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

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Just let me have one more week...

I so want to enjoy one more week... 
     Usually I take down my decorations by now...
          Usually I am ready to move beyond the holiday...
               Usually I am tired of looking at, feeling, smelling 

This year I just want One More Week to bask in the glow of my Savior's birth...

Then I will pick myself back up and shake out the cobwebs and push forward into 2011. 

But, until then, one more week will taste as 
                                     sweet as honey.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas...

Our biggest challenge this season is to put the focus on Christ, where it should be. And even more difficult is to put the focus on Easter within this Christmas celebration. After all, He was born to die and in dying gave us life.

I think this year I am going to ask my kids to share what they would do if they were kings and queens. I am sure that none of them would say

                       "become poor, live a life of great hardship, be restrained from being all that they have the power and authority to be, and then die in the most offensive manner for all to see for people who, even though they say they love you push you aside for the majority of their lives only to call on you when things don't go their way"...

 Perspective; something we clearly lack most of our days.

I pray that you and I change our perspective in 2011 and put our King on his throne.

Merry Christmas to you and a prayer for an exciting and Christ honoring New Year.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Who Inspires You?

So, Facebook changed my wall page again. I am pretty frustrated. Just when I was getting used to the old new one now there is a new new one. One addition to the Info page was "Who inspires you?" Mysteriously,  they don't allow you to just add any names you want, you have to add names it's database recognizes. So, unless it's someone like Tom Cruise or the Pope or John F. Kennedy, then you can't add a name.
Well, that just doesn't work for me. I'm not inspired by the people that we often see in front of our faces on the Theater Screen, TV screen, or in Magazines and Newspapers. I admire the people that live lives just like mine and yet manage to do or be or accomplish things that I think know are amazing because I live their lives and I fail miserably at what they are successful at. And all those successes are honorable, lovely, pure, and good.

(For example... my friend Karen: )

When we lived in Charleston, SC we went, one year, to the Air Show at the Air Base there. I watched as the Blue Angels flew those planes at speeds that I can't comprehend and although I know they were yards apart, to me they seemed inches from colliding. At that time Michael Jordan was "all that" and I remember thinking to myself, "Why do people make such a fuss about Michael Jordan when these are the guys who should be paid the big bucks and held in high esteem."  After all, those guys not only entertain us but they would drop everything to protect our country; with their lives if necessary.

I am inspired by a little girl who, days before her 4th birthday, laid stone still in the dentist's chair while the profusely perspiring dentist had to pull one of her front teeth because it had been damaged by a fall. All the while the hygienists and I, her mom, held back tears as we watched her tears stream down the outside of her eyes and down the sides of her face. Then, only 6 months later, this same precious little gift from God held back perfectly acceptable screams of pain and terror as she was sedated in order to remove her left pinky toe because she got too close to the weight machines her brothers and father were working out on. To this day (5 years later) I am amazed at the bravery such a little girl had within her and I still see this bravery solidly a part of her. And I wonder, in the depths of my being, why God felt the need to create such a strength in her. And I prepare myself for what I can only imagine will be the molding and shaping of my only living daughter.

I am inspired by two sisters-in-law. They have nothing in common except... CANCER. One ovarian and one breast. One had to undergo a year's worth of Chemo, twice in 5 years, and in spite of losing her hair and being sick as a dog, she didn't let the lack of complete healing deter her. She picked herself up and chose to find another avenue. Today she is a Master Chef with one of the premier Raw Food and Natural Healing organizations in the world. She is starting her own business and teaching others how to prepare their foods more naturally and what to look for in foods that might be dangerous to our bodies.

The other was blessed to have her cancer discovered before it was necessary for advanced treatments. She still had to have radical surgery and her recovery wasn't easy. Just a few years have gone by and she has recently finished her first half-marathon... at 50.

I am inspired by a friend who struggled for a couple years not knowing how to convince her husband that she was trustworthy. Month after month he pulled away and no matter how much she tried to love him he saw just the opposite. And day after day she prayed. On her knees, on her face, crying to God for answers, for guidance...not to change him but to change her. And week after week I sat amazed as she would tell me of her pursuits of holiness, of patience, of striving for the marriage she knew was there but seemed unreachable. And then, one day, out of the blue, he got it. A year later we still can't understand what happened, what led him to realize he had bliss sharing the same home with him but he did and so we say... It's just a God thing.

