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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To Love Oneself

I think it was some time back in middle school when I went from thinking very highly of myself, to putting myself down. I believe a single comment from a child about humbleness was taken to heart... that somehow I should not be proud of my accomplishments, that maybe I needed to pass them off or make excuses for them... after all why should I be able to achieve greatness all by my self?

While reading 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed, I am learning the Shema which is, "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Initially, this passage tells me that I am to love God with everything I have and do... ok fine that is easy.... and to love my neighbor... again this is tougher but with practice this is doable too.

The tough part sometimes is the "as yourself" part of the Shema. We are created in the image of God, and we are to love Him, then so we must love ourselves... We are called to love God, ourselves, others and love the world that God has created for us. Many of us simply skim over the love ourselves part in confusion with humility or humbleness. It is important for us to know the difference between recognizing that God has helped us accomplish so much, true humility/humbleness... that yes, God has given each of us talents for us to use, and yes there are certain things that we can be good at... and thinking/boasting about that we can do everything alone, self-promotion and give up the put downs and lies we have re-playing through our heads. As we learn this, we will truly learn how to live out and fully experience the Shema and become more Christ-like.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ode to the Flat Tire...

As a mom, I have to admit, I am busy... but busy is synonymous with motherhood right? Moms put the needs of others first, taking people places, scheduling activities, spending money on the others in the family... now before you think of me as a martyr, please know that I do do things for myself, just not extravagant things.

About 4 years ago, I started on a weight loss journey with Weight Watchers and was fairly successful at it, but when I started getting complacent and plateaued, all I saw was $40/month going down the drain... since then, I have put back on that weight and then some. I could not hardly think of spending $40 on ME... I stopped getting my hair colored/highlighted at the salon, and find high fashion at Wal-Mart... we could use that money in so many different areas, especially with me being a stay-at-home mom. Beyond the Weight Watchers, I find my spiritual life being sacrificed for the activities of others. My life was/is completely out of balance. Like a wheel with a flat side, some adjustments need to be made for me to run effectively.

I was reminded in a sermon today by Pastor Ed Noble, that there will never be a good time to take that spiritual step... there will always be some sort of inconvenience... or excuse. We need to retire the "First Let Me...." The example that was used came from Luke 9: 57-59:

The Cost of Following Jesus
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.

This year, I have made the commitment to balance my life. I am making my health and spiritual life a priority. I am vowing to make sure I schedule some time to work on my Bible study throughout the week and not cram it into the day before... In addition, I am re committing my life to Weight Watchers, eating healthy and making it a priority to go to the gym on a regular basis. I plan to reward myself as I hit certain, predetermined milestones by new hairstyles, clothes or other pampering rewards... It has been a whole 3 weeks now and I am still motivated to make these changes... My tire is becoming more round as time goes by...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Hero Lies in You

To say we had a battle on our hands was an understatement. For days now, almost a week to be exact, Katie has had a homework assignment that was seemingly simple... who is your hero and why. All she had to do was to list the reason why in a sentence and list 3 heroic qualities of that person. She kept procrastinating and procrastinating bring us to this afternoon... and the battle ensued. We had what amounted to an hour stand off. She decided to choose us parents as her hero, HOWEVER, what should have been a completely joyous occasion for us quickly deflated when her 3 qualities stated "1)Nice, 2)Nice, 3) Nice". HUH?!? I sent her back to the drawing board, where she came up with some reasons.

This battle made me think, "Who would I choose to be MY earthly hero?" As I thought, it became extremely clear to me that my earthly hero would have to be my dear husband. He is a very thoughtful and loving man, with a passion for Christ, who works hard long hours for our family, and yet will still come home to play with the kids and help around the house. He has given me the gift and privilege of being able to stay at home to raise our family, even if it means he has to work hard. I do not take that privilege lightly, and strive to make his life easier, in whatever way I can. His travel schedule gets him down, he misses his family desperately, and just longs to be home with us, his family... Thank you so much!

Chip, you are my hero!

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:33

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Friendship Mystery

Today was such a great family day. It started as any other weekend day might... the girls watching Busy Town Mysteries, The Doodle-Bops etc... Mom gets her coffee and catches up on Facebook while dad goes for a nice run. Nothing out of the ordinary... I did however make a conscious effort to play dominoes with my little girls when they asked. I am in the process of learning not so say "not right now... later..." but when does later actually come? Hardly ever... I don't want to be the mom of broken promises so I must learn to play, and who knows have fun as well:-)

This evening I had the privilege of spending time with some of the most dear ladies. My friends. I love how when we get together we can share moments of laughter, and serious traumas in our lives.... and everything in between. We share alternate uses for diapers and grief and fairy advice. This group of women are unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life and I fully know they have my back. One chance meeting in a coffee shop about a year ago and a bond made for eternity, a mystery that continues to baffle me... You see, I tend to have self-worth issue... will I be good enough for my friends? Do they think of me as invisible when I am not around? Do they even think of me at all? These friends break all preconceived notions I have had about friend groups. From the moment I have met them at that chance meeting, I have felt complete love and acceptance and God's countenance completely shines through them, something I am truly grateful for.

