that He plans to make me new, yet again. I don't know what this means this time. But I will surely keep you posted.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I have learned in the past three months or so that when circumstances are completely out of my control and a little frightening, I can sometimes get a little ugly. I am not proud of this and I wish like anything that I could report a different story but it is just true. I am a quick repenter, which has come in pretty handy lately, but I would much rather just have self-control, or, better yet, NOT LET STUFF BOTHER ME!!
I have a great aunt for whom I am named and I have just always loved her to pieces. Aunt Elizabeth (who is now ninety!) has the ability to laugh at life in the most contagious way and you can't help but laugh with her. Everything for her is always an adventure. My grandmother used to tell me the story of the time she was on a road trip with Aunt Elizabeth and my mom and somehow they got completely lost with no idea how to get back on track. They ended up on a dead end street that took them to a cemetery. My grandmother looked at her two traveling companions and said, "Well, what now???" And my Aunt Elizabeth said, "Lets get out and read a few tombstones!" And so they all piled out and wandered in the graveyard, reading tombstones and, of course, laughing.
That is the stuff of life, isn't it? To refuse to get your feathers ruffled over being a little lost, and instead just get on out and check out your surroundings. I am trying to be more like my dear aunt. How about you? Read any good tombstones lately??
Friday, January 16, 2009
--So, my appointment with the new hairdresser turned out great and I have not had to hang my head in shame. I did find it a little unnerving when he started out by telling me that prior to pursuing a career in the dressing of hair, he was a construction worker. But then he proceeded to massage my scalp as he washed my hair and suddenly I didn't care if he had been a terrorist or one of The Village People.
--I discovered this week that I would have an easier time securing a seat in Congress than getting my sixteen-year-old son a Georgia driver's license since he has a Florida learner's permit. After having driven in this fine state for the better part of my forty years, I would have sworn that they handed those licenses out like candy, but apparently I was wrong.
--FYI: My thirteen-year-old son announced last night that if a drug is FDA approved, that means that it won't kill you today.
--Breakaway Retreat starts today and I am more than a little excited to gather with so many friends and "family" and just be in God's presence together. If you are unfamiliar with Breakaway and Family Discipleship Ministries, then check us out here. There is always room for more!
--Fav quote of the week comes from my friend Erica's blog. She had a great post this week on being homesick. "Contentment is so hard, even when you have a thousand reasons for it." I hate that I struggle with this in my life, but I love that I am not alone. Thanks for your transparency, Erica.
--And speaking of transparency, I am feeling overwhelmed by some circumstances in my own life right now. Most of the time it helps to remind myself of the many others I know who are dealing with much greater challenges than my own. But today...not so much.
--And finally, how about last night's latest episode of The Office? There is nothing like a duel over a woman. Especially a woman as rude and unappealing as Angela. Boggles the mind. She deserves to be dumped by both terminally creepy men. And that's all I have to say about it.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
This thing called writing has consumed me. I think about it all the time and when I am not writing I am trying to decide what path to take with this fine craft. When I was a little girl, I wrote stories all the time. I would go to my mother's office at the Chamber of Commerce and sit at the extra desk in front of a type writer and pretend I was a famous author and I would write outlandish stories about make-believe lands and people with strange names.
In college I took a children's literature course during which one of our assignments was to write a spontaneous melodrama that would be performed by everyone in class. I found my file of stories I had written way back then, pulled one out, tweaked it just a bit and turned it in. My professor and classmates thought it was genius and when I told them I wrote it when I was eight, they didn't believe me. How funny is that? But really, aren't the best stories in all of your life the ones you read as a child? My mama used to read "Goodnight Moon" to me, and my third grade teacher read "Where the Red Fern Grows" to the class and I would lose myself in the wonder of other worlds that someone simply made up. I swore to myself then that I would one day write stories that would make childhood magical for another generation of kids. And hopefully I will.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
When I was six I actually played this game with a little boy in the neighborhood. It was his idea. I agreed and told him to go first, which he did, and then when it was my turn, I turned and ran all the way home. Moral of the story...never go first when a very smart six-year-old girl is involved.
I do have a point.
