Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Deflated Pollyanna

Sooooo this perpetual Pollyanna hasn't felt very Pollyanna-ish lately. Oh the positive effervescence is still inside of me, but it's been more than a bit flat in my attempts at executing it. Do I still believe that EVERYTHING, without exception works to good? Without question. I just can't help but feel a bit fidgety lately. I don't mind waiting on God, in fact most of the time I actually ENJOY the downtime of the wait, it gives me a chance to focus on what I'm doing now that may become an asset for me in the future. Valuable prep time as it were. So why am I feeling fidgety this time? I guess I'm still trying to figure that out. That's probably why I'm still awake at 2am when I should be sleeping so I can get up in 3 hours and go deal with a herd of germ carrying munchkins. Although at this point since I'm wide awake it may be a viable option to pull an all nighter...lol.
Ironically the crux of my frustration right now stems from my job. Now don't get me wrong, I actually love my job, my employer and my boss. That isn't the problem. The problem is that I feel a bit....well....overlooked. I know the value of what my gifts and talents are, the years of experiences I have and what I can bring to the table if given the opportunity.  When I was 20 I started my own business and quickly became quite successful at it, but due to a glaring lack of capital as well as a barely minimum wage job I had to put an end to it. After that I had a healthy string of successful positions over the years that all included my working my way up from the bottom and into a management position. They went from managing as few as 5 employees to being solely responsible for over 8,000 corporate accounts. My frustration is that I feel like the assets I have are not being tapped into for the greater good. My battle is to appreciate the place I'm in for the downtime it affords me as well as thoughtfully considering the points that perhaps I'm having this extended downtime because I quite simply need to continue to grow to a point of maturity that I will be READY for the next level. Something I am always willing to see as a credible possibility because quite frankly even though I know how far I've come, I also know I have a long way to go.
I could easily sit and go through a list of whining points to validate my frustrations....but realistically, what does that solve? Whining never solves anything and all it accomplishes is irritating it's listeners, trust me, I know....I DESPISE whining! What I can do however, in true Pollyanna form, is make a list of the reasons why I should be glad that things are the way they are right now. So for much more my benefit than yours, here I go.
1) I'm glad that I don't have to take work home.
2) I'm glad that I can let the weight of difficult decisions fall on someone else's shoulders.
3) I'm glad that I don't have more things to try and focus on during 8 short hours than just making sure my students know their colors, shapes, numbers and manners.
4) I'm glad that I have a boss that prays for her workers.
5) I'm glad that I work with Christians, something I longed for, for years.
6) I'm glad that I don't have the daily battle of re-establishing co-worker relationship vs supervisor relationship
7) I'm glad that I no longer have to carry the burden of hiring and firing people...something I never really relished in the first place.
8) I'm glad I can support the boss I do have to help her get to a higher place in her career because I wish I had people who would have done that for me.
I guess in reality I'm glad that things are the way they are for now....I suppose I really do know that God hasn't overlooked me and I know He is aware of what I can and cannot do as well as what my true heart desires are for my present and my future. So the real question is can I continue to wait patiently and trust Him even when it feels like things aren't moving. Yeah.......I can. **sigh** and maybe I need to remember all of these things when I want to rush the process along.

Jeremiah 29:11 (New Living Translation)

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Power of a Vote

 Ok, I've let enough days pass that I can now write this entry without seething agitation. I even considered not touching on this topic at all, but finally decided that would be foolish. I need to say something...for whatever it's worth. I'm not going to shred anybody or any political party, but I am going to make a bi-partisan statement...or a few really. 

There are certain things that still elude my understanding since I have lived in New England. One of them involves politics. Relax, even though I have VERY strong opinions regarding politics I will not be going on any tirade here...even though I may want to. However there is something that I have noticed on both sides of the political fence that I find morbidly interesting, and infuriating. Where I grew up if we don't like a politician who's in office, even if they are a member of our registered party and even if we helped elect them.....we vote them out. If they don't listen to us anymore and have proven that they have developed their own agenda and don't care what the constituents want, then we simply get them out of office. Here in New England though, I have seen another phenomena. The people here complain about how ridiculously high the taxes are (which they are)and about how they disagree with this and with that and they develop a fury about them to "vote them out next time" and it looks like we will finally be free of this hamster wheel that is the incumbent political prison....but then........as voting day gets closer something happens. They cave...they recant the vow to do away with the problematic politicians, be it from fear, from a misguided sense of loyalty or a sudden belief about an accusation (whether true or not) regarding the opponent!

I cannot even tell you how many times I hear the statement, "..well...I don't like either one, but this one has already been in office and they at least know what they're doing."  WHAT????  Of course they know what they're doing..that's part of the problem, they know how to work the system AND the people for their own benefit! These voters decide to stick with the people that have been ignoring their opinions and desires for years...sometimes for DECADES! Many of them have told me, "well...I've always voted for this party, my parents are/were this party and so were my grandparents, blah, blah, blah..." ORRRR....."..well, THIS party is for the people...."   ROFL!! Since when?!?!?  or...."well this group that I'm a member of supports this party so I have to vote those lines" Says WHO??? Then the WORST one EVER, " well, my votes never seem to matter anyway, so I just don't bother.." OMG!!!!! REALLY?!?!?!? May I direct you to a partial list of historic close elections decided by just 1 vote or only a few? Please click here to read more on that.

 When did the RIGHT to vote become so taken for granted? If you aren't a white male then you need to VALUE your right to vote for no other reason than that less than 100 years ago you HAD NO RIGHT to vote!! (women, Aug 26th,1920/ black men battled for their constitutional right to vote since the 1830's and finally got wide breakthrough in the 1960's) People who have immigrated to our country from countries ruled by communism understand the value of voting and they exercise that right every chance they get. My in-laws were a PERFECT example of this having lived in communist Russia, and WWII Germany. 

 The other thing that bothers me aside from the lack of voting is the mindless lemming mentality when it comes to choosing a candidate. When did people stop caring who represents them? I love my family, my friends and my church, and I value their opinions, but if I do the research and believe that any given candidate does not support the issues that I believe in...then guess what, I won't support them no matter who else does! If we are disgusted to see individuals ride the coattails of others to a successful career then why is it any less disgusting to ride the political coattails of our friends and relatives? Make your own informed researched choices, stop basing your opinions and beliefs solely on what you have received as second, third , fourth or more hand knowledge! Don't just rely on the popular media of the day either....that's how Hitler was able to accomplish as much as he did....it's called propaganda. Dig for the facts, dig for the truth. An ignorant vote is a deadly vote.

