Monday, March 30, 2015

God's Colon

During one Women's Fellowship meeting, the question arose- what part are you in the body of God?

After reading all of the answers, God's body wound up having three ears, five legs, one foot and twelve hands- not exactly the epitome of beauty. But who wants to be God's elbow? Or His pinkie? 

And who would ever want to be His colon?

No one wants to talk about it, but if we didn't have this handy little organ, all of us would be full of...well, you get the idea. And though Christians don't like to compare themselves to God's digestive tract, some of us actually do what this necessary organ does.

Congregants that don't put up with anyone'

Pastors help us go through the junky stuff in our lives and help us find the nutrients we need to thrive.

Administrators rifle through paperwork and unclog the finances to keep things running smooth in the church.

Congregants with discernment can sense when someone is 'causing a blockage' and isn't afraid to say so. Not always the best way to go, but sometimes laxatives are needed when there's a hold-up in ministry. The congregant has a choice though- go directly to the person (if it's personal), or go to a Deacon (if it's a management issue).

Maybe it's the person who took on too much and can't say no, but also can't handle the job. Maybe someone is just too shy and needs a little encouragement. Maybe someone needs ideas to kick-start a ministry and get things going. That's where the Deacons come in. They help others to progress, giving them a push in the right direction.

Not everyone is suited to be God's colon. Not everyone wants to be God's colon! But God made all of our parts to work as a whole. The stomach can't work without a colon. The heart can't work without the colon and stomach. Muscles don't work without nutrients. Yes, it's a messy organ. But it's vital to the health and well-being of the entire body.

After all, How can God's body work with three ears, five legs, one foot and twelve hands- and no colon? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hot Flash News Flash

Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz,
I wonder where
My hot flash is?

I've spoken to a lot of women over the winter and heard many say the same thing. "Wow this winter, my hot flashes were gone!"

No, they weren't ladies- don't let the winter weather fool you! I know what really happened.

We still had hot flashes- they were just disguised as being comfortable. The temperatures were so cold, that when the hot flashes happened, we stopped freezing to death and just felt...warm.

And in the winter, warm is good.

Now the temperatures are rising and I'm not sleeping in a cold room, I had to tear the covers from my steaming form more than once during the night. The cool air felt wonderful, and I was able to get back to sleep- until the hot flash ended and I had to cover myself up again, lest I become an ice cube.

Hot flashes didn't come back- they never left. We were just too cold to notice them.

Pretty soon we'll have to break out the marshmallows and weenies so the kids can have a cookout over my head, but until then, I'm going to enjoy the cooler weather while I still can.

I just hope I don't wake my husband with my "Blanket Toss Olympics" every night!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Let Him Go, Let It Go!

Sometimes moms have to use Tough Love.
For us, it was getting my seventeen year-old son with Aspergers up for school. Three of us are early birds, but my son is the only night owl. Getting him up is harder than waking a anesthetized sloth in the middle of hibernation.

We had a sit-down talk after a solid week of me getting him up more than three times a morning, each day yelling at him to get going, to the point that I was still shaking with shattered nerves a good half-hour after he left for school.

I warned my son that he needs to start getting up on his own and out the door on time for school.
I warned him that I wasn't waking him after his sister initially does every morning.
I warned him that I wasn't yelling at him to get up anymore.
I warned him that he had to get all of his chores done before he went to school, late or not.
I warned him again about everything above.
I warned him that I wasn't going into a panic attack because he was late for school ever again.
I warned him that I wasn't getting in the way of the consequences concerning lateness at the school.

The next morning, he got up. 

He didn't do any of his chores- and it was five minutes past his time to be out the door.
When he finally came down, I told him calmly that he had to get his chores done, and listed them (that morning was trash day- and he missed it last week.)

After trying to argue, I reminded him of our talk. He got to work and did the chores.
He told me he was praying that the buses were late (he walks) so that he wouldn't get into trouble. "Trouble" is a detention.
Then he figured that since he talks to the detention teacher after school every day anyway, it would just count against his detention- no harm, no foul. 

Think again, son.

When he left, I called the school. The teacher he talks to was teaching class- oh right- my son was running very late and just left the house. I told the receptionist (who also knows my son well) what happened and what he thinks is going to happen. I found out that the detention teacher is not in charge of the detentions- the Dean of Students is. And the receptionist wouldn't let him get away that easily. She would make sure he knew that. 
I hung up the phone smiling.

