Category Archives: Living it out

To Love A (Wo)Man

It’s a humbling experience to return to a blog after nearly a month and see that the stats are still quite high. I almost cannot fathom that so many days have passed in silence, here, and yet, people still visit and read. In many ways, I’m still speechless, because of what has happened to me while I’ve been away, because of what is still happening to me on my journey.

I’ve taken a break from most of my regular activities. I stopped holding meetings at church. I didn’t attend my life group last time around. I skipped church Council meetings to stay home with my children. I haven’t written much of anything in the last four weeks. I haven’t read much in the last month. I haven’t commented, haven’t logged into Twitter, haven’t passed along many blog posts. I’ve been on a break.

And you know what I found in the silence? in the stillness? in my swing?

I found love.

There’s no big announcement there. I’m not getting married or anything. I’m talking about the love of friends and family and kids and regular readers.

I’ve found that love isn’t some grand romantic gesture but a card in the mail on the day you want to give up.

Love is the friend who humors you with another round of online Scrabble at 2 am, because you need to keep talking to someone.

Love makes you dinner and draws you pictures in crayon (Thanks, Sara!)

Love wakes up early, drags a stool into the kitchen, and pours you a cup of chocolate milk (Thanks, Mia!)

Love gives you big squeezy hugs until you think your head will pop off (Thanks, Wendy!)

Love chases you around the house, and when you’re caught, demands to be tickled (Thanks, Matt!)

Love is the honest assessment of mistakes you’ve made and the just-as-honest assurance that you can meet your goals and achieve yours dreams.

Love brings sandwiches to the homeless, groceries to the elderly, goes door-to-door and makes quilts for people affected by disaster and poverty.

Love shows up to teach students who are eager and those who can’t wait to leave.

Love plans ahead and love is spontaneous.

Love is green in the mail when you are staring at an empty bank account and your kids are in need of school supplies.

I’ve been blessed to have the best friends and family in the world, who know just how to love a (wo)man. I’ve been blessed to have each of those forms of love visit me in the past month, like the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, to show me a better way.

I just want to say Thank You. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for Tweeting and FB messaging. Thank you for cards and calls and prayers and cares and thank you for the love.

How has someone loved you recently?

 

Death by GPS, part I

The girls and I traveled, along with my mom and sister, to Dallas this weekend for a girly getaway. On the way home, we turned to the GPS to get us back on the road. “Nancy,” our GPS, kept trying to get us on a highway blocked by large orange barrels and flashing lights.

Nancy continued recalculating, instructing us to “when possible, take a left” and (maybe it was my imagination), but seemed to get more and more angry and insistent the farther away from her path we tread. It’s tempting to take the GPS as an authority, and just follow that route.

A few weeks ago, though, I read this piece on NPR, that discussed our over-reliance on GPS and the flaws in that trust, especially in dangerous locations, like Death Valley, which was so named because of a wagon-train’s ill-fated “shortcut.”

Some have found themselves on long-forgotten logging roads, desert paths, ice roads, and a few each year die because help doesn’t find them in time.

Many people have been misdirected by their GPS systems because of over-reliance on the map, and as Korzybski says, “the map is not the territory.”  The green tree icons are merely representations of reality, a cheap simulation of the richness of nature.

‘Somebody had a map, and somebody said, this is a faster way to get to the gold fields,’ Callagan says. ‘Deep down back in the brain, the common sense says, you know, this is not the wisest thing.’

That’s what makes the difference between our trip home yesterday and dying on an unmarked road in Death Valley: common sense.

I’ve got this idea that following a GPS to your death (turning directly off a bridge into icy waters) is a lot like those who elevate Scripture above the Spirit.

“The Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Cor 3:6

—————————————–

Legalism is following the map, not being guided through the territory. You can use the Scripture as a guide and SHOULD use it as a guide, but call it common sense, call it intuition, call it what it is, the SPIRIT should discern the best way to proceed.

Look for Part II of Death by GPS next week.

Has your GPS ever led you astray?

How do you know it’s the Spirit and not the Letter that guides you?

The too late

Sometimes, I don’t check my email all day. I’ve got into a bad habit of just checking in late at night and answering only one or two essential email messages, groaning that it’s too late to do too much,  then simply going to bed. In those messages I skip, is a daily deal from Living Social. On those, you have to buy that day or lose out.