If you and I were members of the same book club and we are having a conversation where we hit a topic that we PASSIONATELY disagree on....(lets pick a real fiery one like abortion) if you believe strongly one way and I the other and we cannot come to agree......but I was up for election to a committee to change legislation on it and I tell you that I am going to do my best to turn things MY way ......seeing as I disagree with you so strongly, could you trust me to stand up for your cause? You probably wouldn't. What if the topic were the death penalty, or immigration laws, gay marriage or any other hot button topic in the world today? What if the topics are less volatile...like the environment, drug laws and the national deficit? Would you vote me into a position where I could change things to go drastically against what you believe in JUST BECAUSE we're in the same book club? Of course you wouldn't. Then, why would a person vote a politician into office just because they are in the same political party? It is the SAME concept. We must use wisdom when we vote...we MUST research what they stand for and believe in and not just by what they say, they can SAY anything, but by what they DO. Look up their voting records and see what they say versus what they DO. 

Finally, fight for the good candidates to get on the ballots! Many times we don't speak up in the primaries and therefore the candidates with the least money or media backing get ignored and sadly, sometimes they would have been the better choice. You can't complain about not liking either of the candidates we end up having to choose between if you didn't do all you could in the primaries to try and get the good ones on the ballot!

Judges 9 (New Living Translation)

Judges 9:7-20

Jotham’s Parable
 7 When Jotham heard about this, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted,   “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem!
      Listen to me if you want God to listen to you!
 8 Once upon a time the trees decided to elect a king.
      First they said to the olive tree,
      ‘Be our king!’
 9 But the olive tree refused, saying,
   ‘Should I quit producing the olive oil
      that blesses both God and people,
      just to wave back and forth over the trees?’
 10 “Then they said to the fig tree,
      ‘You be our king!’
 11 But the fig tree also refused, saying,
   ‘Should I quit producing my sweet fruit
      just to wave back and forth over the trees?’
 12 “Then they said to the grapevine,
      ‘You be our king!’
 13 But the grapevine also refused, saying,
   ‘Should I quit producing the wine
      that cheers both God and people,
      just to wave back and forth over the trees?’
 14 “Then all the trees finally turned to the thornbush and said,
      ‘Come, you be our king!’
 15 And the thornbush replied to the trees,
   ‘If you truly want to make me your king,
      come and take shelter in my shade.
   If not, let fire come out from me
      and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’”
 16 Jotham continued, “Now make sure you have acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelech your king, and that you have done right by Gideon and all of his descendants. Have you treated him with the honor he deserves for all he accomplished? 17 For he fought for you and risked his life when he rescued you from the Midianites. 18 But today you have revolted against my father and his descendants, killing his seventy sons on one stone. And you have chosen his slave woman’s son, Abimelech, to be your king just because he is your relative.
 19 “If you have acted honorably and in good faith toward Gideon and his descendants today, then may you find joy in Abimelech, and may he find joy in you. 20 But if you have not acted in good faith, then may fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leading citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo; and may fire come out from the citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo and devour Abimelech!”

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stars on My Eyelashes

So every year we have a harvest party for the kids at sprout central where they can dress up and so can we (as long as there are no scary costumes) and we have a fun, lesson free day. Usually I just throw on a football jersey and bring my football and go as a fan or a player. Well, this year I decided to really go all out. The kids told me I should dress up as a princess, which I considered, but I finally decided that my evening gown that I had planned to wear was too nice to risk taking it into the DMZ (Defecation Madness Zone). Soooooooo I opted to go as a fairy Godmother instead, that dress would be much less of a blow to replace if it became soiled with....shall we say, a toddler's "homemade goodness". ICK!! Anyway, so I  was able to get my hands on some giant fairy wings, a wand, a wig, purple glitter eyeshadow and some false eyelashes with stars on them, pictured to the right. I had a blast and the kids liked it and so did the parents....(no there will be no photographic evidence forthcoming..lol)
As the day progressed, and the children became even more insane and we became physically drained, my wings, silver butterfly shoes and wand all came off.......but the false eyelashes stayed on until late that night. Everywhere I went I kept seeing the little stars glitter out of the corner of my eyes. If you've ever had a rogue fuzzball attach to an eyelash you know what I mean. It can be very distracting as it is constantly interrupting your line of vision. Well, if you have been a long time reader of my blog you know by now that I am ALWAYS looking for little teachable moments....ways that God can speak to me about something or perhaps encourage others. This one was a teachable moment for me.
  Soooooooo late Friday night I was asking God what I should share here at AMH next and then I looked up and there again were those little stars. I thought about it and asked Him if that was it and felt the familiar nudge to move forward. So as my heart listened to Him I was reminded of how earlier in the day I was exhausted and drained with the children. I felt so frustrated...these little blessings from God that I enjoy playing with and teaching and listening to when they play....these same little people had made me feel like......well.....if you saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ...that scene where Davey Jones calls for the kraken....and the pirates all scream, "..NOOOOOO!!!!!" and run terrified to escape it....yeah..THAT is how they made me feel Friday...lol.
Don't get me wrong, I love my job, I love working with the sprouts and I love working with Christians...such a VAST difference from working out in the secular world. I really have no room to complain..but I'm going to be honest, I just wanted to get away from them....I didn't want to hear another cry, another whine, another little voice calling my name, "Miss Fwan.....Miss Fwaaannnnnn..." I didn't want to clean another juice spill or another muck butt, I didn't want to be kind or loving or gentile...I didn't want to be surrounded by children. **sigh** I wanted a Calgon moment!
So I was less than Mary Poppins as I counted down the hours to go home and THAT is what God reminded me of. Ohhhhhhhh how I hate when I realize I missed it...which happens far more often than I would like to admit.
So what is the connection? Well, seeing those stars in the line of my vision reminded me that is how I am SUPPOSED to see God. He should be so present with me that He is constantly in my line of vision....wherever I go, wherever I look..I should see Him just like I kept seeing those little stars on my eyelashes. It's in seeing Him that I will then be moved to act like Him. I forgot that Friday...and plenty of days really...but I want to get better at that. I'm better than I used to be, but I have a long way to go. Thankfully God has more patience with me than I do with a herd of stampeding children.
So, do you feel like you need to have those Godly stars on your eyelashes too sometimes? Well, be encouraged.....there's hope for us. We just need to meditate on keeping our mind on Christ...easier said then done sometimes in this frenzied world...but we must keep our lines of communication open with our heavenly Dad. We must go to Him as soon as we feel that frustration and give Him praise and ask Him for grace and to see through His eyes. He will be faithful to do it if we just ask Him to.