I love this school!

I'm not happy that he was late (I get panicky when we are late for anything), but I'm done trying to motivate and protect my seventeen year-old from himself- let the lad get in trouble for once- it's all on him this time.
For the first time in forever I wasn't a nervous wreck from all the stress!

He was late twice that week, and served out his detentions. One or two more and he's been warned that suspension is eminent- and I let him know if that happens, he'll be dealing with me for those five days. An angry me with a chore agenda that would tire out the Energizer Bunny.

Guess who's up early this morning?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Let the Sin Shine Through

We've all done some pretty dumb and sinful things in our lives. Especially me.

I'm a sinner. So is everyone else on the planet. The question is, what do we do with that sin?

Are you fighting it right now?
Are you conquering it?
Have you kicked a sin to the curb?
Are you doing all three of these things?

I am! Some of us have more than one sin. Some of us have a have a ton of 'em. And when I say 'us', I mean 'me'.

For instance, I dealt with a lot of sexual sin in my past. I kicked that to the curb.
I'm conquering the sin of gluttony.
Yet I'm constantly fighting the sin of sloth- at least when it comes to time-management and playing games on the computer.

And those are only my top three on the list!

But what can I do with all this sinny wonderfulness? Teach and learn, that's what.
I can teach those that are in the throes of sexual sin how I stopped. I can support others in their fight against gluttony while they also support me. And I can learn from others who have managed their time well so I can improve- though I admit many times those lessons are on the internet- the struggle continues as I write important points down to go over later.

Sin is the bad stuff we fought and continue to fight each day. Everyone has it, everyone hides it. You'd be surprised how many people you know are going through sin trials without you knowing it. But if you let your own sin shine through a little, people who have gone through the same thing will come to you to help you out or to learn from you.

Talk to God. You can vent and tell Him everything, because He already knows. He can guide you on just how much of your sin you should reveal to people. Don't grab a soap box and run to the nearest square yelling "Let me tell you about all of my sins!" (you could, but I don't recommend it) but go where people seek help for the same sin and let a little of that sin shine through. If no one sees it brought to light, no one can help you get through it!

I talked with friends about some of my sins and they helped me defeat some of them, When they couldn't help me with gluttony, I went to a nutritionist. Now I'm on track to beating that sin. Friends, my husband and my Facebook buddies help me with my sloth by encouraging me to keep exercising.

It isn't easy- not by a long shot- but it's much easier when you have a real desire to change in your heart. And that's when you can bring that sin out into the light- even if it's a little bit at a time!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rooting the Routine!

"I love it when a plan comes together."

Hannibal Smith of the A-Team quoted that gem in every episode. I can proudly quote it now because after all that planning, grinding out details, working and reworking my time, I've finally got the first part of my day figured out.

At least until it changes again. I have teens. I have a husband. You know that sucker's going to change eventually. But for now, I nailed that thing to the floor.

I wake up at 4:30 am. By 10:30, I have finished my editing jobs, exercised, and eaten breakfast. Most of the business world is just attaining functionality by then, and I'm charged and ready to take on the world.

I'm also ready to take on the Ultimate Chaos- housework.

Basically the day is free to do with it what I will. I have wrestled the greased panther. I have changed the world (at least the one in my head) for the better, and I can take on whatever giants throw at me. I am David, King of the Slingshot.

Clearing my mornings helps me in other ways too. I get to chat with God in a relaxed state, because all the tough stuff is done. Oh I pray first thing in the morning, but that's more of a "checking in" phone call- "Hi Lord! Praise you a lot, here's the stuff I need, please watch over me and mine, let me know if You need anything, send money, thanks a bunch, Bye." Now that the proverbial air is clear, I can just chatter away with God and listen to the deeper messages He's trying to send me. I don't have to dedicate a huge block of time either- I can talk to Him sitting on the couch for an hour or discuss things as I'm washing dishes, or singing praise songs as I vacuum. It's all good with Him.

I like working in the mornings. The kids are fairly quiet as they get ready for school (or they're asleep when it's summer) and I have the house almost to myself. My writing room is naturally muffled by carpeting and a solid door, and there's a sense of leaving the world behind when the door shuts with a slight ka-thunk. When that door is shut I can conquer the universe, create something new, or brainstorm the next Great Idea.