The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Proverbs 12:25-27

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Tweener is Born

Eight years ago was bitter sweet for me. I was 9 months pregnant and ready to pop... literally. Chip and I were excited about our first baby together, a little girl we were going to name after both my mom and his mom. The nursery was all put together, car seats ready and baby books read.... then came the horrific news that Chip was being deployed to Iraq. Eight days after him leaving, our baby was born, again this was very bitter sweet.

Today, our daughter celebrated her 8th birthday, and officially became a "Tweener." This morning started with a round of "Happy Birthday" being sung by us to her as her wake up song, followed by a minimum day at school, and a birthday party with several of her girl friends. The girls painted their nails, danced to Just Dance Kids, played pin the crown on the princess, danced, decorated sleep masks, ate pizza and cupcakes and danced some more. In the midst of all this fun, we also discussed that while the theme of today's party may be about the outer beauty of a person, there were far more things that made a person beautiful inside. The girls all came up with a quite exhausting list. I am pleased to say, my daughter has an incredibly beautiful friendship group. We concluded the evening by spending quality time eating Coldstone Creamery... (ok, so I am on Weight Watchers right now and had to settle with what I thought was the best of the evils... watermelon sorbet w/o a mix-in, but it way yummy anyway).

Our daughter hit another milestone tonight... her big present from mommy and daddy was to get her ears pierced. She was beside herself in excitement and asked several times just WHEN she could go to Claire's. She was so brave and proud, all the while mommy was choking back the tears. Just when did she grow up? and How? When I told her that mommy was tearing up, she grabbed my hand and just said simply... "you will be just fine." But will I? Time flies and I am really wanting to be a sponge and soak up every moment of it... Every beautiful moment!

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.
1 Peter 3:2-4

Thursday, January 6, 2011

1 Simple Act

For those who know me, know that I can get spun up pretty easily. Yes, today was a day that could have been a very spun day... It all started w/ getting my 2nd grader to school ON TIME, but found that parking was a challenge, not the usual situation... our school is located on a Catholic Church campus. When I told my 2nd grader that she would have to be left off at the drive-thru, she melted down and I was forced to park and walk her in. In the mean time we just about got run over by several people who were evidently learning to drive TODAY! She would not run to get to her class, she was just being plain stubborn... When I got to my car to leave, I found that one of those people who were just learning to drive left me exactly 6 inches to get into my car... I had to get into mine through the passenger door.... I was fuming as I drove away dodging barely controlled vehicles.

On my return trip to the school, for my 1/2 day Kindergartner, I was a cool cucumber... UNTIL I got a block from the school and some yahoo pulls out like he is going to turn left and decides to drive the wrong way right in front of my... I stopped quickly only to pray that the people stopped behind me too.... Did I mention that there are a lot of people who are learning to drive today???? Well, I get to the school to find that not much has changed in the parking lot from this morning, still the madness and craziness... I realized that today is the Feast of the Epiphany, which is a huge thing for the Catholic Church and EVERYONE brings their children to be Christened and blessed... thus the craziness in the parking lot... STILL does this really need to happen during school hours? Just wondering.... As I navagated my way from the school parking lot... did I mention that a lot of people are learning to drive today??? I get to a stop light where a police escort stops traffic for a funeral procession, it must have been at least 1/2 mile long. I am somewhat sympathetic for this interruption in my day, but it does not stop me from reeling about my past adventures in the day.... I come to the conclusion that I am so completely done living in Little Baghdad....

Just as I am starting to steam, I get to an intersection where I see a homeless man whom I have seen often, and then a little blue Prius pulls into the parking lot next to where he is, I assume he is going into the liquor store. The homeless man comes up to the Prius, I think what an annoyance... Again, I am done with this pathetic area.... Then something unexpected happens...

The man in the Prius gets out of his car and opens his trunk to give the homeless man a sack lunch, 3 oranges and several water bottles... I couldn't believe my reaction, I started sobbing... My got moment I suppose. How selfish have I become to really ignore people and assume MY time and convenience is more important than theirs. I have been ignoring the creations that GOD has made them to be for the sake of me... ALL of my inconveniences today all relate to my selfishness... Lord help me to become more patient with ALL of Your creations, and help me to be the person You want me to be!

Genesis 1:27
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them

...and now back to cupcake duty