Philippians 2:5 (Amplified Bible)

5Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The A, B, C, and D's of Fatherhood

  *I want to add a very quick addendum before you start reading this entry. A friend of mine said that as she read this the music play list below automatically chose the song Finally, by Fergie. She said that as she listened to it the thoughts I shared coincided with the words of the song. I decided to pull up that song myself and re-read the entry and I must say....if I were to choose a theme song for this entry...that would be it....and I even found it very powerful. So you may want to consider scrolling down the page to my play list below, scroll through the songs to number 38 (currently)  and click on the song Finally by Fergie and let it be the background music as you read this entry.
 Well.........here we are again, you, me and this funny thing we call a blog. I would be lying if I said I didn't miss being here, I very much did miss this quirky little internet cavern. There have been quite a few times that I sat here staring at the screen with my fingertips resting on my leopard print keyboard and waiting for the words to come......LONGING for the words to come. However, they just wouldn't. No matter how much I tried to will them out and no matter how much I attempted...the words were silent. I've been creatively writing since I was 5 and in the first grade....that's 30 years that words have been flowing out of my heart and fingers....and only twice in that time have I suffered from what I can genuinely call, "writer's block". The first was a few years after I moved to Connecticut and it lasted for YEARS. The second began just hours after my last post here...and if I succeed in completing this entry, it will have ended today. Sooooooo..........remember how I mentioned that I had a BIG pearl in my life that God was working on? Well....it was during my writer's block that God began to really work on that little treasure, so I suppose I should start now.
Now in case you wonder...I am purposefully skipping the letter A for now and you'll understand why shortly.

B is for my father in law, my Tatu, Michael Babij. Within hours of my last posting he was rushed to ICU and five days later he was gone.
   He had been in a convalescent home recovering from a broken hip for several months. We just knew he would be coming home, he was sharp and tough and a survivor. He had lost his father when he was a young child to an absolutely horrific farming accident and as the oldest child of  nine, he was suddenly thrust into the role of "man of the house" too. Then, before the family had time to finish mourning the loss, their country was thrust into the throes of Holodomor, a Ukrainian holocaust by all accounts. Survival amidst the dying became paramount and the scared young boy went into hiding as a hard working, bread winning young patriarch was born. Of course he forgot what it was like to have affection from a dad or see affection between his parents because his dad was taken too early. It wasn't a problem really until it came time for him to be a husband and father and then the abundance of lack became painfully clear. Quite simply, you cannot give what you don't have....and when you don't know where to draw your knowledge from...the chances of those areas being filled with the wrong things are exceedingly high. For many years Tatu drew his knowledge from the wrong places.
  Of course by the time I came into the picture Tatu had changed significantly from the man he had been and he was a much mellower and engaging person. He wasn't perfect by any stretch, but for nearly ten years he became more of a father to me than my birth father. He would call to talk to me just because he wanted to talk, or he wanted to ask my opinion on something. We shared a common love of old movies and so the three of us (Ben, Tatu and I) would sit for hours discussing them or watching them together. He also had an amazing green thumb and would save me plant cuttings he had started or give me whole plants that he knew I loved and would appreciate since I had a significantly less green thumb. I can't tell you how hard it was for me to give a friend of mine one of his cherished Christmas Cactus plants after he died....I felt like I was betraying him somehow...and it felt like I was giving away a last living part of him that I really didn't want to give away, odd I know, but true. All these things don't seem like much......but when the little girl inside is desperately longing to have a dad love, cherish and dote on her...to listen, actually LISTEN uninterrupted when she speaks and treat her like she has value......it's priceless. That's why, even though I wasn't as outwardly crushed and overwhelmed like I was when Momchu passed, Tatu's passing affected me far deeper than anything I imagined because quite frankly I didn't realize how much I had looked up to him. My adopted (by marriage) dad, the only dad I had really had a real relationship with for ten years of my adult life, was suddenly gone....and with it went my words to write. There just were no words that I wanted to say.

C is for Howard Cunningham, played by Tom Bosley on the popular TV sitcom, Happy Days. He passed away last week and I was so sorry to hear that. Although Mr "C"was a fictionalized comedy sitcom character, he was such a warm representation of paternal guidance and affection to me when I was young.  I used to love watching him relate to his wife, children and their friends as they encountered different issues of life and I remember listening to his advice as if it were coming from my own dad. I couldn't help but wonder if dad's like that really existed out there.....and if they did....what was I doing wrong as a kid to warrant NOT being treated like that by my own dad. Surely it was my fault, my fault for being a daughter instead of a son, my fault for not being smarter or prettier or blah, blah, blah. All those lies that rejected people both young and old hear whispered in their ears and then believe because they've never been told otherwise. If only there were more real life dads like Mr Cunningham.

D is for my own dad.
Can a daughter feel truly loved by her father if the only time she sees him is when he goes off to work or comes home to eat, watch tv and sleep? Does she recognize him as a good provider? Yes. Does she learn to probably adopt the same work ethic, potentially becoming a workaholic herself? Probably. Does she struggle with massive and overwhelming feelings of abandonment and rejection at having an absentee father? ....sadly....very possibly. Finally, does she forget the happy memories that must have been because all she can remember is the times she felt rejected. **sigh** ...usually.
Please don't misunderstand me, I love my dad....I mean I really love him..and long to have a relationship with him.Unfortunately, just like Tatu, he also couldn't give me what he didn't have....if only I could accept that as easily as I did with Tatu.
So here is the big pearl in my life that I referred to in previous posts. My dad.
Do I believe my dad loves me? Yes...even though I sometimes forget that and even though it rarely feels like it. Do I wish he was more like Howard Cunningham...lol, heck yeah. Do I wish he was more like the Tatu I knew....yes, painfully so. My dad's birthday is coming up in just a few days...I haven't sent him a card in years, but this year I decided I'm going to. It's ok if I get no response, and it's ok if our relationship remains stagnant, because this year I won't be doing it in a desperate hope to find my dad's love.....THIS time I'll be doing it because I love my OTHER DADDY....and He wants me to take a step of faith and show the love my heart may not yet feel.
 A is for my other daddy, my Abba. For years I had a really hard time calling God, Daddy. I never called my own dad daddy....it just sounded too babyish to me, and far too affectionate for anything I ever felt in my heart. So the thought of calling God that always sounded immature to me and ridiculous. Although ever since I was a little girl I have felt such a reverence, love and affection for God that far surpassed simply calling Him, GOD....that you would think the term would roll off my tongue quite easily. Well, it didn't....not that I didn't WANT it too...it just wouldn't come off my lips.
Then came time for God to do some intensive work on my "Dad pearl". When we lost Tatu I felt somewhat like an orphan because my emotional dad file was suddenly empty again. Then one by one God began to remind me of the many "dads" He had put in my life to show me the love and affection that my birth dad would have shown me if he were able to. (Now before I go any further, let me say something. I know full well that my birth dad has the physical ABILITY to be a dad for me, but I'm talking about emotional ability here.) Suddenly, over these past several months I have realized that for YEARS I have been overwhelmed with wonderful, Godly men who have loved me unconditionally and poured into my heart and spirit as if they were a dad to me, some of them even though they weren't old enough to even be a dad to me. Men that gave me loving advice and wise council when I needed it, men who just gave me a hug when I needed a "dad" hug. Men like Frank M., Terry B, Sean Q, Ray L, Will M, John R, Bill M and Rich B.....and the list goes on and on.... As I realized that my dad file really WASN'T empty....my heart began to heal and the rejection began to fade. I was finally letting God cover that grain of sand and turn it into a pearl.
Then I began to really open up my heart EVEN MORE to my heavenly dad....areas of my heart that I didn't realize were hurt, were suddenly not hurting anymore and for the first time, quite by accident, that name, Daddy rolled off my tongue one day as I prayed. It shocked me at first and I sat there thinking how much even the thought of using that term made me feel awkward. Then as I sat there processing it I realized there was nothing awkward about it. God really is my daddy. He saved me from an abortion when my mother was pregnant with me, He looked out for me my entire life and continues to do so and He loves me unconditionally. Now it rolls off my tongue without a second thought as I talk to Him in prayer, in fact now it feels odd NOT to call Him Daddy. Interesting how that worked.
**sigh**.........soooooooo all of that to say, I am really back now...back to my blog (although I cannot promise how often my schedule will let me post) and back to life with a new pearl to add to my life strand. Thanks Daddy!!! xoxoxo
So please be encouraged by all of this, because I don't share it to brag to you, I share it to give you hope. If you have a pearl you are struggling with, maybe for years like I have...don't give up hope. Your heavenly daddy is looking out for you, even if it doesn't feel like it and He is going to bring you through to the other side, I can promise you that!