It took me years before something in my routine finally clicked. This is the only time of the day that the schedule is entirely up to me, but I never realized it until now. I still struggle with the rest of the day, but that's because I'm dealing with other people- and other people tend to mess everything up. Especially teenagers. And husbands. And cats. 

Yes, sometimes even this phenomenal accomplishment will get interrupted by chaos, but not very often. Not as often as the afternoons- at least for me. My afternoons would turn some people into hermits. 

Root the routine. Be your own cheerleader. Put a pom-pom on your pen and write down your routine!

Do you have an unblemished, uninterrupted part of a routine? WOOHOO! You're ahead of most people! Still working on it? WOOHOO! You haven't given up and become a hermit! Don't have one yet? WOOHOO! Getting started is fun because you have the entire day at your mercy!

As for me? It's time for breakfast! WOOHOO!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mustard Seed Sparkles!

A mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds. That's all the faith God says we need to do great things (Luke 17:6). But sometimes it's really hard to see how much an itsy-bitsy mustard seed can achieve.

What if that seed of faith was a bead of light in a dark room? It doesn't matter how dark the room is- you'll still be able to see it glow. That tiny light still manages to push back the darkness, and the darker the room gets, the stronger the light. From this perspective, that's a powerful little seed!

Spring will soon be coming. If we took that seed and planted it, it would grow into a huge plant. All it needs is good soil, water, and the warmth of the sun- or should I say Son? The seed can't become what it needs to be if we stick it in a drawer. Just like putting a lamp in a closet- it's hard to see the light when you cover it up or tuck it away.

God meant for us to take that seed and show it to the world. Let it shine. Plant it. Use what God gave us to make it grow. Then share the harvest.

If you have a mustard seed of faith (like me), don't compare your tiny seed to those that have bigger seeds, like cucumber seeds, or even avocado pits. We need to grow at our own pace to have healthy roots that dig deep and hold fast.

We need to hold up our seeds and let them shine- don't be afraid to show others your tiny seeds- Let God see the sparkles!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Writer Fighter

I am the fighting champion of the universe- in my own head.

If you ever wondered what it's like to be a writer, do let me explain in the most clear, concise ways possible.

We are lunatics. Pure, unadulterated nutballs.

Who else could spend a day by herself writing, then leave the room and want to be alone? 
Who else would avoid drama of any kind, because she just had a huge mega-argument with all of her characters?
Who else can create a myriad of characters and no plot? Or a ton of plots, but no characters?
Who else would have five hundred projects ready to write, then she gets writer's block?

Me, that's who. And anyone else who puts a pen to page or fingers to keyboard.

Yes, I have spent the day writing. My day starts out with a story or an article, and I either have to find a plot or research some information to get the work going. By the time I'm done reading, researching, messaging and emailing people, I want nothing to do with anyone once I leave my writing space. Basically, I need to unclutter my head before it explodes.

You want drama? Try talking to fifteen characters all wanting to be in the limelight. Several of them complain that what you wrote isn't true to their personality. Or they just plain hate the way you wrote them. Not to mention the in-fighting when the antagonist and protagonist get together, pointing fingers at the Comedy Relief or the Best Friend, for getting them into this story in the first place. 
By the time you finish the story (or in my case, the paragraph), any other drama will not be tolerated. Heads will roll if my children even speak to me about what one sibling did to another- both will be grounded for life at the drop of a hat. Luckily for me my kids know this, and don't talk to me for at least an hour after I've been writing.

I have yet to meet a writer who can create both plot and characters fluidly. Writers have trouble with one or the other, period. For me it's plot. I have a ton of characters (hence the arguments in the above paragraph), but nowhere to put them. Others have issues with plenty of places to go, but no one to invite to the party. You can't put us writers in a group either- we'll be so busy telling the tales of the difficulties in our writing journeys that no one will be doing any actual writing!

Writer's block comes when everything is so jammed up in your head that nothing moves- much like a traffic jam. You have to find the right pebble in the landslide to get things moving again, and that can take forever. The best part is this usually happens when you have a deadline. Ideas will flow like a raging river when there's no deadline, but give a writer a deadline and her brain becomes like a constipated elephant. 

I'm a writer. I'm a fighter. I'm a character referee and plodding plotter. I'm also a nutball. And that's okay. 

And the second I'm finished this post, I'm going to need a nap, because my characters are yelling at me for telling on them. Yikes!