Sunday, April 25, 2010

Enlightenment at the stop sign

We were at my least favorite store in the world (but the only one to really shop at) and as we were leaving with a trunk mostly full of pop, paper towels, juice and goldfish crackers we drove up to the stop sign where there was a man holding a sign that said "just need a little help." He waved to me as we made eye contact and I waved back...but no money changed hands. Heartless?

This man and I had become acquainted one very long night in the ER at the local hospital. As I sat in the wheel chair for hours that night in pain I could no longer bear I met this man. He stumbled in with his back pack and a tattered coat - it was very snowy, I wondered how he had stayed warm. He was clearly under the influence of one thing or another as he plopped himself down in a chair and began loudly talking to whomever would listen that he was going to treatment. This disclosure, needless to say, did not surprise me. There is a treatment location in town that he was aiming to be admitted to, my guess was this was more motivated by a need for a warm place to sleep then to get "clean" - not that I blamed him, there was inches of snow on the ground. When we finally were taken back to the ER to a curtained off bay I soon heard his voice again in the room not too far away. Apparently his blood alcohol level was too high to be admitted into treatment, so he stayed many hours to sober up enough to get clean.

I have seen this man on many times since then and he is always at that corner, holding that sign. Some people are fearful of these "beggars", some refuse to look them in the eye because for some reason once you make eye contact you feel somewhat responsible and then guilty for driving away. I make eye contact or smile as appropriate and there have been times where I have been very willing to stop and give "a little help" but with him, I drove on. I feel so opposed to aiding him in his addictions, whatever they are, that keep him living a life of chronic homelessness and dependence upon his drug or drugs of choice.

But, today- it was as if I was reading the sign for the first time. "Just need a little help" I very well could be the one carrying that sign on any given day - as could almost everyone I know. However, as the case may be, we don't ever walk around with a sign announcing to the world what our particular problem, crisis, issue is for that day - wouldn't life be easier if we all carried a sign like that? When you're having a bad day your sign could read "need a little help not losing my mind today, whatever you can do to help is appreciated." Or how about, "need a little help today not disliking my boss today...anything you can say that makes me dislike him less is appreciated." Or for a mom, "need a little help today with my angelic children that are acting like complete monsters and now I can't get a thing done around the house, a coupon to take them to McDonald's for a happy meal so I don't have to cook would be appreciated."

I sat there at the stop sign thinking to myself how glad I was that I didn't wear a sign that announced to the world how much help I needed at any given moment...what would people think of me if all that was presented in such a fashion? Suddenly as the light turned green and I was able to pass through the stop sign it hit "sign" is always in my heart for God to read and it is He whom I would benefit the most from in receiving "a little help" So, that's a pretty big gift for me today from the homeless man, I will pray for him that he can be reached by God and helped in ways that pocket change could never compare.

By the way, today my sign would read something like this: "Run out of gas, on empty. Just need a little help to see me through today. Any prayers are greatly appreciated."

How would yours read?


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I could trust this Monday...almost

Today began like any other Monday...with the snooze button being forcibly shoved into submission and quieted for at least another 5 minutes, soon followed by the first and then the second sleepy boy that finds Mom and Dad's bed to be much more snuggly in the wee hours of the pre-dawn morning; finally the silence was broken by the dog whining to be let out his crate to water our backyard...and that is our typical Monday morning. Today was mostly ordinary and rather routine except for the presence of THE DAD on a school day, a Monday...which NEVER happens. So, that was nice.

We've figured out how to stream netflix movies to our TV (my apologies to the technical gurus who scoff at my ignorance until now) and so after the school drop off we sat down to a myriad of movie choices and bumbed around in comfy clothes watching movies til lunch. Ahhh, that's the life, right? I did my pilates routine followed by a jaunt on the treadmill where I showed my singing talents (or lack thereof depending upon whom you ask) and sang along to some very bad and shamefully "pop"esque music of my teens...J was particularly taken with one of the Nirvana songs! LOL! I cooked supper, it was delish: spinach, ground turkey and cheese calzone. And then it happened...DAD aka the hub got called into work. Poo. I almost trusted that day.

I have to say - now that it is Tuesday, I can reflect and say overwhelmingly that Monday was a good day. Here's to today being that good too! :-)

So far - it looks that way!

Friday, April 16, 2010

itunes, blogging and coffee

Ohhh, listen to the music...gotta love the Doobies. Sitting on my back
porch, relishing the joys of little boy laughter, good coffee and the freedom that comes with taking a day to bring it all back down.

There is something to be said for taking the time to FIND renewal, cause-in this life, it sure isn't happening on accident. Most people make much of how busy they are, how many responsibilities they have, how they just don't have enough TIME...however, I find that so much of that is our own doing. If we don't MAKE the time to seek out the quiet spaces in between all of our calendar commitments then we will always come up short. If we don't MAKE the time to spend time connecting or re-connecting with our loved ones, friends, even ourselves then we will always be lacking. If we don't MAKE the time for devotion and prayer to our God - the contentment and fulfillment that only HE can give will always be elusive.

