Sunday, October 30, 2011

God is God

Thursday, I was smacked upside the head with God's sovereignty. 

Almost ten years ago, my sister died of leukemia.  I was very angry and I did not even want to think that God could use this for his purposes, for his glory.  I was too disturbed that something so painful could happen in my life and he could use it for good. 

I've gone through a lot in the last nine and a half years.  And, recently, I'd finally become ready for him to use that portion of my life for his plans.  I was ready to permit him to do this.  How audacious and naive is that?  Low an behold, God didn't need me.

I started to attend a Bible study a few weeks ago out of obedience to God's prompting.  I didn't not expect anyone to know me or anything about my sister.  The third study in, I found out that there were several women in my study that were affected by Sherri's illness and ultimately her death.  One of them, in an extremely personal way.  My sister's husband helped her through a difficult time when she had to endure the death of someone very close.  Her intro into sharing this with me was startling, like mystery being revealed, like God gave her the words that would capture and mystify me with his glory.  She said, "I have to say this.  Before our first Bible study, I knew you."  The realization that we were linked intimately through my sister before we ever met exposed a fragment of God's perfect, intricate ways.

So, here I was thinking that I was finally ready for God to use this tragedy for his purposes. (How gracious of me.)  But he was SOVEREIGN.  He did not need me.  I was smacked upside the head with his sovereignty.  It's as if he said, "It's great that you're going to let me use you now."  (And I am going to let him use me.)  "But I was going to use it anyway, whether you cooperated or not."  You see, he is sovereign and he will work all things together for his good, regardless of me or anyone else.  And I am so thankful for that.  Thank God that it is not up to me being ready.  God is greater than that.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Beyond "The Cloud"

Even Windows "The Cloud"  can't help this kid.  Apparently The Cloud allows you to merge pictures of groups of people so you can take the best shot of each person.  Which shot is the best of this silly kid on the left?  Seriously!!!  What a ham!!!  (Love ya kid!!!)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Listen Up!

I need to be a better listener.  I've been working on this for decades.  When I say listening, I don't mean hearing and understanding the words another is saying; I mean hearing another's perspective: one's heart, one's concerns, one's joys... really hearing and listening.

I was reminded of this while reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  In the words of Dumbledore: "Ah, Harry, how often this happens, even between the best of friends!  Each of us believes that what he has to say is much more important than anything the other might have to contribute."

Lord, help me be a better listener and not believe that what I have to say is more important.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Review: Codependent No More

On a recommendation from my mom, I read Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.   I read it in hopes of learning how to communicate with some people in my life better, but on the advice of my stepmom, I decided to look at it from the perspective of my own relational flaws as well.  Thanks to my moms, I discovered some key ingredients to being a happier person.

The book was written primarily for people who are regularly involved with alcoholics, drug addicts or people with other severe addictions.  I am not one of those people.  It would seem obvious that I was enlightened about people in my life who have lived through that, and that was defiantly true.  What I did not expect is that I would learn tons about myself.  I would like to submit that this book has something for everyone who has relationships with people.  Unless you are a hermit, deserted on an island or in solitary confinement, this book has something for you.

I learned how to not take things so personally.  Other people do things their way... "let them" (as my beloved sister used to say.)  I don't need to control other people or make everything about me.  I can let go.

I can be free to be me!  Sounds easy, but I still haven't mastered this.  I do now, however, have a new grasp on letting myself fail and being more confident in my own decisions and more comfortable with myself, my strengths and weaknesses.  I am who I am.  I am always going to try to improve my character and live to higher standards than I did previously, but I'm not at the end of my journey yet.  I am still growing and learning.  I am going to cut myself some slack.  I will be okay with where I am at.  I am okay with me.

I can make boundaries and stick to them.  I don't have to be everything to everybody.  It is okay to have boundaries to preserve myself and take care of myself.  I still will care about other people and their needs, but it is okay to take care of myself first so I can be the healthiest person I can be.  That can be a priority, and it should.

I can feel my feelings.  They are my feelings, they are not wrong, they are real.  But I will deal with in an appropriate manner and move on.  I will not let my feelings control my actions.  There is tons more about all of these and other ideas in the book.

All this stuff may sound simple and like no-brainer information, but I think many of us don't execute these things regularly.  Beattie explains things in a way that empowered me to make these things a reality.  I'm happier than I have been in a long time and I plan to stay that way.

If you're looking for a book about having healthy relationships of any kind, read Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Mom Story...

My oldest son isn't with me today.  He spent last night at my parents, a delayed birthday tradition. There was a snowstorm during the first attempt.  This date was the make-up date and Eddie was not about to let anything stop him this time; not even a broken arm.  We talked about rescheduling, but he was resolute.

Only 24 hours after breaking his arm, he departed for Grandma and Grandpa's (a.k.a. Baba).  Eddie is a very sensitive kid; as in he is very aware of his needs and emotions.  So, he knew he needed to be cared for and loved right now, while the pain was still at it's worst.  Plus he is grieving the loss of his passion for the next 2 months, Taekwondo. 

I have to say, I am really struggling with the fact that it is not me providing that for him.  I feel bound, I feel restricted.  This is uncomfortable.  I should be caring for my baby.  I know he is in amazing hands.  My parents are truly wonderful.  Still, I have this deep, uncontrollable need to care for my hurting child.

It's strange, the timing.  This isn't the first time he ended up at Grandma and Baba's at a pinnacle point in his life.  Four years ago, he witnessed another Grandfather (his namesake) pass away.  It was the night before Eddie's birthday, the night before he was going to spend the night at Grandma and Baba's.  That time we also discussed cancelling, and it was hard to let him go, but that was where he was meant to be.

There are some very clear moments in my children's lives where I feel God is at work.  It seems obvious that some events were planned and happened just as they should.  For Eddie, these moments when he ends up at Grandma and Baba's seem fall into that category for sure.  I'm sure he will never forget the nights he spent there when he needed love, support and reassurance the most.

I think I'll feel unsettled until he returns to my care, but he is where he is supposed to be and I am thankful.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Dirty Sock Blog

Let's talk about socks. Dirty Socks.  They are all over my home!
(Disclaimer:  No photos in this blog are staged.  No socks have been tampered with, augmented, situated or otherwise manipulated.  All photos are candid, as is, discoveries.)

When the kids were little, expected things were left around the house, for sure.  Sippy cups, stuffed animals, blankets, toys.  I anticipated that with having little kids.  Now my little kids are bigger kids.  They are developing autonomy and focused thinking.  For example, one will be so focused on relieving his raised body temperature that he doesn't even pay attention to where he is discarding the dirty socks that he is removing!  Seriously.

Exhibit A - The Kitchen Table
        Exhibit B - On Top of the Dresser
Exhibit C - On The Toys
Exhibit D - Next to the Shower

Exhibit E - In the Living Room

Exhibit F - Next to the Wii Fit Board

And last but not least, my all time favorite, an American classic...

Exhibit G - On the Floor.  
Right in Front of the Hamper.

My boys are 12, almost 10 and almost 8. I have a feeling that this will be a part of my life for many years to come...    Lord help me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Photo Fun

Thanks to The Pioneer Woman, I have been getting more creative with photo editing.  I recently purchased Photo Shop Elements, but have not been able to load it onto my retarded, decade-old computer, so all of my editing has been done on the decade-old Microsoft Picture It.  I guess it's just as well since I still am overwhelmed with our Photo Shop Elements at work.

She has a flower photo assignment right now, so I went to the archives for photos to edit.

Looky what I did...

Before Edit

After Edit

Before Edit


Before Edit

After Edit

Photography is so much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I'm just beginning.