Romans 8:15 (Amplified Bible)

15For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Still Waters Run Deep

Well, this post will be brief. As you noticed, I'm sure...I took the month of February off. I needed silence.....you see even though I have extroverted tendencies, I'm actually an introvert. Which means I draw almost all of my strength from times of quiet solitude....I need that, and love it. Sometimes being around people for me is quite draining and the thought of being alone to just hear the silence....is rejuvenating.
We had some snow this past month, not nearly enough for my taste, at least not where we live. One of the days though we had to go to work and then halfway through the day we closed the daycare early due to bad weather. Before we did that however, I had a few moments to myself as the children slept. I walked over to the window and opened it up to just listen to the snow induced silence.......it was GLORIOUS!! Not a sound anywhere....the entire downtown area was as quiet as if the world were asleep. I stood there looking at the snow fall and breathing in the fresh air and wished I were in that snowy forest at the beginning of The Chronicles of Narnia. **sigh** perfection
SO.......I have been working on a little pearl in my life.....not one that I'm ready to talk about yet, but in time I will. For now I've been doing my best to just let the process move along and not buck it. My experience has been that when I buck it just delays things and Lord knows I don't want that. LOL.
Anyway, on the 1st of February my little brother turned 20.......shocking.......I simply can't believe it's been so long since I held him in my arms and rocked him to sleep. I have so many fond memories of climbing with him through ball pits at indoor playscapes (an entertaining thought if you realize I was 15 years older than him as I did this)  and then the endless hours I spent making up bedtime stories, naptime stories and then ANYtime stories of the adventures of Sammy Superdog and his canine friends. LOL  So many things I remember that just don't seem to have been so long ago.....they were just yesterday weren't they? Hmmmmm.....I suppose not.
Then yesterday, the 28th and final day of February was Ben's birthday. My sweet Bear.........I cannot even voice how thankful I am for the day his mom gave birth to him. It's hard to believe he's been in my life for almost twelve years. He's such a part of me.....I can barely recall my life before him.
Sigh, a good start, and finish to a month marked by love...February.
Anyway, that's all for now....I just wanted to let everyone know I'm still alive and well and so is the blog. We both just needed a breath of silence.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Sugar Bowl

I have to admit, I'm feeling a bit warm and fuzzy. I got my first blog award this week. Now to all you seasoned award getting bloggers this is no big deal. However for me, even though I've technically been blogging off and on since 2005 this is a first. So thank you PJ for giving this to me. I appreciate it! :)
Sugar Doll Award Pictures, Images and Photos
Now, the way this one works is I need to find 10 things to say about myself.

1. I'm a born and bred Southern Belle and proud of my antebellum roots.
2. I'm extremely ticklish
3. I'm a passionate Christian and don't know how people survive without the hope of faith.
4. I am married to a man who still makes me sigh uncontrollably and my heart flutter.
5. I love and get my strength from quiet solitude.
6. My favorite color is candy apple red.
7. I love going to carnivals and fairs, especially at night.
8. I've never been a worrier and have a hard time relating to people that are.
9. I hate talking on the phone.
10. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, L-O-V-E antiques!!! Especially small and unique items.

Then choose ten blogs I would like to send this award to: (Some are getting this because of the depth of the blog and others because of the depth of love I have for them and I know they need a smile.) Please visit their blogs when you have a chance and if you like what you see then please consider following them along with me.
Happy Gal  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Harvesting Pearls

Question: What do you and I, Wayne Elsey and recording artist Melody Gardot have in common?

Answer: Read on and see.

So last Thursday I was standing at my bedside removing my watch and praying about what my next entry here should be. As I got ready to settle in for a night of writing my eyes casually glanced over to a beautiful three strand pearl necklace Ben gave me for Christmas. I stared at them for a moment, thinking ....there was something about those pearls. I picked them up and began sliding my fingers up and down the smooth strands. "What is it about pearls....?" Now, I know how and where pearls come from and how they are made and where they are mentioned in the Bible but I knew there was something deeper, somewhere deeper I was supposed to go with this...so I kept praying.

One of my habits when writing is to collect my thoughts, ideas, photos and tasty tidbits first by throwing them into one massive pile on the page. Then I sort through the page as I sort through my thoughts. It tends to be a bit eclectic like I am....lol. So that night I looked for the perfect picture of a pearl or pearls, next I dug up some facts about how pearls are created. As I read through what I already knew about the process it hit me very distinctly what it was about that pearl necklace that I was supposed to share here at Anthem. By this time however it was pretty late at night and I was tired so I opted to finish the next day.
Interesting how things so simple develop...
The next night, however, I was in the ER. Don't worry, I'll spare you the gross details. Needless to say however, what we thought was food poisoning turned out to be some sort of violent stomach flu (probably caught from one of the beloved sprouts at sprout central) which forced me into 72 hours of bed rest...and shall we say......purging......at home. Something I didn't feel like my busy life could afford, but I am certainly thankful for now....if for no other reason than it opened the door for me to expand what I wanted to share with you about those pearls. Come on...did you really expect me to NOT find the good in it? PFFFTTTT....oh how little you know me. LOL.

