Monday, August 22, 2011

Laugh More, Yell Less

This is going to start off with a joke shamelessly stolen from one of those funny lists that someone very funny writes and gets no credit for:

"I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay."

I'll wait for you to stop laughing.  Unless you don't think it is funny...but then, if you don't laugh at stuff like that, how are you still reading my blog?  My sense of humor is best described as middle school.  I am so excited that I now get to share my humor with my high school daughters who laugh at me and reassure me they hear much worse at school and it isn't always funny.  Their respect for me has only shifted slightly...I think.

The real meat of this post is that I have decided to set some very simple goals for myself.  I am tired of beating myself up and never living up to the expectations of perfection I have for myself.  It is depressing.  As I get older, I like myself more and other people less.  I don't necessarily think this is a good thing, but I know it is a fact.  I also really prefer to keep company with people who really like me, laugh at my jokes and 'get' me.  This little change in my life has led to much joy.  It is so much more fun to hang out with people who think you rock than it is too hang out with people who shush you, get embarrassed because of you and look down their noses at your 'failure' to grow up.   AND YES, at least 70% of those people are Christians.  BUT, not ALL Christians are like that!!  There are a whole bunch of us who don't take ourselves too seriously.  We enjoy life and know full well we can only hope for forgiven with a huge side of mercy...perfect is not on our to-do list.

All of that to say this...I am still GUILT driven.  I am aware of it and I am making great strides toward getting over myself.  BUT, I feel like a total hypocrite in most church settings.  There are some Christians that it is just plain dangerous for me to be around.  My inner critic begins to find them perfect and then starts making a list of all the ways I am not and then...I hate them with a consuming jealousy.  Then I repent and remind myself I should be more sanctified by now.  I must love them with the LOVE OF THE LORD.  But, honestly, it is easier for me to love a cussing, drunken chicken hawk man than Christians sometimes.  I include myself in that Christian status...cause I am one.

We just miss it so often.  We miss it.  In our quest to raise perfect children and lead perfect lives, we miss it.  In our drive to study the word, have our quiet time, save the world, and share the good news...we miss it.  We are to be a reflection of Christ.  Christ who ATTRACTED multitudes because of His JOY.  His deep, sincere, radiating LOVE of PEOPLE.  ALL PEOPLE, but especially sinners, lepers and tax collectors which would be translated to modern day as bitches, hos, aids victims and addicts.  In fact, the Christians of His day did not like him because he spent too much time with sinners.  Does this mean Jesus would spend more time in a tavern than a church??  I think so...but don't stretch it too far...He would not be drunk and singing Mister Bojangles with the Karaoke machine.  But, he would love people right where they are.  He doesn't actually get into the mud and roll around in it with us, but he doesn't mind getting some of our mud on him.  In fact, it is that very mud that he died for.

All of that to say this, my focus is going to shift.  I am going to quit trying to hold myself to an impossible standard.  I will no longer measure the quality of my day by whether I was the perfect supermom and submissive wife.  Instead I will talk to Jesus more, laugh more, and do my very best to yell less.  My hope is that I will not harbor so much resentment and stress because I am constantly cracking under the pressure of perfection.

Because, if I am really honest with myself, on my most perfect 'Christian ideal' day, I am not attracting anyone to learn more about the good news of Christ's redemption plan.  AND, I am passing on a stronghold of  'living a perfect life' to my children.  AND too often living a perfect life looks and feels alot more like living a perfect lie which translates into a boatload of guilt. AND, I know there is no condemnation in the Lord because he keeps sending me that scripture...(Romans 8:1)

*from a good and trusted friend who prayed it over me
*in a daily devotional book
*handed to me by two dear Christian friends who would love to see me delivered from my guilt
*spoken from the stage at a Women of Faith conference

Thank you GOD for being so patient with me, a slow learning, guilt crippled sinner seen through your eyes as PERFECTION.  PRAISE GOD!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Sometimes things come along and they refresh us like rain falling in the desert.  That is what this weekend did for me.  I went with one of my favorite people in the world to the Women of Faith conference in Indianapolis this past Friday and Saturday.  Between the bonding with Kimberly(and by bonding I mean hysterical laughing to the point of having sore abs) and the actual conference, I am renewed.

Thomas Nelson was good enough to provide me with free tickets for me and a friend to this conference in exchange for a review.  Thomas Nelson basically blessed my socks off.  Between that and a hotwire hotel called the WESTIN (best hotel bed EVER!!!), the trip was half the cost it normally would have been.  And worth triple the cost it normally would have least at this point in my dry thirsty life.

My favorite speaker was Angie Smith, who not only is a BLOGGER but also a homeschooler...even though my kids are in public school now, I still feel a camaraderie.  Next was Lisa Harper.  She has a beautiful smile that lights up a room!  She told a story about a "nekkid man" that had me laughing so hard that I thought I might not stop.  Then she turned me the other direction and had me crying all in less than an hour.  The whole conference was just wonderful and I am so grateful that everything fell into place to allow me to go.  Special thanks to my darling husband for being me on Friday which allowed the real me to leave early in the morning and make it on time for more sessions.

If there is one of these coming to your city...take the time to go.  I promise, it will renew your spirit. 

I must confess though, coming home after an event like this is hard.  Real life is hard.  Thank you God for giving us reprieves just when we need them.  (AND, new mercies every morning!)