These are just a few of the people that inspire me. They have names like Kate and Pam and Na and Sandy and Karen and if I gave you their last names most of them would be unrecognizable to you. Facebook wouldn't let me enter them because their names are meaningless to those who programmed it's database. But, honestly, that's OK because they wouldn't be appreciated for who they are.

 But to me: They make me hang on, dive in, and look up.  

... and Toto, too.

if I ever

go looking
 for my heart's desire again, 

I won't look any further than my own backyard.

Because if it isn't there, 

I never really lost it to begin with. (Dorothy, Wizard of Oz)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Please don't hold it against me.

I have to be honest, I am a Calvinist. And before you stop gasping, there's more... I'm a 5 pointer. I'm not writing this to invite anyone to explain why I shouldn't be or how mistaken I am or what scripture I'm ignoring to bring me to this conclusion. It took 15 years to come to this realization and there's nothing that is going to change my perspective.

 I am writing this because I realized something about myself while reading in my quiet time this morning...that there is no way I would have come to Christ on my own. I would have thought He was a bit over the top for me. While reading Luke 10:21-24, I realized I'd have been one of those who would have shied away from him, assuming there was at least one or two who hung with him for awhile until he got to be "too spiritual" for them. Actually the more I read, the more I learn, the more I hear from others the more I realize that my coming to Christ would have been impossible for me, in my sinful state, to do. I am way too all about myself to succumb to and submit to all that Christ demands of me as his disciple.

It was almost scary reading that scripture, I'd not seen before what I saw this morning. I imagined Jesus having a serious but subdued conversation with his special ones, telling them what authority they had when they needed it and then, suddenly he breaks loose in this over the top praise and worship time toward heaven. Nope, there is no way I would have hung around for that. It would have embarrassed me. I would have quietly escaped unnoticed - hopefully. It was at the moment I read that that the heat was put to the wax and sealed for me what I have known for years. I, Karen Farhart, in my sinful, selfish, me-focused state, could never have chosen on my own to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. E.V.E.R.

I am glad for that shock. Going to a Southern Baptist Church these days, the "old guard" don't like people like me. Some think I am part of a big problem because many of the younger SBC Seminary grads are coming out of school Calvinists. I can't quite figure out why it's such a scary thought though. Do they really think that the average Calvinist would end missions? I mean really... Calvinism doesn't supersede Scripture and God's Word is very clear on where we go and what we do. I know some on the extreme would consider it but generally the extreme don't end up in the SBC sanctuary.

I think a Calvinist has a phenomenal understanding and thorough grasp of God's Sovereignty. If we don't believe we can accomplish anything apart from Him, especially our salvation, then it's easy to rest in His arms regardless of how questionable our circumstances.

I needed that reminder, the image of a naked, undeserving me, having nothing to offer and yet the God of the Universe reached down His invisible hand of Salvation and grabbed me with a vice grip and brought me into His Everlasting Kingdom. For that I am eternally grateful and will never be able to serve, honor, glorify Him enough.

And that leads me into another gut-wrenching topic for another day... can I, as a "blessed" American, really serve, honor, glorify Him at all? And if I can, what does that look like? That is an issue that is eating away at me like a vulture picks away at the dead prey left for him to endlessly nibble on.

So yes, I'm a Calvinist, I am out of the closet and although I am way beyond wearing it as a badge of honor, (although, to be honest, I am dying to buy one of those nifty TULIP T-shirts) I will confidently admit to it if I am "caught" in conversation. Please don't hold it against me, love me in spite of it.

Friday, October 29, 2010 a flower in a compost pile.

This is how I have felt lately... I found this flower growing in my compost pile. Flowers aren't supposed to grow in proper compost piles. What does that tell you about mine? I have all kinds of excellent intentions but I rarely carry them out to the proper conclusion. So, even my compost pile is ineffective.