So......back to my question.... What do you and I, Wayne Elsey and Melody Gardot have in common?
Well, let's start out by answering who Melody Gardot is. She is a chart topping artist who sings as if her vocal chords are made of velvet. I love jazz and blues and so when I listen to her she makes my eyes close and I wander to a most relaxing place. She also brings out my French heritage...she is American, but her music is reminiscent of everything my Parisian French roots call out for. If you haven't guessed it, I am a fan.
Since I was forced to be home in bed Sunday instead of at church as I usually am I happened to have the television on to keep me and the fuzzboy company as I lay convalescing and I saw CBS' Sunday Morning. A program I have liked since I was a little kid, but rarely ever get to see. Sooo....I'm going to let you read the brief transcript of Anthony Mason's piece with Miss Gardot because it will fill you in far better than I on who this woman is and how she came to be the artist she is today. How Melody Gardot Found Her Voice

 Now I don't know anything about Miss Gardot's personal life other than what I have seen on tv and read, and I don't know what her faith is if she even has any. She may or may not agree with my beliefs...although I would like to think she would, only because it is extremely evident to me that she is a woman who has MUCH to be thankful for. She took a life altering event, something that could have destroyed her...literally, and with much work made it into something beautiful for all to see and share. In short, she overcame.

Now, on to Wayne Elsey whom I also mentioned. Who is he? He's an inspiration...a doer and not just a talker. A man of vision and heart, in my opinion, he's a hero. Not just for deeds he's done, anyone can do a good deed...and any rich man can do MANY good deeds. A hero is defined by the heart of service behind the deed...Mr Elsey knows he has been given much so that he can give much. A servants heart is always heroic, especially when it seeks to always remain humble in it's service. He inspires me beyond words...and he should do the same for you. He is the founder of the massive international charity that is Soles 4 Souls. Someone else my illness this weekend helped me slow down long enough to be reminded of. You may read the brief history of how he started his charity here Soles 4 Souls. As you can see, the life altering events that could have destroyed his own life only propelled him to be the catalyst to take other life altering events that destroyed so many and so much and make something beautiful and life altering for many to share. Another over-comer.
Now by the natural progression of my blog so far you would think my next step is to go to you and I, well...here is where I deviate. Now it's time to jump to that oh so eye opening info I pulled up about pearl farming. Remember what started all of this? That strand of pearls in my hand....I knew there was SOMETHING I was supposed to share about those pearls...and here it is. Yeah yeah, you know, pearls are made when a grain of sand gets into an oyster and blah, blah, blah....second grade science.
Yeah, you're right, but indulge me for a moment. Read this brief little snippet I pasted below from Pearl-Guide.com

The Process Of Nucleation In Pearl Farming

The process of nucleation is a surgical procedure, whereby a foreign object is implanted into the oyster. This object causes irritation, which the oyster counteracts by secreting nacre to surround the object; this produces the pearl.

The Pearl Is Now Allowed To Grow

After nucleating, the oysters are given a few weeks to recover from the surgery. During this time, some of the oysters may reject and expel the implanted nuclei; others may become sick or even die. Most, however, will fully recover. The oysters are then placed in cages or nets and moved into the oyster bed, where they will be tended as the pearls develop. Depending on the type of oyster, this process can require anywhere from a few additional months to several more years!

Finally, The Pearls Are Harvested

Wow....ok, NOW I can move on to the you and I part of this entry.
Everyday, you and I have foreign objects implanted into us for the purpose of causing irritation. Not to make us miserable, but to give us the opportunity to counteract it and create a pearl! We can reject and expel that irritant or become broken, sick and dead in spirit because of it or we can choose the third option and fully recover and create something beautiful out of what once hurt us. It may take weeks, months or years, but if we accept it and let the process take it's course it will develop a pearl.
 I have many pearls in my life that I didn't realize were pearls until this week. I just never thought of them that way, and to be honest sometimes it can be frustrating to try and explain why you're a Pollyanna to someone that only understands Scrooge. I've had people become angry at me and call me names and tell me I live in a fairytale because I am so happy all the time. I've been told I'm not connected to reality because I don't embrace pain and hurt like the psalmists in the Bible did. PFFTT...whatever! I just shake my head because they really don't get it. I'm happy because I CHOOSE to wrap that pain and irritant in the nacre that is my deep seeded faith and let it surround that object to create a pearl. Then when the time is right, I let my God harvest that pearl out of my life. As far as embracing pain and hurt, hmmm...I do embrace it, but in a way that those blinded to it will never be able to understand. Those oysters don't stay spread open for weather and element to disrupt the process and to brag to all the other oysters about "woe is me" how big and horrible their irritant is. Instead they stay closed around that irritant to ensure that the work is completed. I embrace my irritants alright, but not to wallow in the glory of the irritant, but instead to try and keep my focus on the glory of the pearl to be .
It's not just me either, so many others have done and are doing the same. My best friend Beth has had many a foreign object implanted in her life to cause irritants and she has let God harvest a beautiful strand of pearls out of each one. The same goes for my friends Lori, Rae, Erika, Melissa L and my sweet Ben as well as Melody Gardot and Wayne Elsey and most recently the people in Haiti that we are seeing suddenly worshiping and praising God on the beaches and out in the open air among others. We've all had foreign objects implanted into us by the master of all pearl farmers....our choice is are we going to reject them, let them kill us or truly embrace them and let them be harvested into the glorious pearls they were intended to become all along?
Sadly I know many people who have led lives FILLED with objects of irritation and pain and instead of embracing the potential pearl they just lay flopped open like an open oyster whining and complaining about how bad it is or trying to gain bragging rights about how big and horrible THEIR piece of sand is. They have rejected the pearls that could have been because their too busy with the irritant.
I don't know about you, but I would rather die than miss out on any potential pearls because I rejected the irritant. Not that I have it perfected either, I don't, by any stretch of the imagination. There are many irritants that I have to constantly remind myself are just pearls in the making. Those harder ones are just having to take a little longer, but I know that when they are ready they WILL be harvested too. Besides, it's easier to keep that joy when you know that beauty will eventually come of it.
So start harvesting your pearls! Who knows what beautiful creations may be made out of them when all is said and done!

Philippians 1:6 (New Living Translation)

6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Sooooooooo.........I haven't been on in a few days and there's a very good reason. My pitiful little laptop is sick. Yes, Lulabelle somehow got infected with either spyware, malwear or an actual virus. I'm not sure which it is at this point, but she has been sent to the laptop ER and will hopefully be home soon after a brief recovery....sigh. Until then however I'm relagated to sharing Ben's computer when he isn't online or checking my email from work when I'm off the clock. Of course that's fine, but you don't realize how your own computer has been personalized to your own tastes, needs and conveniences until you don't have it. Oh well.....the silver linign is it's giving me more time to catch up on the things I need to do around the house that are so easily set aside when I'm online. So I guess even having my computer become infested with internet critters is a good thing since it helps me get back on track in my non cyber life.

Meanwhile....it appears that Ben and I have entered a season of being stretched in our faith and in our daily walk. I'm not really looking forward to the process, I mean who enjoys having their lives stretched and pulled like Stretch Armstrong. (For those of you born before 1978 you know who I'm talking about) HOWEVER, I am  very much looking forward to the outcome when all is said and done, because I know it will be good. So how do I know this is coming? Well, let me fill you in.