I think few of us realize how very little in our lives is ours to show. Obviously (see example above) our bodies are ours but even those we don't get to keep forever and frankly, the older I get the more thankful I am for that reality. I digress. We all have what we consider to be ours; jobs, hopes and dreams, relationships, ministries. And when something or someone interferes with these things, we become possessed by huge demons and we manifest all over the place. Okay, not really. But we are all territorial to some degree and when our expectations are disappointed, we find it impossible to believe it might possibly just be the hand of God at work. Every single thing we accomplish or hope to accomplish is His. What right do we really have to force God's hand? Disappointments are often His leadership in our lives and , when embraced, can become the pathway to the "exceedingly, abundantly above all you can think or ask." (Eph 3:20) But the death of that "thing" that you worked so hard for or that you still believe can happen often results in the death of other things as well. Like your flesh. And the pride you have in that "thing". That "thing" is really not yours to show. It has always been His. Letting go is the right thing to do. And it is the hardest thing to do.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
These are pretty big words from someone who was born illegitimate, raised in poverty by a woman his mother gave him to because she didn't want him, worked in a cannery 18 hours a day, became an oyster pirate, worked in a jute mill, a street-railway power plant and then finally landed in prison for vagrancy. But, oh, when he turned his life around, what a writer he became. Words like these from people who overcame adversity and realized their dreams are fuel for my soul. Just thought I would share the love. Have a lovely day!
Monday, January 12, 2009
So, my husband and I were on a little road trip Saturday and we passed some billboards in Altanta that were extremely high, higher than the ones like you see in this picture. I was craning my neck to see the top of them, imagining myself atop the platforms in front where the workers do whatever it is they do to change them and I had this thought....if this were the LAST job on earth, I would just starve to death because there is no way in the world I would ever climb up there to earn a living. EVER. Sure, there are jobs that I find unappealing, like neutering or spaying animals, pest control, and proctology, but this aversion I have to extreme heights really isn't about preference. It is just plain, old, fall-to-your-knees-and-throw-up fear.
This subject of jobs is uppermost in my mind right now because, if our house in Florida doesn't sell soon, I am going to have to do something to bring in some extra money. Let me be clear and say that you would see the bank come and take back the Florida house from the Taylors if it all hinged on me being a billboard changer outer. Yes, I did just make up that title. What do you call that job anyway? Oh, I know, this is deep stuff I am writing about and you just wish you were this creative, this utterly and completely inspiring. But let's just face it...some people are not called to weave word tapestries as rich and beautiful as what you see here. I did hear of some job openings in the billboard changer outer office in Atlanta, though, if you are interested. So, what would you rather have your eyeballs gouged out than do for a living??
Friday, January 9, 2009
--Nothing strikes terror in the heart of any self-respecting woman quite like the first appointment with a new hairdresser. I realize how shallow this sounds, but it is just true and my date with destiny is Tuesday afternoon. I will revisit this topic here next week with my head either held high, smiling or cast down, covered with my favorite hat.
--If you would like a well-written, tear-inducing read then get a copy of Elizabeth Noble's, Things I Want My Daughters to Know. Having lost my own mother to cancer just over a year ago, this was especially gut-wrenching, but I needed it. Always, it is so good to read. Sometimes, it is so good to cry.
--Fav quote of the week: "Changing things-pushing the envelope and creating a future that doesn't exist yet (at the same time you're criticized by everyone else)-requires bravery." --Seth Godin
--If you neglect to comb your Yorkie for, oh, I don't know...two or maybe three months, it will take a solid hour to get the nasty matted hair wads out of his coat when you finally do get around to it. This will cause you to sweat profusely so allow enough time for the shower that you will need when the job is done.
--I am a die-hard Florida State fan and my husband is a die-hard Georgia fan, but I must confess to watching the game last night with great hope for the Gators. And I was glad they won. Truth be told, I still don't like the Gators at all, but I have great respect for Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow and so I want to see them win. As long as the 'Noles or the 'Dawgs aren't involved.
--And finally, I must confess to my new-found obsession with "The Office". I missed the first few seasons and so have only been watching it for a few months, but Santa brought the first four seasons on DVD to our house so I have been majorly indulging! It all makes so much more sense now, and the thing between Jim and Pam....aahhh, I just love it!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
There are moments when I question the passion that I carry. Most people have a passion for something...something that captivates the quiet moments of the mind's private reverie. For me it has always been women and leadership. In his book, Tribes, Seth Godin writes this: "In a battle between two ideas, the best one doesn't necessarily win. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it."