I’ve never bought a Living Social deal, even though I’ve been getting their emails over a year. I’m always too late, or they cost too much or I wouldn’t use it. Mostly, I’m too late. I never commit before the day expires.

There are two ways I could go with this post now: I could preach a mini sermon on the 2nd coming of Christ, or, I could do what I’m going to do, and encourage you to live your life in the now, not the too late.

Don’t lose sight of the big deal.

Carpe diem.

What are you waiting for… to show love to others? Love is not cheap, it’s going to cost you. Perhaps that’s why you hesitate. Love will almost certainly cost you your pride, your time. You have to lose your cowardice and go after it, instead of watch it languishing in your inbox. Love won’t speak itself.

Tell your family you love them. Call your sister. Email your cousin. Send your mother flowers before mid-May. Take your dad out to the green and play golf. Read a book to your children. Tell them before the too late, before you run out of days here, or before they do.

Show your friends your love. Invite them over and be hospitable. Play games. Sit and talk. Treat them to a delicious dessert and then tell them that you know you’re all busy, but this time together is worth carving out a spot in your schedule.

Give love away to those who cannot repay. Take some clothes to the man who sits at the exit with a cardboard sign, before it’s too late to share with him. Volunteer at the shelter or soup kitchen. Life expectancy is alarmingly low for those families living on the street. Tomorrow might be the too late for any one of them.

Treat your significant other significantly. I’ve seen more than one marriage (including my own) destroyed because love is withheld or gone silent. By the time someone manages to eek out the words “I love you,” the relationship is darkened in the haze of the too late. Be bold, be honest, be pure, be prompt.

We have only a finite number of days. We have busy lives and insecurities and hesitations. I’m encouraging you today not to let the too late catch up with you.

Have you ever lost out on something wonderful because you waited too long?

Make a plan for showing love today. Right now! Write it down and follow through.

Guest post slumber party- Dating Talk

Today, you’ll find me at Mary Kathryn‘s place, Beauty for Ashes. I’m guest posting as part of her blogiversary party all month long. MK is a single girl, so I thought I would give her a weird dating story for the occasion.

To all the men I've liked before

I’ve dated some quirky guys (and to tell you the truth, they’ve dated AT LEAST one quirky girl…). There was the one who constantly warned me I was going to get fat, the one who turned out to be gay, the one who joined the military and didn’t tell me…. but the quirk of the guy I describe in this guest post might take the cake.

So, join me over there, for this, Say My Name, a blog post about dating, getting a call, and disaster.

Let Him Lead

My tiny dancers got to waltz, two-step and hip hop their shoes off at a wedding on Friday. At first, they danced with one another.

Then, they danced with me.

My mother is not the world's best photog...

**I deeply regret that what I’m about to relay has no photographic evidence: Then, as I was sashaying around the floor with my ultra-handsome date (who felt compelled to go buy something in brown because I said my dress was brown, but it actually looked gray- sorry, Mr.!), I felt a bit of a blur rush past me.

That blur, as it turned out, was Mia, dancing on past me with A BOY! He’d asked her to be his partner and everything. I’d noticed him before, getting his little boy groove on, which was adorable, but dancing with my daughter…

I didn’t have to worry long. Before my green eyes got misty, I could see that even the twinkle-toed Casanova was no match for my bossy baby. She ushered him around the floor like Jack Lemmon’s character in Some Like It Hot.

I leaned over to her after I dragged my placatory partner to the square of floor occupied by the pushy princess and her prince. In her ear, I whispered, “let HIM lead now!”

Ever let something completely hypocritical fly out of your mouth and not catch it until hours or days later? Guilty!

Every instance of not letting HIM lead me came rushing back when I reviewed the scene. Every time I tried a spin or step or flourish without God’s direction, I may have looked like I was dancing, but I was really struggling for control with my infinitely more assured partner.

The steps of a righteous (wo)man are ordered of the Lord – Psalm 37:23

————————-

It’s true that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backward, and in heels, but, it was choreographed, precise, determined and she trusted where he led. I want to be like Ginger, letting God lead me in the steps he’s ordered.

What’s your go-to dance move?

As a “dance” partner… how well do you follow?