In 2000 I changed careers and went to work for a corporate office. At the time it was the best job I had ever had and honestly hoped to retire there. Six months later Ben got hired at the same company and for just under nine years (I say nine years since it was so close) he and I worked together (something I sincerely miss. Who wouldn't want to work with their best friend?). He also loved his job and hoped to retire there. It was a locally owned international company and we worked in the home office. The owners were extremely employee and family oriented and took care of their employees very well. As the company grew and so did the pocketbooks of the owners, a shift began to take place. Suddenly the once worker friendly environment began to become hostile....and we were no longer partnerring toward success as much as we were the means to their next golf course mansion or yacht. It was a hard pill to swallow in an environment where the owners used to come sit and chat with you about your family and life outside of work, to an environment where they didn't have time for you and you were suddenly beneath them. However, because of the way it used to be most of us hung in there hoping things might return to their previous state of being. Unfortunately, that would not be the case.
In January of 2008 we were all pulled into an office wide meeting and gently told that the company had been sold. The vast majority of us sat or stood in silent shock. We knew something had been amiss due to the influx of visiting executives, but none of us had suspected that. So after a moment, albeit a very brief moment, we were then promised everything under the moon to try and calm the growing fears of sudden job loss. Golden promises of never closing our office and people all being totally secure filled the room, but underneath there was a very present sense of foreboding. So in short time, as feared, the axes began to fall. By November I had given my notice to go and start my career at Sprout Cwntral, because I knew my division of the company would be the first to be completely obliterated. This past Summer what had been my division was in fact wiped out leaving several friends suddenly all out of work. With each passing month it seamed the end of the entire company was imminent, no matter what the new corporate execs promised.
Well, Monday they pulled Ben and the entire remaining company employees, ( a meager 30 or so, down from the 60+ at the time of the buyout) into another meeting. Yep, you guessed it....they were all systematically informed that as of March 31st of this year the office will be shut down and moved to Oklahoma. All those choosing not to chance a POTENTIAL job in Oklahoma or North Carolina will be out of a job.
**sigh** Well, thankfully Ben and I both have a peace about it. We knew it was coming, we just didn't know when. So now we know the when. We know God is going to do something amazing...we don't know what or how, but we know He will come through, He always does. We have been praying for a better job for Ben for YEARS but it just wasn't the time for anything to open up yet. It looks like it finally is now though. Oddly, we're both kind of excited to see what is on the horizon. Of course, being the provider and protector that he is, Ben is doing his best to not be overly concerned, but behind it all, we know God has it covered. Besides, remember that fleece I put out for God? Well, in the conversation I had with Ben that night Ben had reminded me to just trust God and He will cover every need we have. Interesting timing on that don't ya think? Ironically, remember how I said I had another 2 fleece to put out for God before I would KNOW the answer to that prayer I had been bringing to God? Well, lets just say this sudden change of events appears to be the POTENTIAL answer to that second fleece. HMMM........

So that was the first way I know we are about to be stretched in our faith. The second is more personal to myself. At our church I am leader of the hospitality ministry, it doesn't sound like much, but believe me...it entails a lot for a church that has three services on the weekend. I've finally gotten some good volunteers though and have hit a nice comfortable pace which has removed most of the drain on me. Now our church is growing again and we will be adding a fourth service on Sunday, a very good thing, but the thought of one more service to cover is a bit daunting to say the least. So I've given the Lord my word that I wouldn't complain about it, I saw how He provided for me when I needed it before so I know He will do it again, I just have to trust Him. I think I can do that........no, I KNOW I can do that. He's never let me down before, so I have no reason to think He will now. His answer may be different than what I expect, but it will always be the BEST answer if I'm willing to have an open mind.

Soooooo......it will be an interesting journey going forward, but I'm glad I can share it with all of you so we can grow through this together. It should be an interesting ride, and I hope I do my God and my faith justice as I find joy in the ups, downs and middles of this next adventure. No matter what, I will always praise Him even in the face of adversity...He is my joy and nothing will steal that away.

Psalm 34:1 (New Living Translation)

1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
Psalm 34:1 (The Message)
1 I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shards of Glass

So last night I was over at Batman and Rapunzel's house helping her out with her dissertation and having a great time. We always have a good time when we get together and last night was no different.....well, no different until the end of the night that is. So as I was getting ready to leave Ranger needed to go potty, so Rae decided to walk me to the car so he could pee. As we stepped to the end of the sidewalk all of a sudden she gasped and let out a few choice words of frustration, we'll pretend it was "Jesus is Awesome" like I should have been thinking Tuesday when I was feeling that frustration. LOL.
SO after a quick second and making sure she wasn't in labor I turned to see what she was looking at. The entire back window of her brand new SUV was busted out and laying shattered on the ground. A million pieces of tinted glass everywhere. We both shifted gears and she went to get Al and I took care of Ranger. After a few moments we realized that their car wasn't the only car vandalized. There were four cars in their parking lot alone and at least another four or five in the lot behind them. Sadly, one of the other cars in their lot to get hit was also Al's car. Apparently this is a trend that the tenants are getting fed up with, UNDERSTANDABLY. Some punk kids going on destruction sprees just for the fun of it....not cool.
So I hung out to wait till the cops came and I'm so glad I did. I witnessed something that made me so proud of both Rae and Al. This was a prime opportunity to go off on a justified rant and be totally po'd and turn into a beast and yadda yadda yadda.......but instead I saw both of them choose to stay calm in the midst of it, yeah they were ticked, but NEITHER of them fed into the raw emotions and let it control them. Instead they both focused in on God and kept their cool and CHOSE to NOT ALLOW this to get to them. I hope I would have handled it the same way, but I don't know for sure how I would have responded.
    So anyway........as I drove home I was talking to God about this blog entry. No, I'm not crazy or being overly religious, but part of why I'm blogging and part of why I am the Pollyanna that I am is because I believe EVERYTHING, even something like this has a purpose and has good come of it. So if  I'm not passing along what I believe that purpose or message to be in this blog then what's the point? I knew this event was going to be the centerpiece of the blog today but I wanted to make sure I wasn't just retelling a story, but really learning a lesson from it.
So as I drove along and processed the events of the previous hour I kept seeing the picture of Rachel's glass window shattered on the ground, all those shards of glass. I also kept hearing those words over and over, shards of glass, shards of glass, shards of glass. Those shards of glass must somehow represent us...or something we humans do. HMMMMMM.....
So when I got home I decided to look up the definition of a shard, now I know what it means, but sometimes you get clearer insight when you actually pull up the complete definition of a word.
So here we go, ready? Good.
Websters defines a SHARD as a piece or fragment of a brittle substance.

Interesting, but I'm not really feeling a great insight yet, YOU? Yeah I didn't think so.... lets go a bit deeper, shall we?

The definition of the word BRITTLE according to Websters is something easily broken, cracked, or snapped. Easily disrupted, overthrown, or damaged. Frail, perishable, mortal, transitory, and evanescent. Easily hurt or offended, sensitive, and sharp. Lacking warmth, depth, or generosity of spirit, cold.

