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So we recently saw the movie 'The Help' and I just loved it. I know there was some language, but honestly, I think it was appropriate for the situation, and very true to life. My favorite line from the movie was the encouragement that the main character gave to the children: You is KIND, You is SMART, You is important. I want my kids to know that.
And that just about sums it up.
But the most important thing is for them to be kind. To everyone. All the time. Especially their brothers or sisters. It is easy to be kind to strangers. You only see them for a few minutes. And unless they cut you off in traffic or are rude to you is some way, most people at least tolerate others. And even open the door for you or let you go in front of you in line if you only have one item. But how do we respond to the 'rude' or 'difficult' people? Especially when they'll never know. How do we react when someone cuts us off in traffic or takes that parking spot we have been patiently waiting for?? Or that person on their cell phone who isn't paying attention to the traffic signal? Sometimes I have an easier time with this than at other times. But I try thinking about what they could be dealing with. Maybe they just got bad news. Or maybe they need to get home because their kid has been hurt. I try to offer them the same kindness and courtesy that I want someone to offer me when I do something stupid. Which I do. Regularly. Perhaps that is why I can offer them kindness. I have come to realize that I am so flawed and I think of only myself and how things that other people do affect me way too much. I fail to realize that I am not the center of the universe, and contrary to my thinking, the person did not deliberately try to make me angry or upset. They just did whatever they did without thinking about how that might affect others. Like me. Like I do so much of the time. So I try to offer them the same grace and mercy that I would want them to offer me. Cause next time, it will probably be me doing that aggravating thing that ticks him off and gets on his last nerve. Or maybe I will be ahead of you in the left lane driving 5 miles below the speed limit, talking on my cell phone. And before you get all upset, try to imagine what news I might have just gotten. Maybe none. Maybe I'm just oblivious and obnoxious. But regardless, I need grace and mercy from you. And the other drivers. And when you get zoom around me and cut me off, I will try to do the same.
But why??? Why be kind??? Because it is the right thing to do?? Well, yes. But its more than that. The Bible says, "we love because he first loved us." If we know how much he gave up for us, how he lived and died for us, and that he did it all because of his great love for us, what other response can we have? It is not a matter of what we should do, but what we are constrained to do because the love of our Savior. It is the LEAST we can do.
Still standing Amazed,
Wow! I can't believe I have not blogged in such a long time! It seems impossible that 5 months have passed (well, technically, not 5 months yet, but close) since I last wrote something on here. What a bad blogger I am! But I haven't been without excuse. Here are the top reasons I have been silent:
1. My oldest daughter, now 28 decided it was time to go back to school and finish her degree that she started 10 years ago. She moved to Savannah in early September to go to the Art school there, and that was a huge adjustment as well as a busy time for the rest of us. And seems like she was home for the weekend for more time than she was at school!! (no school on Fridays made it easy!!)
2. Homeschooling happened. Even though we did not blog about it, we did it. And did guitar and piano lessons, and history, math, reading, spelling, and more. We took pictures. But they are still on my computer. I will share them soon.
3.Thanksgiving. Need I say more??? But I will. #1 daughter finished her first semester Nov. 17 and was home until Jan. 2. Wish I had that long of a break from hard stuff!! But that meant more things to do to add to the list. And food to cook. And laundry to do. Good, but busy time.
4. More travel. We went to Disney with my niece and her family from Ohio. Right after Thanksgiving. So much fun but busy. Pictures to follow....sometime.
5. Injury. Right after we got back from Disney on December 4, I was using the mandoline to slice some potatoes (you know where this is going, don't you??) and sliced a hunk of my middle finger off, as well as slicing my index finger and my thumb on my RIGHT hand. And I am right handed. It took 3 weeks to fully heal. I really lost some serious time there, because I couldn't type at all for 2 weeks. It is all better now, except it feels really funny....like the nerves are exposed or something. You can't tell by looking at it though. And every day it feels a little better.
6. Christmas parties. Several to host. MOPS here at my house December 12. And our annual Christmas breakfast for our neighbors on Christmas day. That was fun and huge. Thankfully my fingers were healed by then.
7. New Years and Alicia going back to school. She wanted us to accompany her back to Savannah, but we just couldn't. We didn't have the time that week, so....
8. More travel. We went to Savannah for MLK holiday. Left last Thursday. Back on Tuesday, late.
So here I am, finally, without excuse anymore. Except, the real excuse, the real reason is LIFE. It is just so daily. And this blog just seems to go by the wayside. So What I've decided to do is:
Join my friend Lain for her LOAD challenge. This is for scrapbooking, but I am going to use it for blogging my scrapbook pages. I hope that will help me with consistency and with digging into my memories because if I don't share them, who will?
One thing I learned while teaching literature to my kids is that one reason for reading good books is that the author is the only one with his perspective on the story he is telling. He is truly the only one who can tell that story in his way. And the same thing is true for me. And God has been showing me how he perfectly directed my life to lead me to where I am today. Sure, I've had hard things happen to me. But my perspective in hind sight is so much more than what it was when I was in the throws of the event. So I am the only one who can share that with my family, friends and with you.
So I hope you'll keep reading. I promise I will be a better blogger. It is my commitment to you, and to my family. And to my God. His story is worth telling. And reading.
If you want to join me for the Lay Out A Day challenge (LOAD), I would love it so much. Just click on the link.
