Tag Archives: change

Some Lenten Advice (that I’ve gleaned and want to share)…

http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/13324

I want share this bit of advice I just read by sharing the actual article.

We all make it somewhat of a game, the MY Sacrifice is Bigger than Yours thing, right?

“I’m giving up cookies.”

“Oh, really?!  I’m giving up cookies AND candy!”

“Is that all, you two? I’m giving up desserts AND hair products AND all songs that mention sweets and hair products.”

You get the picture, right?!

For so many years I “gave up” something and come Easter Sunday I was glad to get the coffee or candy or whatever back, but I didn’t feel stretched or that I’d grown at all, you know?

I have adopted the idea over the last few years of adding something rather taking it away.  This year, I signed up for Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever program.  It’s still a bit of a mystery (slightly terrifying), but I’m committed and adore what Dynamic Catholic stands for so I’m sure I’m in good hands (God’s anyway, right?).

Another idea is to immerse ourselves in the Word of God. This one has some personal relevance as the Holy Spirit keeps whacking me over the head with it, in the form of a suggestion from a priest, articles here there and everywhere. I like a guy with a sense of humor, don’t you?!

Another idea which has plusses and minuses is the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. I mean it cleans out the crevices and corners of our homes, but what about our hearts? Are we doing it to clean our own cobwebs or are we trying to give what others truly need? This article really nails how we should be approaching this task.

So, I’m not saying one way is better than another, I’m just sharing that there are so many options out there and pain isn’t to be avoided as it affords a chance to grow closer to God and just plain grow.

May we see one another on the other side of these 40 days in the desert refreshed and renewed.

photo courtesy of MorgueFile – http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/13324

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The answer already exists…

Carrier charges may apply...

Carrier charges may apply…

I came across this article on my Facebook feed this morning.  The woman who posted it had seen it on a friend’s blog and didn’t want to offend the friend by commenting that our church actually is the answer to all these complaints.  The CEO of our church is the biggest pacifist there is.

Warriors against warmongering like this guy, this guy and this guy are all a testament to the fact that we are the original and we are not only surviving, but thriving.

And it’s not just the men who corner the market on being real examples of how life should be lived.  There’s a whole network of women who resemble the way we should be, but in a very approachable and human way.   And it’s not an exclusive club.  We have members who are like fun, distant cousins.

The problem has become that we think life should be easy and problem free.  We fear that if we have issues or problems or strife in life…well, we’ve failed.  That’s the picture that is painted by modern society.  You’ve heard the ad campaigns, “You CAN have it all”,  “You deserve it”, “Ah, what the heck, go ahead…YOLO!”

Well, guess what, you can’t have it all. Something has got to give. You may have the perfect job, but family life may take a hit. Or you may have a beautiful house with a beautiful wife, but you go to a job that you loathe daily.  And how come we don’t feel “you deserve it” when something goes awry?  Well, that’s not what it’s about.  It’s about balance.  We’re not supposed to be all self absorbed or self-loathing.  It’s about faith…active faith.  Prayer, involvement, giving and inviting.

And remember when you were little and woke up in the middle of the night crying because you had pains in your legs.  They ached and if you were lucky, your mom rubbed them ’til her hands hurt (never complaining, though). Those, my friend, were growing pains.  And just because there is pain does not mean there’s not growth.

Around Christmastime my sister-in-law told me she’d heard it said that life is about focusing on JOY – Jesus, Others, then You.  If we keep that in mind, all the rest should fall in place.  That’s not to say we’re not going to have falls and scrapes and diagnoses we do not want, but we will be better equipped to deal with these struggles.

Believe it or not, God sent his only offspring down here, to what is clearly second class seating compared with Heaven, to live and die here.  And, he didn’t do it small.  No, sir.  He sent his precious only child down to die a horrific and painful death.  What for?  A better mortgage rate? An upgrade to business class? A Michael Kors purse?  Nope.  For us and our miserable failings.  For our sorry (for ourselves) selves who can’t get out of our own way.  And God is THE most patient parent EVER.  Imagine if we had to deal with the problems the general public caused…wait, never mind.

