Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Tale of Two Fridays

What an amazing difference a week makes.

Friday a week ago I was in a funk. Nothing was necessarily wrong as a matter of fact many things were right, however I was in a funk.

I was up at weight watchers. By over a pound.

My husband was in a funk about his job.

My dog was limping and whining.

I tried to return something to a store and did not have what I needed.  And since I DETEST returning things, having to do it and have it not be successful is doubly painful.

It’s winter. I hate winter.

So there I was in a funk. Such a funk that even though I had a million things on my mind and time to spare I didn’t really write a blog post.

Forward to this Friday. Actually let’s start with Thursday.

This past Thursday I woke up and we did not have heat. We were out of oil. It was cold. I was a little put out but what are you gonna do?  I built a fire set up the space heaters and was Thankful for a home. I was also thankful that so many friends of mine offered up their warm homes.  And then I was thankful Thursday night when the heat came back on.

I also realized something, my mother in law didn’t reach out and offer her home. Because she doesn’t have to –reach out, I mean. We know. We stayed there after our house fire in 2001 for three long weeks with two noisy little boys and another on the way. Then after hurricane Sandy we showered there only because Brian and I both had to be at work in NJ, otherwise we would have stayed then too. We know we can pack up our necessities, animals and children and show up at their door and be welcomed with open arms. She doesn’t have to call because we know we can always go home.

Then Friday came, and my husband got some really good news about a new job.

I was down at weight watchers.

My dog is healthy.

I was looking forward to company we were having for the weekend and to celebrating Lizzi’s birthday weekend!

The main difference between this week and last I believe is my attitude. Last week I was in a funk. I was feeling overwhelmed by life.

This week, waking up to no heat really makes you take stock of your life and what’s really important. Heat in New Jersey in January is really important. Friends who care enough to invite your family (that’s 6 people and 7 animals) into their home is really important.

Being reminded once again God is fighting the battle with you and sometimes in spite of you is really important. 

The other lesson I was reminded of this week is that God did not call us to do this on our own. He called us to be in Community with one another. We are called to come together and help each other. That is how we show God’s love and that is how we ease the suffering of this world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Are you Pleased?

There's a song by Chris Sligh entitled, "Are You Pleased?" It's got a haunting melody, and it reminds me of some of the Psalms where the singer is begging God to give His Approval.

I can really relate to this song. Maybe I relate to this song a little too much. I've spent years praying these words (and many others just like them) to God. And I've spent decades feeling not worthy.

Are You pleased with me? 
Am I everything You want for me to be?
Am I drawing closer to You?
Is my heart deciding You are all I need?

Oh, are You pleased?

And then on Friday, a Bible verse popped up on my Facebook feed.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." Mark 1: 9-11
And something clicked in me. I had an epiphany moment. So I pulled out my Bible, and I went through the Gospels and I checked. And I checked again. Surely, I was wrong. But nope.

So as Jesus came up from being baptized, God says, "I am pleased." 

But Jesus had not done anything yet. 

No miracles -- no disciples -- not even resisting temptation yet. 


He just existed.

God was pleased with Jesus before he did anything. And since Jesus came to show us how God feels about us, God is pleased with us BEFORE we do anything.

God is pleased with me just for existing. Just like I can't do anything to make God stop loving me, I don't have to do anything to make Him love me. 
God is pleased with me. No matter what I do. 
He loves me. 
He loves you. 
He loves your neighbor whose dog poops on your lawn. 
He loves the abused and broken woman. 
He loves the entire population of the local prison (and every prison, real or imagined).
He loves everyone.
Just like He loved the demon possessed man.
Just like He loved the Woman at the Well.
Just like He loved Mary and Martha 
Just like He loved the woman who grabbed His robe to get healing.
And the man lying by the side of the pool.
And the guy whose friends came on his behalf.
And Zaccheus sitting in the tree.
And all of his disciples.
And Mary Magdelene.
And Judas.
And to this day, He loves us all.
All the people in the world.
He created us ALL.
He has seen life happen to us.
He knows why we are who we are. He has a front row seat to all of our struggles. Every single one. He was there too. 
He knows us even better than we know ourselves.
And he still loves us.

So here's my new anthem:
Blessed are you, walking on waves
To find yourself sinking when you look away
Blessed are you, leper, standing alone
The fear on their faces is all that you've known 
Blessed are you, lonely widow who gave
Your last shiny coin to Yahweh
Blessed are you with your silver and lies
Kissing the One who's saving your life 

Tell Me your story,
show Me your wounds
And I'll show you what Love sees
when Love looks at you
Hand Me the pieces, broken and bruised
And I'll show you what Love sees
when Love sees you

I'll end with a quote I read somewhere.