Doing this does require a willingness to UN-COMMIT yourself from keeping your calendar full. Sometimes it means saying no when you always say yes, sometimes it means passing on the dinner party, golf game, volunteering, baseball practice, dance class, etc- I know that is where it gets complicated for some. I have learned two things in doing this:
1. The world will go on and someone else will fill my spot if I say no
2. Busyness is often times a cover for a great level of dissatisfaction with being still - read that however you want, but if you really stop and think about why some people always seem so busy, there is usually a reason why-beyond their sense of responsibility, philanthropy or otherwise.

Being still, making time to be in the moment and not let other things take over sometimes makes us be still and in the moment with things/feelings/people that we would otherwise want to avoid for any number of reasons. But, in this stillness, in these moments is when we can really grow, feel, reconnect, etc.

I have learned to enjoy it all, even when it makes me squirm or makes me feel as I sit here listening to my itunes play jazzy, rocker, or bluesy tunes and sip really good coffee- I can pontificate and hear my kiddos enjoying our day off from it all.

Blessings to you out there - hope you can find moments in your day for the same kind of peace.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I have just had the opportunity to witness once again the enormity of love that I have in my marriage and I am once again humbled at the love that God can create in a relationship if only you let him in to do HIS work in your life. This (atop the page) is going to be a book I buy since her books are what led us to seek and find God at the center of our marriage.

I am married to an amazing man and I never knew I could be as fortunate as I have been to have been blessed by God to have him in my life. God has his own way of doing things and amidst the storms of bad relationships in my life prior to meeting my husband, HE was teaching me so very much about where ungodly behavior and godless men would lead me. I finally did arrive at the doorstep to this enlightenment, but not until I had been battered and bruised, literally and figuratively. I stood before this man God brought to me utterly broken.

Through healing and his love and our enduring quest to see each other for who we truly were, are and will be - I am conquering the woundedness of that brokeness and only but by the grace of God, have I been able to emerge anew. I thank the people in our lives that I have cheered us on in this journey, especially those that have bandaged our wounds with words, prayers and actions of great kindness - I am forever in your debt.

The marriage of my dreams is my life everyday now and I am allowed and afforded the opportunity to bask in the glow of a love that I never could have imagined. It was beyond my imagination because I could not bring us to this point, HE had to - and for that I thank HIM, my God, everyday.

I pray that all that relationships are as blessed.

Have a good day out there!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The best marriage books we've read yet, what we're reading now and what is next to read :-)

The Omartian books have changed our marriage - in ways that only God could. These books were like marriage and prayer manuals that I wish we had 7 years ago but I am not complaining, it was divine providence that we happpened upon these books and made the breakthrough that we have.

The Charles Sheldon book you will find the origins of the WWJD phenomenon...I had no idea where that "trend" began but now I do. It's a great, easy read and the challenge the story holds is one that might be one we should all consider. Can you always ask "what would Jesus do?" before EVERY choice you make in ALL areas of your life? There's something to chew on, right?

Last one is one that my Mom and Dad recommended, The Sacred Romance. Really looking forward to delving into it with the hub when we are thru the Sheldon book. Something about seeing your relationship with the Lord as a Sacred Romance sounds so appealing and fulfilling, so I am eagerly awaiting when we can begin the book and study.

Gotta run - pizza and movie night awaits.

The Car

We sold my Mom bus and as silly as it sounds part of me was very sad to see it go. It might sound crazy but somehow I had attached a certain fondness to my car - it was big, roomy and comfy to sit in. The DVD player was my best friend on our long car trips to TN and back. There was more than enough room to pile in friends, family, etc. I loved that car. BUT, we sold it.

I had been rather mopey about the whole thing until today. What changed? Well, the money we got for the car by selling it to CarMax (shameless endorsement) was deposited into our bank account and today I was able to pay off a slew of these "we're paying on it monthly" bills. Suddenly, I didn't miss my car that much anymore. The liberation and freedom from the every month making incremental dents in ridiculous medical bills is overwhelming and I love it...way more than I loved the car :-)

So, the money we save this month will go to purchasing a DVD player for the new ride. Yes, that is me giving in...over half a day in the car with two little boys and no means to entertain them would be tortuous, right? As I type that I laugh at myself because that is what everyone before us did - long car rides playing games, cards, punch-bug and all without the technology of movies in the car. But, now that we are utterly ruined and spoiled there is no going back - LOL!

Looking forward to a glorious weekend with beautiful weather and making the most of's to you doing the same!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mediocre Minds

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
Albert Einstein

Wow, what a genius comment?! Mediocrity to me is the same as compromise but to be mediocre is almost pejorative; while compromise is just a euphemism for giving in. Why do we characterize two words that really do settle on the same meaning in such different ways?

I have spent the last few days in an uproar over battling with mediocre minds and I have come to the realization that the battle only exists in my mind because to a mind of mediocre settling and compromise there is nothing worth battling over.