But, still, it's filled with our garden cast-offs, cut grass, and sticks and leaves that have dried out and need to be put somewhere. There's not enough decomposition going on so it's just a pile of outdoor trash. But somewhere in the pile was exactly what was needed to grow these morning glories. From the depths of a pile of junk something pretty, albeit not unique or special, grew up and out for me, and anyone else to see.

I feel like this because I know the truth about who I am. I am disappointed in who I am, I think I always will be. I do know though that because Christ lives in me there is something beautiful that is growing somewhere in the depths of my being. I would just like to see it. I would just like to, one day, feel adequate to be the mother of my kids, the wife to my husband, the child of my Lord. Maybe it's just as well. So often we get to thinking we are "all that" and screw everything God has worked so hard for (in us) up. I guess the important thing is that we realize WHO we are here for, WHOSE work we should be about, and WHERE we are headed. If we are too happy here, as aliens and strangers, we miss it and lose our Kingdom vision.

Or maybe that's what I tell myself to make myself feel better. I don't know that, right now, I have anything to say or to think or to feel that will make me change my focus or adjust so that I see things about myself any differently. I guess it's just that time in life, some call it a mid-life crisis, some others may call it introspection, I just call it a whole lot of disappointing confusion about who I am and what I'm doing. No, it's not one of those "I have to find myself" events. Geezzz, shoot me if I ever speak those words. But I do find myself struggling as I view my life the way God must see it and wonder if He's even remotely happy with me.

Maybe that's the O.N.E. thing He is happy about... that I am not complacent, not satisfied in myself, not so sure of myself that I think I have it all together. Maybe by going through this time of questioning He knows I will come out on the other side more like the mom, wife, woman of God, He wants me to be. Maybe the one thing I have to come away with is not just realizing that I feel like that flower in the compost pile but here on earth I AM that flower in the compost pile of sin and decay. Maybe what I need to be reflecting on is how to practically live amidst the compost and be seen and enjoyed in order to bring HIM glory.

I am not sure how to do that. I am not sure... well... about any of that in today's culture and economic climate.

But I do know this. He will never leave me or forsake me (Josh 1:5). I am His masterpiece and He prepared things for me to do, I must not be worthless to Him (Eph 2:10). I must be able, with His Holy Spirit to accomplish those works.  And if He chose me before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4), He certainly knew the kinds of ups and downs I'd have. He surely was prepared for my inability to do what He really wants me to do. He surely realized that I'd get caught up in this American Dream and complacency of this American Christianity. Yes, I believe He is not at all caught by surprise.

I am though...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The joy of cockroaches...

The most important person in my life isn't here... she's far away. And I haven't seen her in years. Maybe 18 years. I would give a lot to be even an hour away. I think I'd get insight and advice and encouragement from her that I'd want to drink in daily like the MacAlister's  unsweetened tea that used to have me in it's grip.

She's important to me because, through her blog... the most beautiful blog I've ever seen ( I have lived her life, or as much of it as she'd let me. And I've realized a lot of things about me - good and bad. I admire her in more ways than I've admired almost anyone in all my 47 years of life.

Ironically, her name is Karen, too. But right now, at this very moment in time, except for knowing completely the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, there is little else we share. A year or two ago there were a lot of things that we could discuss that we'd laugh about and realize the commonality in all of it. But her world has since been turned upside down and well only I am upside down. Interestingly, I get the impression that in spite of her world she is anything but upside down; she's standing firmly on her own two feet.

I know, if she were to comment on any of this she would remind me that it's not her that is standing so firmly but the Holy Spirit in her which is all the more reason that she is important to me. When I read what she writes I know that everything about her is focused on Christ. I know that the perspective she takes daily is because Christ lives in her and I know that she lives an "in spite of" life because she has an eternal perspective that has left her free of the hindered life. She has walked through the narrow gate and down the narrow road and although I know that there were times she was teetering on the edge, she persevered and has since found her balance and no longer looks to the left or to the right but straight into the eyes of Jesus.

She has encouraged me in more ways than time allows me to say. One thing though, I am taking more pictures. She is a masterful photog and I marvel at her work. I can produce occasionally good pictures of my kids and the shocking "Wow, that picture turned out pretty good" photograph once or twice a year, but she... well, she's amazing. And she's artsy-craftsy, in the way I wish I was. She's made me want to have pictures of things that bring me joy on my hard drive just to have around "in case". So I spent my very early morning taking pictures of stuff that may be meaningless to you but not so much to me. Or pictures that I know I will want to place strategically in my future blog posts.