WHEW!!!!! That is a whole lot of adjectives for such a small word! However, it sure as heck gets the point across doesn't it? Being brittle is just fine when we're talking about a sheet of glass, a butterfly wing or even peanut brittle, but it's NOT fine when we're talking about a person. Have you ever felt broken, cracked or damaged by a person or circumstance? Have you felt the rug pulled out from under you as things disrupt, overthrow or damage YOUR plans? Do you ever get hurt, offended or over sensitive when things don't go the way you wanted or expected? Worse yet, have others accused you of lacking warmth, depth or being cold?
HMMMM.....that requires some painfully deep soul searching doesn't it.....I don't know about you, but in the interest of keeping it real here, I've fallen into each of these categories at different times in my life. In fact some of these I'm still working on, especially when thinking of certain family members of mine. Sorry, but it's true.....blood may be thicker than water, but thickness doesn't always equate quality. I think it's safe to say then that all of the things associated with being brittle are NOT the kind of traits we want to have associated with our own selves.

Now, let's go a bit deeper still.
What would be the opposite, the antonym of Brittle? That would be, robust, healthy, strong. When I saw those words I wondered if there is a translation of the Bible that uses the word robust. Well, there is....and ironically...or maybe not so ironically, there is one verse that in multiple translations interchanges each of those three words to convey the same thought. What does the thought refer to? Ready for this? bitterness, envy, jealousy and runaway emotions. HMMMM.....all things that come out of the emotions associated with being brittle. I think that broken glass definitely conveyed a message, not just to myself but to all of us.
We need to have our focus on God....in fact, we need to be so focused on Him, so robust,healthy and strong in Him and His word, the Bible, that when things hit us like that weapon hit the glass on those cars, we don't shatter because we are brittle.

Proverbs 14:30 (The Message)

 30 A sound mind makes for a robust body,
   but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

Ok, soooooooooo if we are going to have a robust body we need a sound mind. How do we get that? Well, let's go back to the source.

2 Timothy 1:7 (New King James Version)

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Ok, so the sound mind isn't something we acquire, it was already given to us. (Yeah I know, I don't always feel like it either....but tell your fickle feelings to kiss off.) Now, WHYYYYYYYY would we be told in the same verse that we have been given a sound mind, that we also HAVEN'T been given a spirit of fear? Well, for that answer let's go back to the definition of the word brittle.
         something easily broken, cracked, or snapped. Easily disrupted, overthrown, or damaged. Frail, perishable, mortal, transitory, and evanescent. Easily hurt or offended, sensitive, and sharp. Lacking warmth, depth, or generosity of spirit, cold.

I don't know about you, but when I feel those emotions, especially towards my biological father and his less than loving family....they are definitely rooted in fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of betrayal, fear of never being GOOD enough....and lots of others. Well if those feelings are not God given, then I don't want them! Who DOES?!?!?!? So the antidote? The anti-fear, anti-brittle solution?  The only way to get and maintain a sound mind is to debunk fear in all it's faces by dissecting each one and applying the truth in it's place. So here is what the Bible has to say about who I, who YOU REALLY are and the value we REALLY have.
In an effort to save space I will not include the full verses, but here is a link to Bible Gateway where you can pull up the complete verse in any translation and language you prefer.
Bible Gateway Passage Lookup
 I'm going to close with this list, I don't really think there is much else to say after that. Don't feel bad about being brittle, we all have in the past...and we all have areas where we still are. Instead, focus on reinforcing those brittle areas with TRUTH.....the Bible IS TRUTH. That way when things come at you to destroy you and turn your brittleness into shards, you will be stronger and less likely to shatter.

Who I Am In Christ

I am accepted...

John 1:12
I am God's child.

John 15:15
As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1
I have been justified.

1 Corinthians 6:17
I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.

1 Corinthians 12:27
I am a member of Christ's body.

Ephesians 1:3-8
I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.

Colossians 1:13-14
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.

Colossians 2:9-10
I am complete in Christ.

Hebrews 4:14-16
I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

I am secure...

Romans 8:1-2
I am free from condemnation.

Romans 8:28
I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.

Romans 8:31-39
I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.

Colossians 3:1-4
I am hidden with Christ in God.

Philippians 1:6
I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.

Philippians 3:20
I am a citizen of heaven.

2 Timothy 1:7
I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

1 John 5:18
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

I am significant...

John 15:5
I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.

John 15:16
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.

1 Corinthians 3:16
I am God's temple.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21
I am a minister of reconciliation for God.

Ephesians 2:6
I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.

Ephesians 2:10
I am God's workmanship.

Ephesians 3:12
I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


So Monday was pretty non climactic, not a bad thing really...lol. ALthough, maybe I shouldn't say that. It ended on a highly positive note. For about 2 months now I've been praying about something. I believe God has been showing me some things, confirming some things and sending LOTS of encouragement. I'm not prepared to share about it yet, but in time I will. So anyway, I have been keeping it to myself all this time and meditating and praying about it, put out a Gideon's fleece or two. No that does not mean a person is weak spiritually...yes we are to trust God and the very essence of faith is to believe in things not seen....however, sometimes in our sinful human nature a seed of doubt or fear gets in there and we need God to just meet us where we're at. In almost 30 years of being a Christian I haven't had a whole lot of those moments, I usually tend to jump in with both feet and trust for God to catch me, but this is one of those fleece things for me. Not that I don't believe He can do what I'm praying about, but I guess on this one I want to play it safe and make sure I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW..it's God.
So anyway, last night as I was reading the days scripture for the Bible in a year one of the verses leapt off the page at me and it spoke to the EXACT thing I've been praying about. I felt like it was time I finally shared with Ben what has been on my heart. I was a little apprehensive,......ok....a lot apprehensive. Not that he wouldn't support me, but sometimes the things that are important to the female mind and heart aren't on the same radar screen as the things that are important to the male mind and heart. So I prayed and happened to be IM-ing somebody and had them pray too for the best way to broach the topic and that it would be well received.  

Well, God met me where I was at and not only was Ben TOTALLY supportive (Lord I love that man!!) and completely encouraging, but he threw me a curve ball I NEVER really expected by saying, "Fran...what makes you think I haven't already been interceding about that for you?" I think this was the exact moment I experienced my first deer in headlights look for the night. "HUH?!?!!?" He gave me a look like, DUH!!! It took a moment for that to sink in.....hmmm...I don't know....he has so many other things on his plate in providing for our home and other things that no, I honestly DIDN'T think he would be interceding for me on this. HUH....cool God, didn't see that one coming!!!! So because he was soooooooo supportive and encouraging it actually gave me the room I needed to REALLY open up about my concerns, fears and other feelings regarding this prayer request. Ben sat there and listened and reminded me of scripture I needed to be reminded of and offered up ideas and solutions to make this thing work,(I guess he really HAS been praying about this...WOWWW!!!). So by the end of our conversation I had a whole new level of peace about this that I have never had before. Unbelievable...God never ceases to amaze me.
SOoooooo...today I woke up and yep, that peace was still there....sigh....Gideon fleece number 1, wow.....cool. 

