It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What is fun?

I really like Facebook. I'm a bit surprised how much I like it but it's great to keep up with friends especially the ones that I don't get to see very often. I love looking at the pictures that my friends post of their kids. It's wonderful to see how their families have grown. I'm happy for them. After all the work they've put into their families, that their almost adult children are still bringing them pleasure and excitement for the adventure that is their future, makes me realize the worth of all the hard work and prayer. Some of my friends have become grandparents already - YIKES! It is fun to see them with their grand babies and more fun to see what they have decided to be called. Gone are the days of Gramma and Grampa. I wonder who I will end up being.

What I don't like about Facebook is how many times I've felt like almost everyone is having more fun than I am. I have almost always thought that everyone else's family has more fun than our family. I think son #2 feels the same. I don't know what makes one family more fun than another. I don't know what makes a family more cool than another either. I don't think we are unreasonable parents and I try to be as welcoming as I can be. Maybe I don't have enough junk food. Maybe the house isn't big enough. I don't know. Maybe it's the moving. We just haven't established relationships with our children's friends and therefore have very few really close relationships with them. Maybe that will change the longer we are here. I hope so.

But I really wonder if my feelings of inadequacy in the area of fun will ever change. I'm really not bothered by much but I am bothered by this. Maybe I've let my kids get under my skin. I don't know. All I know is that I want to be more fun. Maybe I need to figure out the definition of fun first. I am not sure what that is. Anyone that's read my 25 Random things will know that I don't use the word fun very much. The definition of that word is not very broad to me and there aren't many things that I think are fun. Maybe that is the foundation of my problem. Maybe I'm too serious. Michael accused me of that years ago, many years ago. I guess I've not fixed the problem still.

Looking back on my childhood though, I'm not sure I had a lot of fun. I have a tremendous amount of adventure and experiences. To be honest, it wasn't an easy life but I'd only give up the poor decisions I made as a teenager. Most of my upbringing helped mold me and led me to the place that I am today and for the most part (except for fat thighs) I'm pretty happy with me.

So maybe I need to keep my eyes open for how to be more fun. I definitely think choosing Buffalo Wild Wings over Arbys is more fun (sorry boys but I had nothing to do with that decision). So, being that I recognize this gives me hope.

I rarely see the fun in things. I see implications, consequences, situations... I need to spin fun. That will be my challenge. I think I am going to work at that seriously - no, bad choice of words... I'm going to work hard at seeing the fun in what goes on in this house. I'll let you know what I come up with. Pray for me - pray for my kids. Who'd have thought that having fun would be such a hard thing...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Refi Reveal

So we have been going out of our minds working to get everything we've ever wanted to do to our house done. We've done months worth of work in 5 days. There were breaks for church, school activities, basketball games, and of course, Valentine's Day. But none of those breaks were rest for me because I just spent my time thinking about what I needed to do. I really couldn't enjoy myself and that's not a good thing - ever.

We've been working like this because we are refinancing the house. It's a good deal for us but we didn't really have a huge interest rate to begin with. The only problem is that appraisals aren't what they used to be. The appraiser made it very clear what he was going to look for and that it wasn't going to be any different than an appraisal for a house that was going on the market next week. UGH! It's not that we have a problem with that... well, we do have a problem with that, after all, it's not like we are putting our house on the market next week. Actually, we are hoping that God would see us as permanent residents here just as we do. We don't see ourselves moving any time soon (I've said that before...). So we felt like we should just dive head first into everything and just finish it all now.

I have been painting for days on end. I love to paint - rooms that is. I will leave the artistic stuff to my friend Molly and my mom. But I am officially sick of it. One day I was painting over the marks left by the two bathroom mirrors that Michael ripped - literally - off the wall. There was much patching and sanding that evening and after hours of drying the wall could be painted in preparation for two beautiful framed mirrors just perfect for the room. I thought about that appraiser and all that he was going to be looking for. It's not like he's going to ask us to take those mirrors down to prove that the wall is in perfect condition behind the mirrors. Actually, he's going to assume that wall is perfect because it looks so good from in front of the mirror. The truth is that the wall is fine but even with two coats of paint you can still see the nine places where the drywall had to be fixed.