Sleepless over Sprechstimme

Has God ever kept you up late at night, or awoken you from a deep sleep with a thought? It happens to me, sometimes, and it’s always motivational. First, it motivates me to prayer, then, once I’ve discerned the meaning, motivates me to action. Recently, I awoke with one word, not my one-word for 2011: green,  but Sprechstimme.

** This is an illusion**

 

It’s an operatic term, one I haven’t given thought to since approximately 1998, when I competed in Academic Decathlon and we studied opera for our musical selections. Sprechstimme means to approximate speech by messing with the tonal composition of song, there is lilt and rhythm, according to the free online dictionary, but not precise pitches.You can hear an example, here.

Tone markings are something like suggestions. You might sing higher or lower than the note on the page, singing around it, but not on target.

Why in the world would God speak to me through composers like Schoenberg? After prayer and seeking, I am starting to get it. I’ve been getting close, but not hitting the mark.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14.

——————————-

It reminds me of a creative writing term: verisimilitude. Verisimilitude means to add enough details to create the semblance of truth in fiction.  Verisimilitude, like trompe l’oeil, it just a picture that stands in the place of reality. It’s an approximation of the truth, but not the Truth at all.

I don’t want to be missing the mark. I want to be hitting the target, shooting for accuracy, following what is written, not playing around with the pitch of my life.

I still need to follow this thought farther. I still need to seek discernment on this matter in my life. What is God trying to tell me? What areas of my life represent simulation and how can I strike the right note?

I wish  there were Spiritual decoder rings available, so I could move some dials and voila! the meaning to my late-night epiphanies would appear! For now, I’m going to be watching my life closely to make sure that my life isn’t a cheap imitation, or even an exquisite imitation, but the true mark.

Have you ever been woken up by a Spiritual message?

What word sounds just too, too, weird if you repeat it over and over?

 

 

Rocks will cry: A boobie post

Let’s talk boobies for a moment, shall we? If you’ll recall, I’ve talked about how breasts are precious in God’s sight,  before, but there’s more. In addition, guys, I know how much you hate talking about boobs or reading about them, but this is different, so, keep reading, ok?

A picture of boobies

China is developing a group of cows to replace boobies! You may or may not have “herd” it here, first, but here’s more information.

I’m not a breastfeeding freak, the kind that militantly demand that everyone planning on formula feeding their infant is deranged and abusive (and I’ve met some like that), but I did nurse both of my girls- one for 11 months, one for 17 months. They were not EBF (exclusively breast fed), but got enough of mommy milk to say they were breastfed, certainly*

So, even though I’m not a rampant opinion-giver on the issue of breastfeeding, I say… I think the cow business is bovine, I mean, asinine. Our bodies, our boobies, were made to feed children. Udders were made to feed… baby cows.**

I have no problem with cow udders supplying me with milk – I drink a ton, but, cow proteins are not easily digested by tiny little digestive systems, thus why infants should not be given cow milk.

From the article, the genetically modified milk is “80% the same as human breastmilk.”That’s close, but I’m afraid, close doesn’t always cut it.

My research has found that we share 96% of our DNA with chimps, 60% with mice and 25% with daffodils. With those kinds of numbers, maybe we should stop milking cows and start milking apes? Close is not equal.

I believe what bothers me most is that we’re looking for a substitute, a simulation, because it’s something we don’t want to do ourselves. Even with milk banks, breast pumps, storage systems, heck, even wet nurses, we’re looking to cows to feed our babies.

Now, you might ask, how are boobies like worship? (I know that’s what you were thinking!)

Our worship is organic, comes from within us, overflowing from a full breast in love. Jesus said that if the people would not worship and kept silent, the rocks would cry out (Luke 19:40). Substitutions will be made, but God desires the worship of his people, not the moss-covered green rocks or cracked earth!

Humans won’t feed their children human breastmilk, which is better for mother, baby, the environment, the economy and the bond between human beings, and so we must look to cows. When we refuse to worship, the rocks, like engorged milk-filled breasts, will pour forth praise in our stead.

What’s your favorite flavor or type of milk?

How much would you pay for a gallon of breastmilk from a cow?

*I realize this may disqualify me to speak on the subject in the eyes of many

** Click at your own risk, but I thought it was apt and funny.