Anyhoo, I used to think that we should all just get along and if we each find our own way to goodness… that works, but now I’m coming around to the fact that the original is long-standing for a reason.  If it hasn’t been sunk in decades or centuries then it bears a second look.

I, too, have been worried about what people would think about me and I have worried about hurting other people’s feelings, but there are bigger things to worry about.  It’s a Maslow’s hierarchy thing here.  We need to protect souls, not feelings.

Lately I’ve been praying that God make sure to text me and let me know that I’m either a) on the right track or b) way off and need to pull up the Google app to find my way back.  My word of the year is purposeful.  I’m trying to do things with purpose and not just float or drift.

So, I dare you (read invite!) to come to my church and sit with me and see what happens.  You can always do your own thing again next week, but maybe, just maybe you might find something that intrigues you and brings you back.

Photo courtesy of http://textinggod.tumblr.com/

It’s all relative…

roses

It’s in the teens now (degrees and times matched at 6 and 9 this morning, however) and we are hunkered down with some ribs in the crockpot and the blinds closed to keep the bitter cold out.

We are blessed to have a warm home with working heat and electricity.  We are blessed to live in a first world country where even if the bureaucrats screw up on school closings it is not life being lived under some form of law that would stagnate and paralyze us all.

After being all grateful and philosophical I must say that I still keep the Phoenix temps and the Germany temps on my phone (one makes me drool most days and the other usually makes me grateful, today however it’s about 30 degrees warmer in the European city than here in our nation’s capital region).

Things can seem like they are coming apart at the seams and that you’re just going to lose it, but then you’ll catch a glimpse of a sweet child absolutely besotted with her best friend (her dog/four-legged sister) or you’ll think about someone who is facing an insurmountable task and she is kickin’ its butt.  She is not merely surviving, but thriving and you realize that good is winning and will win.

We all make choices about how to react to things in various situations whether it be to have a meltdown over a mess in the house (hypothetically speaking, of course) or something bigger.  I choose to be as a certain 7-year-old proclaimed the other day, “I’m a balcony person, not a basement person.”  Me, too, Sweet Pea…me, too.

Photo courtesy of Morguefile – http://mrg.bz/TRPDP9

Nearly February

I made some oaths, no promises (certainly not resolutions, Baby!) at the beginning of 2012. They were focused on the areas of <drumroll, please> faith in the form of studying the Bible, health in the form of training to do a 5K again (it’s been a while, people) and writing in the form of working on my novel more (by way of an Advanced Creative Writing class – stall tactic, I think not) so I like to travel… long and winding roads…so, sue me.

I found the writing class on the college’s website and after corresponding with the professor (whom I had met very briefly at a local writing group) who advised me to take the Advanced class rather than the beginner given the amount of writing I had already done I went to sign up (4-year-old in tow).  It was already filled. Having no other choice, I put myself on the waiting list. I have to admit, I had mixed emotions about not getting in. Those emotions were turned topsy turvy the following day when I got ‘in’. My first assignment was due several days earlier than I had originally thought (based on info from another employee of the college, but no harm done).  I got it turned in with no issues. A bit out of practice at staying up late to complete ‘schoolwork’, however!

I am getting feedback from fellow students and the instructor and it is very humbling, but at the same time terrific. Other times when I’ve written, the work just sits there in some vacuum and never gets read by another breathing soul. Now, granted I’m having to swallow my pride… a lot. But, it’s good for the soul, right? Right?!

Speaking of my soul, I began a Bible study last week as God has been working on me to do since last fall. I kept meeting these ladies who were raving about their group, then there was a notice in our Sunday bulletin telling about another study starting at our parish. Another woman at our homeschool group was telling me about the first group and even sent me an email on it. The final straw (in a good way!) was a mom in the waiting room at our daughter’s ballet lessons who was leading one of the groups. That clinched it. I signed up for the class the night before it was to begin and got one of the 4 remaining slots. I hear ya, God. You’re workin’ it. I just need to go along quietly on this one.

Well, I was a bit nervous as this was a group of Protestant ladies, but I had been assured that there were members of various faiths who participated in the Bible study. During our small group breakout, I half kidding, whole in earnest (as my mom likes to say), introduced myself as a <whisper it>’Catholic’. They were funny and kind about it. One woman was even nice enough to come up after and share that she wasn’t a practicing Protestant either, but belonged to another faith.