I hope she sees my adding more pictures to my blog as a compliment to her and not as "copying". Nah, she won't even consider it from a negative perspective... I think she'll be happy for me that I am storing pictures away to bring me joy later. I think she will be really happy to know that what she thinks are her simple words about her struggles with life, the joys, the pain, the adventures, the inconveniences, all give me in a very odd way, a glimmer of hope that when all is said and done I too will wake up one morning and be able to find happiness in cockroaches.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening...

Whose woods are these I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

No one would argue that this Robert Frost poem is most likely one of his best. Tonight, it became the definition of my life. Until tonight, I couldn't articulate why I have felt the way I have and why I seem to fight who and what I know I am.

Tonight, I was simply watching Criminal Minds. A show that I really like but I find gets increasingly disturbing every season. At the end of each show the character most focused on throughout that episode has a short soliloquy and often ends it with a famous quote. This night the show ended with "But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep." And suddenly, in the midst of ironing one of the 2500 shirts piled on the chair beside me, I began to cry. Well, that's how it started anyway but as the tears began to flow, the complete and total understanding of what I had just heard sunk in and crying turned into weeping.

I have this poem in a children's book that is beautiful but I couldn't bear to take the time to weed through the hundreds of books lining the shelves of our dining room turned library, I ran to the computer to look it up.

And as I read I remembered all the bizarre explanations of what Frost meant by "this" and "that". What a way to ruin a great poem. No, I am convinced I know exactly what the rider on that horse was doing.  He was a man of action. One that was typically in demand and on the move. Obvious, because his horse was confused by the premature end to their mission.

It wasn't an end at all though, it was a respite, it was a wish that bubbled up from the depths of his being. He had been there before; he had ridden past that place many times. But on that night, that deep, dark night, the snow reflected off the moon in just the most wonderful way that even he, a man of many responsibilities couldn't resist.

And he stopped...

He stopped and took it all in.

He stopped, took it all in and realized that he'd been missing a lot. He realized that there was more to his world than what he knew living the life that he chose to live. He realized that should he have the time to slow down, breath deeply, and really look at the beauty of the world around him, that somehow it all might be a little different.

And yet...

He couldn't succumb to the temptation. He had made promises and a man of action, mission, and honor (which he must have been because he rode away from pleasure for work) must not sit idly by in a dream world but must forge ahead to fulfill the commitments he had made. And he appeared to do so without resentment or hesitation.

And what brought me to tears? Realizing that I am that man but that I don't have the honor that he had. I have made those commitments; my own important commitments. What I do have is the resentment and a hesitation that only exacerbates the helpless feeling I am currently wrestling with.  I want those commitments to go away and I want to stay basking in the beauty and quiet and unencumbered nature of... well, nature... and my own selfish desires.

I want more than my requisite 15 min of vitamin D each day, but home-school beckons.
I want to sleep later than 6am regularly, but the puppy whines.
I want to do what I want, go where I want, eat out whenever I want, but the children, the husband, and
the budget require my presence and self-restraint.

I want to sit out in the woods on a deep, dark, snowy evening, wrapped in a warm blanket with a huge cup of hot tea watching the snow glisten off the moonlight... alone... in complete quiet... for an amount of time of MY choosing ... lost in my OWN thoughts...

but I have promises to keep
       and miles to go before I sleep
              and miles to go before I sleep.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Psalm 68:3

Look it up. It's good for you. I'll wait.....

OK, so you are asking what word in that verse do I care enough about that I am willing to write a whole blog on? Actually, it's the word that varies depending on your translation and to be honest, varies depending on any particular day, time, or present company (or lack of company). It's the word Happy. I am trying to decide if I want to remove it from my vocabulary, at least where it describes me. I have already eliminated Fun but that's because I have as much use for that word in my life as I have for my appendix. Oh, yeah, I had that removed 8 years ago. I think Happy should join Fun and my appendix in the abyss of worthlessness.

