Monday, February 25, 2013

The Smell of New Crayons

I never knew who was more excited to go beginning of school year shopping.  I made it a fun day for the girls.  They had their lists from school, they had their own lists of personal items they wanted and I had my dreams for them.  We left the house excited.  Our girls liked going to school (mostly for the social aspect) and I liked them going to school (mostly for the quiet at home).
There is something about the smell of new.  If I close my eyes and smell a new box of crayons, it energizes my brain with vivid images of days gone by.  New things do this to me.  They energize me and revitalize my life, even if just for a moment.
I see happy faces, carefully searching through brightly color folders for the perfect one,  I see mad faces as her sisters picks out the same folder, I see tears when I say "It's okay, no one else will know".  I am not sure why tears and anger still make my heart happy but they do.  I see hours of unpackaging their new stash, carefully putting their names on everything, lining it up on the carpet in front of them, checking the list one more time and then making sure it all fits in their new school bag.  It about starting over with a fresh outlook.
I like this.
I have forgotten how to do this for myself.
Most things in my life are no longer new.  It is a rare day to go out with a list and buy all new things.  My life now is about making do with what I have.  My things are well worn, comfortable and mostly practical.  They are bursting with memories like new thing smell, but in a very different way.  It's about the past, not the future. It's about where I have been, not where I am going.  I often feel I am lingering,  stuck in this very perfect time that I have created for myself.  It's not a bad thing, I am very happy with life, but excitement and anticipation are no longer in my vocabulary.  How did this happen?
I like new things.
I am going to remember how to do this.
Starting now, I will actively seek out new things and add them to my life.  Not everyday, just once in a while.  They will be things I haven't done before and may not do again, but they will be new and exciting.
The next time I smell that new box of crayons, the excitement will be for me.  I will create new memories and have a moment to look forward to.  I may even buy a coloring book and use my new crayons.
Go figure.....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Shouting "UNCLE"

Do you remember growing up and rough housing?  You would try as hard as you could to have the upper hand but it didn't always turn out that way. The magic word was "Uncle" when you finally gave up with whatever it was you were doing.  This word worked better than "please" when it came to your friends.
Today the sermon covered the 6th day of creation and how God created us in His image.  I grew up believing this meant I looked like God.  It all made sense because when He sent Jesus, He made Jesus to look just like us, which meant this is what God must look like.  In my child's mind, this worked.
Well, flash forward 40 plus years. I realized over time that this was not meant to be taken literally.  When the Bible tells us we were created in His image, it goes so much deeper than our physical characteristics. He gave us dominion over all the creatures in the sea, on the land and in the air.  He gave us free will and He didn't stop there.  He gave us the gift of art, music, science, written language and the list goes on.  All of these gifts and talents He distributed among us (although I am sure I was in the back of the line for some of these gifts).  None of the other creations here on earth were given these gifts, these beautiful gifts that are from and of Him.  This is how we are like Him.
So why do we stand in front of the mirror and try to perfect the physical part of ourselves as if this is really important?  Overweight, bad hair day, pimples, too short, too tall, bald, the list goes on.  Yet, when God sees us, all He sees is perfection and all He feels is love for us.  Here are some conversations we may have in  front of the mirror:
Boy, I really need to lose a few pounds.
Why?  You are perfect as you are.
My hair is going gray, I need to make an appointment and get that fixed.
I created  you to grow old, it's part of my plan for you.
I am pretty worthless some days, that dark cloud just follows me everywhere.
I will help you get beyond this, all you need to do is ask.
Why to I have to struggle with this disease?  It's just not fair.
I created you perfect, this disease will help you grow.  Just ask me for help.
Life is so hard, I struggle daily just to make ends meet.
Submit to me and I will carry your burdens for you.
Just look at you, who do you think you are??
You are my child and I love you.  

Do you see a pattern here?  We live to knock ourselves down in the process of trying to be perfect in this life. Yet, God doesn't need us to find perfection.  Why?  Because he already created each one of us perfectly in His image.  All He needs from us is an invitation into our lives.
When it seems all is lost and life is too hard, remember to call out "UNCLE" loud and clear.  God is just waiting to give you a helping hand.

Friday, January 11, 2013

9 lbs of ALPHA

I was always the shortest/smallest kid in my class.  They used to line us up in height order: shortest in the front, tallest in the back.  As a result, I always had to hold the teachers hand walking down the hallway.  Funny thing was, I enjoyed holding the teachers hand.  It made me feel special.  Growing up was tough for me and whenever I had the opportunity to feel special and unique, I embraced it.  My fourth grade teacher once said "Great things come in small packages".  I made that motto my own.  I was feisty, tough, and quick.  None of the boys could catch me a recess and when they did, they regretted it.  I remember when John caught me a recess, twisted my arm and tried to kiss me.  I ended up in the principle's office with the paddle (yes, they used paddles for discipline) and  John ended up in the nurses office crying over a bloody nose.  I was a small package that was achieving great things.  
This describes my daughter's cat Jasmine; she is 9 pounds of tough.  Jasmine belongs to my oldest daughter.  My middle daughter has two dogs: Cooper and Avery.  They are both Shepherd mixes and neither one of them had figured out who is alpha.  That's okay because Jasmine has it covered.  When Cooper and Avery spend the day to play, Jasmine shines.  She growls when they come too close, she eats their dry food from their dish, she claws at them as they walk by and them she proceeds to lay down next to them and stare them in the eyes.  Cooper whines, he doesn't know what to do.  Avery lays down submissively and wags her tail.  Jasmine gets up and struts around them both, daring them to get in her way.  They don't.  She owns the roost.  She finds the softest place to make a home and get this:  She goes to sleep!  On the floor, on the couch, on a chair, anywhere.  The dogs are baffled.  They quietly sniff the air and gaze longingly in her direction, but they don't go near.
 Enjoy your nap, Princess Jasmine, my 9 lbs of alpha.  Tomorrow is a new day for small packages to shine.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dirty Jesus