I am LOVING the book that we’re using for the study. It’s a Jen Hatmaker book called, A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study.  This woman is not only spiritual, but she’s laugh out loud funny in the process.  Irreverent, memorable and spiritual.  Where do I sign up?  I want to have Nachos with this woman!

The running thing is the last of the mohicans.  I’ve been inspired by many in the past, including my rock star of a marathon running husband and also a fellow blogger, writer and homeschool mom, Kathy.

I realized I had been giving myself a bit of a break because the first two items on my New Year’s list have been quite time consuming between all the writing and reading they require coupled with homeschooling and other social commitments, but excuse time ends this week.  Yes, I am tired.  Yes, I am fighting a sore throat or cold or some other bout of ickiness, but I WILL be running on that dang treadmill this week come Hades or high water (not likely here in the desert, don’t worry).

Looking at a 5K in March!  Wish me luck.

Commercial Break

It’s been a while since I’ve written. That’s because I’ve been up to my neck in boxes. We’ve been living out of suitcases for about 3 months. Did I mention it was ONE suitcase per person due to the size of our car and the mammoth size of the dog crate that all needed to fit into the vehicle we were to pick up and drive from California?! Well, it’s been wonderful to be able to put on a new pair of shoes (new to me from my closet which has taken a LONG cruise on the ocean and in storage), a ‘new’ shirt…I’ve even been relishing plugging in 110v items without having to worry about a transformer. That’s not to say I haven’t been missing Deutschland. We ran into a woman this afternoon who was born there and we began speaking in Deutsch. It was fun to practice again. It’s just nice to be settled into a house with mail and FEDEX DELIVERY! Woohooo! It’s the little things in life, isn’t it?!

‘Tis the season

 

It’s that time of year again.  Time to decorate, bake cookies, wrap gifts, write cards (more writing people – buck up!), shoveling snow (depending on your locale, obviously), drinking hot chocolate, going to markets and awaiting the wonderful gifts this season has to offer. 

One of those gifts is the arrival of relatives long missed.  We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of a beloved member of the family and can’t wait until we’re able to do some of the aforementioned tasks together. 

Living with a toddler, however, I have FINALLY learned that telling of an arrival or event too far in advance spells disaster — ‘When is FILL IN THE NAME OF THE PERSON OR EVENT going to COME/ARRIVE/BE, Mama?’ to the 359th power! 

Another opportunity at this time of year is looking ahead to the next year along with reflecting on the one that is about to end.  Some sites feature opportunities to figure out what this year was all about and naming it at the end.  However, for me, it worked much better to name the year ahead of time and to try to live with my intention in the forefront of my mind, ideally, leading me toward my goal.

2010 for me was ‘change’.  We were at the end of figuring out if we were going to live with the family with which we had been blessed or if I was going to continue to bang my head against a proverbial (and decidedly infertile) wall.  I thought my husband’s job was going to provide for a move for us this past summer, but instead we were presented with a new opportunity for him which also allowed us to stay in our current home – quite a blessing as we love our neighbors and friends here.  I wanted to be prepared to embrace the change and shift the way I approached things.  And, now it seems we will be moving this summer, so I have continued to try to change what we keep and what we purge in terms of things. 

As I look ahead at 2011 I will utilize several sites to figure out what I would like to be intentional about in my thoughts and actions.  Iwill keep you updated as to what I choose. 

Have you picked a word to sum up your year? Care to share what it was/is?  Did it fit?

Spring Cleaning

Starting to feel the Earth’s pull. Went to a book club meeting the other day which was lovely, but attendence was a bit sparse. Maybe it’s outlived its usefulness to the current audience. Then, yesterday, went to my writer’s group meeting and found a new energy.

Am currently planning for a yard sale (coming up quick) with some of the neighbors who are moving. It’s time to clear the decks. Begin anew. Think fresh. More fresh air and exercise, too.

I love this website, too.  The article on “9 Irresistible Reasons to Go Complaint-Free” is terrific and as always, timely.

What’re some of the ways you shift gears AND keep up the momentum?