I know, you are asking yourselves, "Is she PMSing or what?"... no, I'm not but all this probably began then. I can get too introspective... or maybe not too... maybe just right. I think we all should take a good look at ourselves honestly. We like to think about ourselves positively but we aren't always being honest. And I realized something about myself a couple of weeks ago... I am not Happy. Actually, I am the furthest thing from Happy.

At first I was really bummed. I hate thinking that about myself. I have a great life, great kids, great home, great friends, great memories... I have no right to even speak those words... I'm not happy. But the truth is what it is and I have to decide what, if anything I have to do about it.

I laid in bed a couple of nights thinking about the reality of not being Happy. And then, the question popped into my head... "Does Scripture even mention the word?" Off the top of my head, except for some versions using Happy instead of blessed, I didn't think so. I really didn't spend time looking thoroughly through the Word of God but I did do a quick scan and there are a few but mostly Happy is used instead of some other words and not correctly translated. Psalm 68:3 is about the only one that really uses that word and means it.

The deal is that Happy is really a temporary feeling based on immediate circumstances that can change in an instant. I've seen my own kids go from laughing to crying in a matter of 20 minutes.

So, is it something that I should even be pondering? Let me think about other emotions that Scripture speaks about... Love... there is a lot that I have for people and a lot of people that have it for me. Joy... yes, to be honest there is rarely a moment that I wouldn't use it to describe my inmost being. Peace... that passes understanding, baby! Content... I'd be sinning if I said I wasn't. So, who really needs Happy?

I think I least I feel like I do, just right now, just at this time in my life.

It may be a temporary emotion that can't be counted on to carry me through like the previously mentioned emotions can, but for some reason I can't break out of a funk that has been hovering over me like the dark, rainy cloud that hovers over Eeyore, Pooh's ever-depressed donkey friend. I do think I have been given a glimpse into what I need to do to get a handle on the way I am feeling. (frankly, I find it hard to believe I am devoting an entire post to "feelings" UGH)

I am 47 1/2, and yes, the 1/2 matters as much now as it did when I was 3. Only it makes me feel worse not better.I have aches and pains that scream "You are a pitiful old lady". I have 4 children of varying ages who are going in different directions and need me emotionally more than they ever have. I have begun this school year with my school-aged children at home so I am now their teacher. I have a husband who will be 50 in a couple of weeks and if he were to say he is not bothered by that he'd be lying. I have a home that is wonderful, beautiful, and incredibly cluttered with no light at the end of the tunnel. I have 20 lbs to lose by Christmas that will most likely go the way of all other previous attempts - my hips and thighs - they are very happy there. And to all this (and so much more) I have added a puppy. Here's the kicker... I HATE RESPONSIBILITY. I am very good at it but I hate it. And on Sunday one of my Pastor's told me that I had to give it all up to God.

There's only one problem, God gave it all to me... I don't think He's got a tithing plan for responsibility... I think He's expecting me to handle all of this, I just don't think I am handling it right. I feel sure I have been ENTRUSTED with all this responsibility not DUMPED UPON.

So, here's what I think the permanent solution to get back my temporary emotion is: change my vantage point. "A position that affords a broad overall view or perspective, as of a place or situation."

So, let's review from a different vantage point:

I am 47 1/2... most people are shocked when I tell them that, they think I am much younger.
I have aches and pains... but I know that I can change my eating habits to aid in eliminating that pain and if need be there's always medicine.
I have 4 children... who need me... I think taking out the negatives from the original sentence makes all the difference.
I am homeschooling... Praise God that I live in a country/state that allows me to do this. What a difference it will make in their lives.
I have a 50 yr old husband who is bummed... we've been married 27 years and he's still alive and kicking...
My wonderful home is a cluttered mess... I have a home, 'nuf said.
I have 20 lbs to lose... I have what I need to nourish my body and more,
I have added a puppy... truth be told, he's a wonderful animal who has added a lot of joy to our home and Kate needed him
I hate responsiblity... Obviously God thought it was just what I needed and that I'm perfectly capable of handling it.