This statement haunts me because for so long I was not fearless in regard to my passion to see women free to lead as God truly intends. I thought I was the only one on Earth (in church circles, that is) to hold such beliefs, beliefs that must surely be unGodly and evil and wrong. Since discovering the truth about it, I still feel at times that I am alone, although my disclosure has certainly aroused the passions of a few other women and men who have boldly declared their agreement. And while I am still unclear as to where this passion and this resolve will lead me, I do know that it is with fearlessness that I must move forward.
The truth about fear is that it never truly leaves. When banished from the spotlight of someone's life, it finds contentment lurking in the shadows and taunting from the sidelines. Godin asserts that the fear must be drowned out by something greater, by the all-consuming passion of the human soul. A passion that was put there, inside of you and me, from the beginning of time by the God of all creation who knows where His passion inside of you will lead.
And so I pray that He will connect me with the "tribe" I am to lead and that I can help give voice to other men and women who carry this same passion, that we might all make a difference in the church, in the marketplace and in the arenas where we each have influence. I pray for you, too, that you will become more than familiar with that "thing" deep inside of you that you long to see made right. May the "fearless heretic" within you come out and make a much-needed difference in this world.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
It is an odd experience to find yourself abruptly out of community. I mean in the sense of the local church. It is not a bad thing but only because it is a temporary symptom of relocation. Most every time in the past that we have relocated, it has been to another place of ministry in the local church, which means you have instant community and instant "friends", if you will. This is so very different. Not a soul in this town knows us (except my sis and bro-in-law) and when we enter the doors of a church we are just as likely to be ignored as anything. Very strange, indeed. As an introvert I am enjoying the extra time of quiet and the lack of busyness but I very much miss that sense of belonging. Honestly, I am pretty intrigued by this opportunity to view the church from the other side, to feel unknown and to explore so many other different bodies of believers in complete anonymity. I know I can only be content like this for a short time as I do so crave community...the "Cheers" kind where everybody knows your name and are happy to see you and you can really be you. For now, I am just another face in the crowd, waiting to be seen so that I can then allow myself to be known.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Did you know......that you can rip off the top part of your Razor flip phone and it will still receive incoming calls? You will not know who is calling nor will you hear the caller, but you can shout word fragments into the phone as if the caller were deaf and they will be able to hear you and perhaps even laugh at you. Just ask my friend, Sharon. It is freakish and strange, sort of like when you cut the head off of a snake and it still slithers through the grass as if nothing has happened.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I may not be the most gifted person to ever walk the earth but I am most certainly the clumsiest. Allow me to illustrate my point. I have already mentioned the nasty little stomach virus that came to help me flush in the New Year. When it hit me last Wenesday, I was out shopping with my sons, giving them an opportunity to spend some of their Christmas money. Needless to say we left Gamestop in a really big hurry. When we arrived home I grabbed my purse, cell phone and keys and RAN to the door to unlock it. Sadly, this was when my Razor fell and landed on the threshold, knocking one of the hinges off of my new phone and leaving some of the phone's wiring exposed. Not good news. I came to the conclusion that the piece I broke off was not going to magically "snap" back into place when my husband tried to do just that which then caused the outer screen to go black. No more caller ID for me. Now, in view of the fact that we are STILL waiting for our house to sell in Florida, it is not a good time to be shelling out money for a new phone. This WAS a new phone that came free with my new contract and, oddly enough, was the replacement for the LAST phone I dropped and broke. Hmmmm....there is a pattern here. Not to worry...my wonderful sister-in-law had a phone that she was no longer using so yesterday we headed over to get it from her and get it activated. The plot thickens. As I am headed out the door to go to her house, I DROP MY BROKEN PHONE AGAIN!!! This time it snaps completely in two and gives up the ghost entirely. Dead. I have now killed two phones. When will this madness stop??? Is there some sort of twelve-step recovery program for people like me?
Friday, January 2, 2009
Wow...last week of 2008!