Today I read an interesting article by Johnnie Moore (professor of religion and vice president at Liberty University).  He stated very simply that Jesus was most probably a dirty man.  In the time he lived, physical hygiene and cleanliness were not priorities.  For him to be accepted by the people around him, he needed to live like them and be like them.  He had to do all the bodily functions as a human that we do and being a carpenter was dirty work.  He most likely became sick with various viruses and sweated in the sun like we do.  When he walked the dusty road of dirt barefoot, his feet were most likely black with soot.  At one time he may have stepped on something sharp and had an infected sore. Sometimes I forget he was fully man.  I always think of him as fully God.  In pictures we see everywhere, he is in pristine condition, perfectly groomed and usually dressed in a white flowy gown.  This was not Jesus the man in his day.  This is our image of what we what we want him to look like.  We believe he lived a very humble, obscure life until he came into his Godhood so why do we mentally dress him in white robes?   He was a regular Joe, living at home and following his dad in his trade.  Fully man and fully God. Tonight, when I pray, I will pray to the dirty Jesus.  I want to be like him.  I want to live humbly, help those around me and just get dirty.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dark gifts

I had an interesting talk with a person the other day about gifts and talents.  We all assume gifts and talents are a positive treasure that come from the light within us.  What if our talents and gifts have a darker side?  Does this mean they have a darker origin?  I don't think so but it sure has me thinking.  What brought this conversation on was the uproar over weapons and what we, as Americans, feel is acceptable.  This all boils down to perception and this will always be a controversial topic.  Let's assume the world continues on this crazy, self destructive path of murder and mayhem.  How are we supposed to deal with this?  I am all in favor of gifts and talents from the light.  I can't change the world but I can change how I perceive the world. I used to think we could create bubbles of safety and live in them quietly.  My bubbles burst a while back.  Now I feel it is our responsibility to share our strengths with those around us to better the lives of others.  Here comes the double edge to this sword.  What if our gifts are in self preservation and fighting fire with fire?  The right to public weapon carry along with concealed carry comes to mind.  I don't mind if someone has been certified and trained for concealed carry but I certainly would freak out if I saw someone casually carrying a semi-automatic draped over their shoulder in the  grocery store.  The argument is: What is the difference?  Both people are fully trained and certified to carry.  We see one weapon, we don't see the other.  Is out of sight out of mind the best answer?  I believe, in all things, we should think of how our actions will affect others.  I would be running for my life and calling 911 in the above scenario even though this person may just be exercising their right to public carry.  Let's assume, this person is super qualified to carry and actually knows what they are doing with this weapon.  And let's assume the reason they choose to public carry is to ward off all the crazies who carry with evil intent.  It has been said (not paraphrasing here) that only good people with guns can deter bad people with guns. I believe there is great responsibility when it comes to fire arm carry.  Along with knowing your weapon inside and out, you also need to be able to use it in times of stress.  This may mean killing another human being.  This not just about marksmanship.  Is this self preservation using public weapon carry a dark gift even if you never have to use your weapon? I am not sure, still trying to figure this one out.  All I can say is if the zombies ever make a public appearance, I will know who to call.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Busting a gut...

Wow and ouch is all I have to say.  I synced my Pandora to my tv yesterday and keyed in the Lady Gaga station.  The first song that came on was an excellent dancing song, so I jumped right in and gave it my all.  First off, I don't remember her songs being 10 minutes long, that's how long it felt like it lasted.  Secondly, the spirit was willing but after the first few minutes, the body was moving slower and slower.  Finally, my heart was pounding out of my chest and I think I twisted my knee.  Did I feel wonderful and energized after this exercise?  Jury is still out on this one.  I did feel great that I did what I said I was going to do and I did feel good about exercising but in the future, I need to moderate my enthusiasm just a bit.
Reading the news this morning, there was an article about overweight (not obese) people living just as long as regular weight people.  If you are healthy with no medical issues you are in a good place.  I also read an article about an obese woman who is an advocate for other obese people.  She is happy with herself and thinks the world needs to have an attitude adjustment concerning their bias against large people.  What these two articles made me think about was my own body perception.  What is it about myself that I find hard to accept?  Each day I am critical with myself and this seems to suck some of the joy of living out of me.  I wonder what it would be like to wake up and really love myself and live that day full of energy, joy and happiness.  I think this will be one of my goals for 2013.  Just one day is all I need....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Inspired to dance!

This morning I was talking to my oldest daughter and she said my youngest daughter inspired her.  Wow, that's pretty cool.  I can't remember the last time I was inspired by someone to make a positive change in my life.  Whoa, wait a minute.  It just happened!  What a Blessing for me to be inspired by my own children.  Talking more to my daughter, they have this "whole person" concept going and I like what I hear.  It's all about taking care of yourself to make yourself the best person you can be.
It's been a long time since I thought of my body as a Temple for God. This is what popped into my head after I got off the phone with her.  Inspiring.   Just starting small makes a lot of sense here.  There are so many ways I can tackle this inspiration.  Walking more everyday (yesterday I replaced the battery in my pedometer), eating healthy organic foods, taking time out each day for prayer and meditation and dancing.  Yes dancing.  I am not a dancer but when I hear a great song, my body just wants to move.  This always lifts my spirits and I end the song feeling so energized and young.  So this is what I will start with today.  Dancing.
I enjoy Lady Gaga for great dance rhythm. If anyone of you has an awesome song that I could dance to, send the title my way.  This is going to be a great day!