Thanks, I needed that... I think I will put up a Post-it Note (b/c, after all, I am the Post-it Note queen) to remind myself to adjust my vantage point each morning before I confront the world. That should bring a little Happy back into this old woman's heart.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Ignorance is bliss. My mom used to say that all the time. I had no idea how right she was when I took this picture. I was 17 and a Junior in High School. What did I know? Well, I thought I knew a lot! Funny how you look back on pictures, events, experiences, adventures and you realize the truth you thought you knew was a lie.

I bet I don't go a week without saying that phrase. I wonder if she even realized what she was saying all those years ago. Truth be told, she was so young then. She was only 38 when I was 17, I am just shy of 10 years older than that and I have only just realized in the last several years what a blessing ignorance is.

Like so many other women I know I was always anxious to know the "scoop". It's not really that I couldn't wait to tell the world and be the first one to do it as much as I just hated being "out of the loop". The more I knew about stuff in the family, at church, in the neighborhood, etc. the more I found myself stewing. I couldn't let it go. I thought about what I knew day and night and it was especially bad when I couldn't unload this information on anyone. Thankfully, my husband made it clear that I wouldn't be hearing any scoop from him. Not only was it illegal and unethical to share it with me but if he told me he'd have to shoot me... (not really, well, maybe...).

What made me realize the blessing in ignorance was an event at church in which I honestly stumbled upon some information and shared it with ONE friend. Before I knew it, that one friend shared it with someone else who had an ego problem and was livid I knew something he didn't. Keep in mind, I found this out very innocently and shared it innocently... I ended up caught up in an egotistical drama that had me feeling as though I was being scolded like a school kid. I think that was the turning point for me. I decided that I liked the idea of shrugging my shoulders much more than finding myself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

That was over a year ago and I am a happier person because of it. I try to stay away from information that is not necessary to my life and the life of my family. I try to stay away from the people that insist upon gossiping, spreading rumors, and being the first to tell the world anything. And when I find myself there I just try to keep my mouth shut and find a happy place in my mind to fly off to.

To say it's not hard would be a lie. We all have this desire to know stuff. At least women do. I do love to have the scoop and I do love to be the one to "correct" the wrong story because I know the right one. But nothing good comes from it... nothing. I remember when we found out we were moving back here from West Virginia. I was so excited, I wanted everyone to know. That wasn't hard because I knew the 2 women to tell that would most quickly spread the word. It took 15 minutes from my email to them for me to start getting phone calls. Granted, I was thrilled people were happy about us returning to MS but if I knew I had the reputation for spreading information like that, I'd have been mortified.

If I have ever had that reputation, I hope I have proven that I'm not that person anymore. It's not that there isn't worthwhile information to disseminate. After all, if a friend's child is ill or there's been an emergency, I'd want that to be spread far and wide for intense prayer. Otherwise, though... there's all kinds of information that we can live without knowing. My brain has enough running around in it. Other people's problems and behavior can find another place to dwell.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

At 47...

I hate getting old. No, really, at 47... believe me, it is old. I just uploaded my wedding pictures to my Facebook page and I was reminded, as I scanned them and then auto adjusted them to get rid of the yellow tinge that had permeated them, just how young, thin, and pretty I really was. Of course I had no idea at the time just how wonderful it was to be young, thin, and pretty.

It all really hit me the other day when I realized that my bathroom mirror had been lying to me for years. I found myself staring into the decorative mirror that is in my kitchen only inches away as I cleaned it. Why I hadn't noticed before, I'm not sure but I looked... O.L.D. I couldn't take my eyes off just how bad I looked. And then I couldn't stop thinking about how sad that made me feel. I had to just face the facts and admit the truth. I was no longer the youngest one in the room as I used to be but now I am the oldest. Almost every time I find myself in conversation I am the oldest. I really think one day I am going to cry about that.

When I get up from sitting for more than 15 minutes my feet hurt and my knees scream to stop trying to straighten. After a night's sleep I barely stand up straight upon rising and if I do it's not without pain. I have age spots on my hands and cheeks and I'm afraid to admit that my ankles are getting thick. Could I really one day be the butt of jokes about "cankles"? Please Lord, let it not be so.