Your picture is on God's refrigerator. Right next to mine.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

World's worst Cook

I have a confession to make. I cannot cook. My inability to cook is legendary in our home.  I can bake. I get compliments every time I make Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I’m an excellent baker. However baking & cooking are NOT the same thing.

One time I burnt the chicken for dinner so bad we not only had to have McDonald’s, we had to eat it on the deck because the house was too smoke filled to see.

Luckily for my children and I, my husband is not only a good cook he also truly enjoys cooking.  Which worked out well when we both worked. Most nights he would cook dinner while I did the other parenting duties or straightened up around the house. But when I became a stay at home mom and he took over the earning, I needed to step up and take over dinner.

Before my husband and I got married my oldest sons and I ate from fast food drive thru windows a whole lot.  It was so bad once I pulled up to the bank teller and she asks how she can help me today and my then 3 year old son yells “Chicken Nuggets and French Fries.”

I may have had a problem.

I am much older and a little wiser now. My youngest daughter sees Santa Claus more often than a drive thru.

Today I was walking with the woman who teaches Ben and Sarah (and who has become part of our family) while Sarah was at horseback riding lessons.

I told her that people were telling me I was inspiring them with my weightloss journey. So she asks “How, are you walking with them? What are you doing?”

I responded with “No they are just reading my blog and finding it helpful.”

“Well that doesn’t work for me I hear about your weight loss journey EVERY SINGLE day and all I’ve done is gain weight.”

She says after a few moments,  “But yeah, it’s not you, If you cooked everyday we’d all be skinny.”


And then she laughed realizing how that sounded. And finally after I felt like the worst cook in the world for a sufficient amount of time, she stopped laughing and explained.

“No what I meant is you make healthy food. Like we would have a plain baked Chicken breast with brown rice and 5 different vegetables every night for dinner. The kids would only get fruit for dessert, we would never eat out and there would be nothing in the house that was processed, non-organic or even remotely unhealthy. Except your bag of chocolate you keep in your closet that nobody is allowed to touch.”

“However Brian cooks bacon and beef. He uses cream and butter and salt. And he precedes most meals with a cheese course and some kind of decadent but calorie laden dessert masterpiece. You don’t even like ice cream or cheesecake. And when we go out with him geez I can't breathe and I'm sure I'm going to get sick on the drive home.”

Which made me feel like NOT the world’s worst cook, but the world’s meanest mom. 

And definitely not the fun parent, but I already knew that part.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Seattle (or how we added maps to family discussions)

I've been a little deep of late so I thought I'd bring some levity and nostalgia.

Way back when (in what seems like another lifetime)......

In 2005, I was pregnant with Sarah and working for a Pharmaceutical Company. I had to take a business trip to Seattle. I hadn't traveled much so we spent a lot of time preparing Ben who was then almost four years old.

At dinner for the few weeks leading up to the trip we would say, "okay on this date Mommy is going to Seattle for a few days and it'll just be the boys."

We would mark the days on the calendar each day and count off how many until I left and then how many until I returned.

Ben was getting it and seemed to be completely unfazed by my impending Business trip, although I was a basket case being pregnant and leaving my three children and husband to fly across the country. Hormones raging, I was tearful and beside myself. I was so torn, I wanted to quit my job.

Finally the day arrived and I boarded the plane for a rather uneventful flight landing a few hours later in Seattle, Washington. I was through the airport to baggage claim before I was able to get my phone powered on and call home to speak to my babies.

Brian answered on nearly the first ring and was audibly relieved I had landed safely. Then the phone was passed around to each son in turn, finally landing with Ben.

"Hi baby! It's Mommy, how are you?"
"Hi Mommy, I'm good! How's Attle?"
"What?" Thinking I didn't understand him
He repeated, "How's Attle?"

Which is when I figured out all that time he believed I was going to see someone named Attle.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The No Post Post

I'm not going to write a post today.

I'm having one of those days where my thoughts are better off in my head. But I will share the Lyrics of a song that is really speaking to me today. This song reminds me that no bad mood, bad day, frustration can put me beyond he reach of God. And even when I am faithless He is faithful.

It's called "You Are I Am" by Mercyme.

I've been the one to shake with fear
And wonder if You're even here
I've been the one to doubt Your love
I've told myself You're not enough

I've been the one to try and say
I'll overcome by my own strength
I've been the one to fall apart
And start to question who You are

You're the one who conquers giants
You're the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You're the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan's hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I AM
You are I AM

I've been the one held down in chains
Beneath the weight of all my shame
I've been the one to believe
That where I am You cannot reach


The veil is torn
And now I live 
With the Spirit inside
The same One
The very same One
Who brought the Son back to life

Hallelujah, He lives in me (X4)