Those marks on the wall can be hidden from anyone who looks at the finished room. But we know the truth. Behind the beautiful mirrors now hanging above the sinks are walls with permanent damage. I wondered how many times I appeared like that to people. The reality is that I am very good at being "beautiful". Not beautiful as you and I may define it but "beautiful" in the sense that no one would know if there was anything "ugly" going on in my life.

No matter how hard anyone tries though, God knows. We can't hide it from Him. Just as Michael and I know the truth behind the mirrors, God knows the truth behind our smiles. It's rare that I have days like that. I've lived long enough that I put just about everything into perspective and rarely let things so alter my state of being that I have to fake a smile. But I know a lot of people who do. It's a sad thing. Either they don't feel secure enough in any of their relationships to let someone in, or they don't believe God knows their heart. Either way it's a tough road to walk. We can only hide our true selves for so long. Eventually God will reveal the truth to those around us. It's our job to not let it get to that point.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Coach

Today was an interesting day at church. To say I was tired is an understatement. I have got to set some kind of rule for myself regarding when I go to bed on Saturday nights. Being that tired just isn't fair to my family or to God. Consequently, I was almost unconscious for most of the service. I sort of felt "dreamy". At one point, our worship pastor was introducing a song and telling us, the congregation, that this was our time to lay ourselves at God's feet. To come to the alter to pray. And only a few notes into his song, people came. It was a wonderful thing to see my brothers and sisters in Christ make themselves vulnerable. Some of them I knew well and I knew exactly what they were beseeching God for. A husband went forward and hit his knees. I was almost in tears as I watched his wife come after him, almost running to embrace him while he prayed. I prayed for them, hoping that he was asking God to build their marriage into what it was "before". Then the teenager came. He was a tall, extremely handsome young man. I only know him to see him. Not much about his family but the youth group had just returned from a retreat, I was hoping he was laying himself before the Lord, committing all he is to Him. Then she came, the girl who finds herself at the alter every time it's "open". The girl who goes down front to "recommit" her life every time it's suggested. I want to run to her and put my arms around her and ask her who in her life is making her feel so insecure. The young daughter of a friend of mine rushes to her mother's side at the alter. It's the most precious thing I've ever seen. She may not even know what her mom is praying about but she knows that her mother needs someone to stand with her, to lift her prayers to heaven with her. I feel my eyes begin to well up at this point... except... my eyes are drawn to strong, powerful hands raised to the sky in the front row.

It's the coach. To be honest, I don't know this man at all. But the incredible thing is, I don't have to. Everyone knows his booming voice. Everyone knows when he's in the building. A believer on the other side of the world would recognize him as a brother in Christ just by the look on his face. Even if he's not smiling, the joy of the Lord flows from his eyes.

I have a great friend who's the pastor's secretary. I was in her office one day when the coach came in to say hello. Being there for the 10 minutes he visited was one of the best days of my life; hands down. He quoted scripture with such authority and confidence. He laughed as he shared about a discussion with a total stranger and marveled at how the Holy Spirit could lead even him to someone who needed to hear the Word of God. He loves being a child of God and you could tell that his entire being constantly praised Him. I even wonder if his blood cells cried out praises to God.

He left as joyously as he came in. The coach, according to my friend, was going through some struggles. Some things were going on at the school he coached at and it's not been easy on him. She didn't go into detail. I was floored. HE? THAT GUY? The COACH was having some serious issues? "You have got to be kidding?" I said. She smiled, she knows him far better than I. Apparently that's his "blue" demeanor.

What a challenge that man is to me. As I watched from across the sanctuary I saw a man who raised his hands to the Lord with such all-encompassing love and devotion that I wasn't sure if he was raising his hands or wrapping them around his Savior's neck. My tears and sadness for those at the alter almost immediately dried up. The coach had me laughing under my breath. Had I not caught myself, I'd have laughed out loud. I suddenly looked at those people at the alter and realized that all of them, regardless of what they were beseeching God for, if they truly understood who God is, would soon be sitting with the coach on the front row lifting their hands high to their Holy, Heavenly Father. They too would realize that in spite of their heavy hearts, their Father was right there with them lightening their load.