A recent Gall Bladder attack got my attention. For the girl who never even had heartburn I thought I was having a heart attack. It was on the way home after a two week trip to Ohio to see family when it happened and it's a pain I never want to experience again. The blessing behind it is that during that trip my sister-in-law Na introduced me to the Raw Food Lifestyle. She found that after two rounds of Chemo for Ovarian Cancer, 5 years apart, that how she took care of her body might have a lot to do with how her body took care of her. I learned a lot not knowing how much of it I would soon put into practice. God was gracious and allowed that attack to happen only after I was securely in the home of my good friend and her husband who are both medical professionals. But as I stared at the clock at 1:23 am, I promised myself that I would never eat the same way again.

It's odd what God uses to get our attention. It's also odd when we look back over days, weeks, even years to see how He's prepared us for that particular place we find ourselves in. So, at 47 I am looking at everything differently. I have learned from my body that if I want health from it I have to give it healthy things. I have learned from my sister-in-law that it's not hard to be healthy I just have to be committed. I have learned from my friend Karen H. that life is too short to dwell on the bummers but to take hold of the best of life and run with it. I have learned from the tragedy of a dear couple at church that every moment with our children must be treasured because we are not guaranteed tomorrow. I have learned that my mother was right when she said "ignorance is bliss" and "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it". And I learned from my own experiences this summer that it may be easier just to sit and be comfortable but it's not the most fun and inevitably I'd be missing something spectacular.

So, this year I am homeschooling my two youngest and delighting in the fact that my two oldest haven't flown the coop yet. I have forsaken my innumerable lunches with friends, my afternoon snoozes, my shopping trips, and my hours of doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to. I have decided that I have to take care of me and part of that is taking care to enjoy my family and my life. It's been hard. I'm inherently lazy and selfish. There is a lot of work involved in this and I have committed myself to my kids in ways I haven't done in years. None of this is new to me but it's shocking how my "inner brat" is fighting me.

What I have to learn, at 47 is that it's time I appreciate what I have and who I am. It's not all about being young, thin, and pretty - although I still yearn for those days I will admit - it's about so much more. It's all good. It's all hard. It's all how it's supposed to be. I will muddle through and be the better for it. I won't regret a minute of it in the end and I'll be thankful for a heart that desires obedience to God more than trying to dismiss His call.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

“DECIDE, v.i. To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set.

I knew it had been awhile since I posted but didn't realize the last time was the first of 2010. Wow. I hate that I'm such a procrastinator. I look for that trait in my kids and try hard to quash it. What I am realizing is that some traits are just there to stay. Born in, bred in, heck, I have no idea, they just aren't going anywhere. And me? I go to bed each night playing out how the next day is going to go and seeing the checkered flag waving at the end of the next day only to awaken so tired that attempting to fight off the impulses that would bring me down seems impossible. And almost before I begin my new day, I'm disappointed in my outlook. A month ago that would have led me back into my bed, or worse, to a half gallon of ice cream and a spoon. This month has been a different story. I am fighting it, with all I've got. I may be an inherent procrastinator and type-B personality but I know that I don't have to succumb to the negatives of those traits.

Last night, about 9, I decided to take a walk. My oldest son, Drew, almost 20, after working an 8 hour shift at Chick-fil-A on his feet chose to go with me. I felt guilty about it but he wasn't going to let me walk in the dark alone. Being that he is leaving for the Air Force in the next several months, I relish each moment with him so I didn't try to talk him out of it. Plus, as a man, he should have that reaction as a natural part of his being, I was glad it was an instant reaction on his part.

Drew and I have a special relationship. He is me with testosterone. Sometimes I feel horrible about that, he's got all that I hate about me. It's gonna be a long road to work through. But we also have conversations that could last hours and we both get tremendous joy from them. Last night it was all about his desire to know for sure that he had a place in heaven. What it really boiled down to was his understanding that he never did enough to please God. It wasn't really a works thing so much as it was a relationship thing. He knew his quiet time left a lot to be desired. He knew that throwing a prayer or two up before bed wasn't sufficient. He knew he wasn't always mindful of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Knowing all of that, was he worthy?