Where did the spirit to encounter, fight for and conquer the world disappear to? It is just to un-PC to be that person anymore? Regardless, that is what I am teaching my children to me - GREAT MINDS that will fight for what they believe is truth in our world. I pray everyday that they have the strength to fight that violent opposition.

Genius or not, Einstein had it right years and years ago. Who will you be? What will the legacy of your life be?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tickets, Pilates and Donuts

On the way to the dr I was pulled little ride-along buddy in the back was saying "oh Mommy, you're going to JAIL" as he approached. He came to the window with sunglasses ON (it was 9:30, windy and cloudy), so you can kind of see where the "COP" attitude was gauging that morning. Officer Too-Big-For-My-Britches gave me a stern talking to like I was some sort of recalcitrent child...yeah, me in my glorified station wagon, listening to KLOVE, all buckled up...heck yeah, I am a REBEL. Ugh. Misuse of power, that is all I have to say. I did get a "warning" for something that I was completely unaware was a law in OK or any other place for that matter. I guess it was just my luck and I think it made the illustrious OFFICER make himself feel better, so at least there was some good that came of it...the silver lining, right? For us it is becoming a true test to see the silver lining it all that we face, but at the end of the day- GRATITUDE is so powerful, so here goes another check in the straining to have gratitude list. I am grateful that the officer that pulled me over got an ego boost by being able to give me a "warning" his chest puffed out and he strided just so.

So, the doctor gave me the sentence I was expecting, so no new news there. Essentially he told me that the fate of all of this back stuff lies in my ability to discern what I can and cannot tolerate in my daily life. Putting it plainly - what are you willing to put up with? Depends on when you ask! LOL On a Monday morning, tired, before my 2 cups of coffee...uhm, not much! HAHA. Seriously though, it is a wee bit depressing to think of what looms out there in my future. I have to get myself in fighting condition if I am going to be able to get through what will here's to weight watchers and pilates being my means to getting my big ol butt going while decreasing the size of said hiney. Grateful lesson here- I can still walk, function and be present in the lives of my loved ones...albeit, not as much as I'd like but it is better to be THERE than not.

Pilates is all that I have heard it was and I shame myself for not considering it as a means to get some level of exercise until now. I have all but closed the door on exercise since my injury has deteriorated my physical ability to do almost anything...when giving the kids a bath feels like cardioaerobic activity, the rest of it seems almost impossible. However, just a few days in and I think this might be exactly what I need. Granted, I will never be lithe or sinuey but less chubby works for me at this point. Gratefully so, I was stretched out there with both kids doing their best to "workout with Mom" - motivation can come in many forms, can't it?

That being said---weight watchers and pilates aside...I got a donut this morning and a HUGE cup of coffee. Life isn't worth living if you don't take the time to appreciate all of it! Enjoy the day and do take one moment today to be in gratitude, you'll be surprised how much it improves your impression of the world and what it has to offer.

grate·ful   /ˈgreɪtfəl/ –adjective
1.warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful

Thursday, April 1, 2010


So, in my solo time I have become a Redbox renter and have watched two movies that were both highly recommended by friends to see- one was Couples Retreat and the other Observe and Report.

Let me first say I am not a movie reviewer, these are just my own opinions. That being said, they both didn't quite measure up. Couples Retreat wasn't really that funny - Vince Vaughn played the SAME character he always does in movies and I guess I just didn't see the humor in seeing marriages in crisis. "We're getting a divorce...ha ha ha!" Hmmm, see - not so funny. I guess there were a few humorous parts but overall it was nothing to spend $10 on a ticket for, glad I only spent $1 at the Redbox.

Now getting to the other one - ashamedly I will admit that we saw the mall cop movie with that guy from King of Queens. It was silly and hokey and cheesy but in a family film type of way. This movie however was as foul mouthed as any movie I've seen in a while. It points out all too well how unattractive it is to use the f-bomb every other word or to curse when you have other words you could be using instead. I couldn't even finish the movie, it was that bad.

I guess as I get older I become more and more prone to disengage from what "the world" deems as funny or intriguing or whatever else. Listening to my kids tell inane, ridiculous and completely made up on their own jokes is much more funny than watching a movie featuring a flasher in a mall parking lot. I don't see the appeal in horror films - watch the news once in a while - if that isn't enough to strike fear into your heart then WOW, cause that is all it takes for me. I don't see the appeal in reading the text messages that Tiger Woods sent to his multiple mistresses or hearing about how Jesse James is going into Sex Rehab. Don't get me wrong, I have laughed my hiney off at movies with potty humor and potty mouths...many times. The issue I guess I have here is how gratuitous it has all become. Gratuitous sex scandals, gratuitous f-bombs, gratuitous everything.

My mother would interject here a comment on conspicuous consumption and she would be completely correct. Gotta run and take a movie back to the redbox...thinking of getting Julie and Julia (or is it the other way around) again - loved that one!

Have a blessed week everyone - and a glorious Easter weekend!