SO I went bopping along to work, feeling pretty dang amazing.....and as I stood there chatting with the girls and helped welcome the sprouts in for the day, it happened. One of them had wiggled up behind me on the floor just as the doorbell rang, I went to get it and WHOOP, BANG! My feet did some sort of ankle height triple lutz as I spun around, knocked the child down onto his bottom, and crashed down onto one knee directly on the wood covered concrete floor somehow catching myself on the cabinet behind me with both hands and miraculously never spilling a drop of the almost full iced coffee which I was holding! AND FOR MY NEXT TRICK!!!!!  So I turn around to make sure he's ok, he is, but he's now crying because he has no idea what he just witnessed or caused, but Miss Fran suddenly looks like a cross between a cherry red tomato as she bites her lip and a fish out of water as she writhes on the floor in pain. Thankfully the girls jumped right in. Amber ran to get the door, I think Jess grabbed Dylan and got him out of the way and Allie got out of MY way...lol. I got up painfully and slowly and limped across the room to focus on keeping my mouth shut....OHHHHHHHHH that was a wise choice because I really don't think ANYBODY wanted to hear the colorful things running through my mind at that moment. Let's just say I was feeling significantly less than Christian at that moment and the phrase, "Jesus is AWESOME" was NOT what wanted to come out of my mouth. So I waited for the incoming parents to disperse, Allie asked if I was ok and I still couldn't open my mouth so I just waived my hand and nodded.

She knows me well enough she just said ok and backed away, wise girl. I stood up as straight as I could and limped to the kitchen to get an ice pack. Oh wait, wonder jaws bit into our last ice pack last week so no ice pack in the freezer...AHHH but we had a bag of frozen corn. THAT works! I gingerly applied it and felt my ability to speak slowly return. Meanwhile Amber came to get an icepack for Dylan's leg, oh yeah..wonder jaws....ok so he ended up having a tube of frozen Pillsbury sugar cookie dough applied to his leg instead of ice. Yeah...WE'RE professional! LOL. 

SIGH...........when I was finally able to function again I emerged from the kitchen and sat at the kids lunch table holding my corn to my knee. Amber shifted to nurse mode and thankfully after about an hour the massive swelling and bruising on my knee had gone down signifcantly and I was able to walk with little pain or stiffness. THANK YOU LORD.
I love my life...lol. Honestly....there is never a dull moment....and even though I got hurt....it could have been worse. I could have hurt Dylan, I could have hit my HEAD..I could have broken something....worse yet, I could have spilled my iced coffee......but I didn't. I also could have vocalized the expletives that were in my mind, but thank God I didn't. Yeah I have a sore knee, but thank God we had corn and sugar cookies in the freezer! LOL. Overall...that peace and joy I started out with in the morning....still in tact! God Rocks!
Ok, that's enough for one night. I'll catch you guys later and if you haven't checked out the list of blogs on the left that I follow, please do. There are some really great bloggers over there that would love to have you come visit them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Is the Son in Your Eyes?

Boy, ....for a woman who decided to take the weekends off from blogging I had another moment this weekend that I just had to share.

So one of the things about living in New England is that Winters here are not only cold, but drab. Thickly overcast skies and bland colors in shades of brown, white and gray really don't make for a very cheerful atmosphere. However, they do make you appreciate the sunlight, ANY sunlight, more. After a long succession of drab dark days where barely a hint of blue sky is visible the normal sunny days seem almost glaringly tropical. This weekend we had two of those days. It was still cold out there, but soooooooo bright and sunny, it was WONDERFUL! Driving out in it though, well....when your eyes are acclimated to the dark gloomy palette, AND both pairs of your dark sunglasses are at home because you have to replace screws that fell out...you may feel a little less than thankful for the extremely bright sunlight that's blinding you.

So that was kind of my dilemma this weekend, especially yesterday when I was fighting a migraine. So many times I have been irritable when trying to drive or even when riding as a passenger and it seems that every couple of moments the road curves in such a way that another blinding shot of light finds a space to shoot through causing me to squint and bob my head like some parrot doing the boogie to Rockin' Robin. LOL
In those moments I crave the overcast days because it's convenient and less interfering with MY plans.
Enter my God moment, stage left.
So as we were driving along and I was silently complaining and whining to myself for one stray cloud somewhere over the entire state of Connecticut to get the blasted sun out of my eyes, I had an epiphany. Sometimes those of us accustomed to living in the light are so blinded by the inconvenience of the brightness that we forget what it's like to appreciate the presence of the light at all.
A few years ago during the bleak Winter here we had several weeks of nothing but gray, overcast, dark days.....so many in a row that I remember being in tears because I just wanted some sunlight......ANY sunlight. ( I would NEVER be able to live in Alaska! Three months of darkness....oh no...no, no, no...not for me.) Then late one day we had a break in the skies and the tiniest patch of bright baby blue streaked with the most amazing shades of orange, pink, yellow and red appeared just as the sun was setting. It was the only beautiful color within eyesight and even though it was small and seemingly insignificant in the vast expanse of gray sky, it was GLORIOUS! On that day I would have PAID to have sunlight blinding me!
HMMMMMMMM........So I was thinking.........I was frustrated by the sunlight streaming from seemingly every angle and filling my eyes, but do I shine enough of the light from THE Son that it dispels the bleak darkness for those I come in contact with who are CRAVING light?
Ephesians 5:8 (New Living Translation)
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!
Yeah sure I give off some light, maybe even more than some others, MAYBE, but I would be a fool to ever think it's enough. ANY Christian who isn't constantly growing to be a better example of our faith by truly reflecting the heart of Christ to those around us needs to remember what it was like to be in the darkness and crying out, craving the light. Instead many of us, and I'm including myself because I'm just as guilty of this, get irritated by the inconvenience of our faith. How often do we say things like, "Well I didn't invite them to church because they probably wouldn't come anyway..." or "Well I didn't want to tell them about my faith because I didn't want to offend them..." or maybe some harder to identify ones like "I would have gone to church today, but I'm just so tired..." or "Well I would have volunteered, but they looked like they had enough help..." Then there are the REALLY hard to spot ones like "I'll pray for you..."...and then promptly forget about that when we are out of sight. OUCH....how many of us have done that one?

That verse in Ephesians I posted above says we are to LIVE as people of the light, not just hop in and out of our persona as it's convenient. We need to keep the memory of what it was like to have no hope, have no joy, have no peace burned on the frontal lobes of our brains so we NEVER forget it. That way we will always remember to shine the light of our faith by actually living it, even when the brightness seems inconvenient to us. I need to remember that too......random people, and some not so random are put in our lives and across our paths on a daily basis for us to shine light to....I pray that you and I both reflect a light so bright that they need sunglasses.