Sunday, August 14, 2011


What a weekend.  We knew two of our children would be gone this whole weekend.  Erik spent Friday night on a date with Lilly to the races while I decluttered round this old house.  Saturday, Erik and I set out to spoil Lilly with a trip to Toys R Us (where she was allowed to spend a $3 coupon plus $5 of mom's dollars)  (hey big spenders!).  TWO toys were purchased from the clearance rack.  One is a science project kit(I blame homeschooling for her science fascination), the other was a whole set of gel pens and a card making kit(I blame homeschooling for her art fascination).  After that it was off to the movies to spend a $15 gift card on 3 tickets to SMURFS!!!  (Wait for the video.)  It was such a fun day. 

As soon as we walked in the door, the phone rang and one of her friends was desperate for Lilly to spend the night.  AND then there were none.  (Children left at home, that is.)  Erik and I met up with my friend Marla for sushi, had a great visit and then came home to an empty house.~

This morning when we woke up, we considered skipping church for about 5 minutes and then we successfully fought that urge.  We had a great afternoon, accomplished alot and then slowly the children came home.  All is well now in sleepville, all the children are snuggled in bed.  I love my kids, but a night without them was pretty sweet!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Painful Memory  I am crying as I write this blog, but probably not for the reason most people do.  This kid shooting up kids in his school was beyond tragic...words cannot even describe how devastating this event was on the school staff, students, members of the community and quite frankly, this whole end of the state.  I don't know anyone who doesn't know someone connected to the shooting in one way or another. 

I had two little babies at the time, Erika was just over 1 year and Kayla was right at 6 months old.  I could not imagine what it was like for parents with school-aged children.  I was so frightened that this could happen and in fact, DID happen. 

Now, all these years later, my heart aches for Michael Carneal more than anyone else.  I never expected to feel this way...he is, after all, a convicted murderer.  There is no doubt that he did it.  He was 14 years old and very small for his age.  He open fired on a prayer circle.  After dropping the gun, Carneal said to another kid: "Kill me, please. I can't believe I did that."   We watched every second of the news coverage, the trial coverage and the news still reports each appeal and also reports on  the survivors of the shooting.  What we don't hear  is how this boy, now all grown up, faces himself in the mirror every day.

My heart aches for Michael and his family because it can't be undone.  I have no doubt that he planned it and implemented it.  It was certainly premeditated.  By a 14 year old boy who had nothing going right for him.  He was tired of rejection and being bullied.  Add to that his obvious hormonal imbalance and maybe even a side of depression.  Oh yeah, lest we not forget, he was a gamer...death and war games specifically.  Introverted into his own little killing world all the time.  So he did it.  And instantly wished he was dead because he could not believe he did THAT.  Instantly, his parents could no longer hold their heads up.  He and his family would never be treated the same again.  ("What kind of monsters would produce such a monster?" was commonly heard.)  And yet, they are not monsters.  None of them.  Just people.  Who did things wrong and right.  No different than you or me.  But some mistakes cannot be undone. 

And so, the announcement for yet another appeal for Michael Carneal today broke my heart into all over again.  God can redeem this boy and I hope and pray that He has...but he will never be free from a hell on this earth brought on by his own mistake.

May God help us all to love the teenagers in our lives and not minimize their feelings.  Sometimes we forget just how strong our emotions were at that age.  We also forget just how mean teenagers can be to one another.  We forget how mean we sometimes are to young people that get on our nerves...sometimes with good reason.  Maybe we even empathize with the cooler, more socially acceptable teens for not wanting to include the weird kid, the introverted shy kid, the nerdy kid, the fat kid, the ugly kid, or the _____kid.  If we do though, shame on us.  All people are created in God's image and that means something.  ALL PEOPLE are God's.  AND, if I read my Bible right, he has a particularly soft spot for children.

Please send up a prayer for Michael and his family.  I don't condone his actions.  I don't see what he did as anything but 100% wrong.  But I can imagine how badly he wished he could turn back time. AND  My heart aches for him.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


The little ducklings are all at school today.  Nervous and excited and loving every minute of it.  Oh, they claim to hate school just like every other child in America.  But, I know they love it.  How do I know?  No one could sleep due to the nervous energy in the and dad included.  Everyone was up at the crack of dawn.  Clothes carefully laid out last night were donned and then changed and then tweaked.  No one wanted clothes that scream NEW, but no one wanted to repeat outfits from last year either.  School supplies were packed carefully.

This morning's breakfast casserole was devoured and mom hopes there was enough protein to get them to lunch.  Poptarts were also provided so children would not be tempted to pay 75 cents for one in the breakfast line.

I think about this public school decision all the time.  I do not regret homeschool.  I can still argue both sides of the coin.  BUT, I do know this, my kids love school and that makes me feel good about the direction our life is going in and good about all the years I invested in homeschool.

Did I mention that I have just spent one whole hour enjoying the morning cool of our air conditioning and savoring the bliss of solitude?  As the day wears on, the cool will become less since it is hotter than hellfire and brimstone in Kentucky right now.  I will go out and finish the last of my two stores today.  BUT, this solitude will last the entire day until 3:15ish.  AND, tomorrow it will begin again.  Lest you be very jealous, know that from 3:15 until bedtime it will be a crazy madhouse.  There is cross country practice, supper, homework, last minute projects, last minute shopping and family stuff.  All crammed into a ridiculously tight 4 hours or so.  And this solitude is what will make it all possible. 

Gotta go change out of my referee shirt and into loungewear.  Now, where did I put my bon bons?