Still standing Amazed,
I read a profound blog post on(in)courage, on of my favorite blogs that I read daily, and I think it will forever change my life....
It was called "Why Weren't You Moses?". In a nutshell, the author, Angie Smith was reading a book about St. Francis of Assisi called Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron. In this post, she eloquently related something simple, yet something so profound: God made us the way we are, to minister to those he has put around us JUST AS WE ARE --- WHO WE ARE RIGHT NOW.
He doesn't need us to change to do the job we are called to do right now. He needs us to depend on Him.
Which means: My church, my friends, my family ---- they need me.
NOT someone I hope to be someday.
Not someone I compare myself to.
Not just anybody.
Not anybody else. JUST ME.
HE put me THERE, in that position I feel so inadequate to fulfill. In fact, if he would have wanted someone else to live in my shoes, they would be.
This means I don't need to compare myself to someone else. Not my best friend, my pastor's wife, or even my husband. I don't need to worry about what I don't have, or feel I have been equipped for, or that someone else could do it better than I can. It also means I don't have to have the most verses memorized, work in children's choir or sing on the worship team if he didn't call me to do it. I don't have to know all the journeys of Paul, or all the Beatitudes in order to serve where I am called. That stuff fills me with pride anyway, and he has to smack me down when that happens. (I don't really have to worry about my pride in the memorization arena. My mind seems to have found the delete button and has started eliminating important information on a regular basis. However, I can still remember all the lyrics to every song from the Mary Poppins movie, as well as a host of other 60's and 70's hits. I guess my brain thinks that is priority information. I don't agree. Remembering where I laid my keys down would be much higher on the totem pole in my estimation. But apparently even though it is my brain, I don't get to choose what it remembers at this stage in life. My theory is that the hard drive space is all filled up, so it has to dump stuff in order to remember new information. Unfortunately, I don't control what it remembers and what it forgets. Where was I anyway??)
I have so much stuff. Coming home from a trip always brings that to the forefront. We have to unload into the house, and put everything away. Thats when I realize how much stuff we have. And I am not satisfied. I want the latest gadget, and everything I can afford to make my life easier. The trouble is, there is always something else I think I need. But I am realizing that nothing can give me the contentment that I have in Christ. And the more I have, the more I have to maintain.
We had a friend in Michigan who used to say: "the price of ownership is maintenance." And I am so bogged down right now with maintaining, that I never have time to do the 'fun stuff.' I don't want to make a mess doing something I like, because I will have to clean it up. And cleaning that up on top of all the other things I have to clean up and maintain adds more than I am willing to do. And I have so many things to choose from. Paper crafts, sewing, cooking, writing and other things, that my mind is too cluttered to think of what to do, much less make the mess it requires to do it.
And this is not even considering the time and energy it requires to maintain all this stuff. I don't want to have people over because I will have to shove all this excess somewhere, or actually find a spot for it and put it away. And I am so tired because I have to maintain so much that I cannot even imagine having new people in my house. And that is not right. We are created for relationships, and I feel I have a real gift for hospitality. But I can't use my gift when there is so much stuff that people can't get in the door.
So what can I do? Repent. Thats the only solution. What does it mean to repent? Literally it means to turn around. If you find yourself going in the wrong direction, just turn around, ask forgiveness, and begin going in the right direction.
I have been so convicted and convinced that this is right, that I think it is going to be easy.
First, I need to purge and donate.
God keeps providing me with places to donate that which I no longer wish to maintain. My clothes, shoes, purses and wearables are going to church. Things that I like the fabric but maybe not the style, if I can, I will repurpose, or recreate into something I like.
Pantry items that are shelf stable will also go to the food pantry at church. There are so many people who can't afford food right now, and I can afford extra. Why do I stockpile food when the Bible clearly states: "give us THIS DAY our daily bread?" A week's worth is what we need. We have 6 people living in our home, but enough food for an army. I need to share when I go to Costco and get 3-6-12 in a pack. I will never miss it, and those who need it will appreciate it.
Books are going to the hospital for their library. Homeschool stuff to the 'fire closet' for those who have had an emergency or cannot afford good books.
Kitchen and misc household items will probably go to Goodwill. Or wherever God leads. But I cannot continue like this. It is driving me crazy not to have room for things. Or time for reading, writing, or playing games with my kids without feeling like I am robbing from my 'free time' for myself.
Second, I need to discipline myself not to buy.
The key to this lies in being satisfied in Him. I have known for a long time that when I feel sad, I shop. I am like the girl in the movie "confessions of a shopaholic", except my need is not for designer stuff, its just for something pretty, something new to me, and something that fills the void. But it never works. It just creates something for me to have to clean around, clean up or put away. God has been so faithful in this. He has been clearly showing me what it is ok to buy, and what I need to leave behind in the store for someone else. Yes, I said leave behind for someone else. Thats what I am learning: if I buy it, the person who needs it cannot have it. Even if there are 19 of the items on the shelf. If it is not for me, I need to leave it there.
Also, What I have is enough. Too much, even. I cannot play with my kids, make cards for other people, and even enjoy life when it is this cluttered.
God is preparing me for something. I have no idea what it is, but maybe we will be able to travel spend more time on the road when we do not have all this junk in our lives. Maybe that's not it at all. Maybe it is just to have time to let myself have fun instead of feeling like I need to work all the time. I don't know. But I do know I am excited to do this.