I had to admit it brought a smile to my face. I was delighted in my heart realizing that he had questions about his end of his relationship with Christ. I realized that those questions would only lead to increased holiness as he plowed through his daily time with God and worked at carving out more time to build the most important relationship he will ever have and the one that will sustain all others. I found myself pulling from memory a conversational technique one of our former pastors impressed me with; questions. So, I asked him questions. I asked him questions to help him clarify his faith for himself instead of relying on my words to reassure him.

In the end, the flaws of procrastination and a type-B personality reared their ugly heads. Just as I had been wrestling with those same issues in my life of daily housewife rituals, he allowed those negative traits to impact his relationship with Christ. Add to that the grace-heavy American perspective on sanctification and he had been cooking up complacency. Just as I had decided to fight what was keeping me from achieving a better and more effective day, he was going to have to choose to fight that which was keeping him from having a better and more abundant life in Christ.

For Drew (and maybe for all of us), holiness is the key. The deep-down need to grow the sprout of holiness that is pushing through the flaws, moving it aside to stretch out and grow closer to the Son. Water and sunlight and fertilizer aren't the answer here. It's study and prayer and deeper relationships with other believers. Throw in a mature Godly mentor and he's got the makings of a spiritual walk like he's never imagined.

It was a conversation given to us by the Holy Spirit. It was one I was chewing on for awhile. I have no fears for his safety once he leaves here and gives his all to fight for the freedom and liberty bestowed on us by our Creator. What I do ponder often are the decisions he makes when he has no one but himself and God to answer to. I pray this conversation helped him to consider his decision-making process before he leaves to make his way on his own. Maybe when decision time comes, it will be easy to know which fork in the road to take because he'd already studied the map.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year Everyone...

Just a little note to say Happy New Year. It's been fun to read what some of my friends are planning for themselves this new year. I am excited for them. I am very poor at making resolutions, mostly, I think, because I am relatively unmotivated. MJF makes 3 or 4 at the beginning of any given year and within a week he has achieved his goal. It makes me want to slap him silly.

This year I just want to keep my family happy. Going back to school has presented a whole host of difficulties keeping my home in order and I will have to create an organized system like never before. I'm thankful for the Flylady ( in that area. I also have to lose A LOT of weight. More than I have since having kids. I am counting on Bruce Ammons ( and Atkins ( and Couch to 5K ( for help in that area. I'm also committed to cooking more at home which I hope will help the bank account. That is the hardest challenge for me since I am not a good cook and I am very bored with it. Of course the more I try to enjoy myself with the chore, the less my family enjoys what I serve. I have yet to find the help I need with organizing my meal plans although I've been given a couple suggestions from friends. I will probably end up with index cards and the grocery store fliers to help me in that area. Of course my studies will take the most work and I have included study time into each day's schedule. I am counting on my brain to keep me at the current 4.0 I am at. I am also counting on prayer to keep College Algebra from ruining that 4.0. Most importantly though is supporting our church family in the Bible reading and scripture memorization planned for 2010. Ironically, although it will be the easiest, most enjoyable, and most beneficial to the whole family, I know it will be the most challenging of all to keep as a daily part of our lives. Why is that?

There's a lot on my list but it actually fits. I add in a couple hours once a week to scrapbook and my weekly visit to Kate's school library to help shelve books and our Wednesdays and Sundays at my favorite place on earth - Colonial Heights Baptist Church - and I have a schedule that, should I enlist my Holy Spirit given fruit of self-discipline should provide all that I and my family need to end 2010 happy campers.

Today I feel excited and motivated - tomorrow I will feel something very different. And that, alas, is the problem - FEEL. I have always struggled with succumbing to my feelings more than following what I have known to be necessary. Setting goals and writing To-Do lists have always ended in bitter failure because I am not motivated by those things. Actually I am not sure what motivates me at all. So in spite of the list I gave previously, encapsulating all I must accomplish in 2010, the reality is, there is only ONE thing I need to accomplish. I need to end my insistence of allowing emotion to dictate the direction I go. I know how to set good goals and write good To-Do lists. I need to look at them and work them and stop thinking and start doing.

So, in 2010, I am going to find out how to tap the promise of Self-Control that I have been given as a child of God and use it. I will let you know how I manage. Pray for me. It could be a rough year!