Give Me Some Sugar

I have been off caffeine since June.  It was, and is, worth it.  I knew the next big hurdle would be sugar.  In late January and early February, I took a stab at quitting.  Right before Valentine’s Day.  That was just careless.

It stayed in front of me.  I knew I still needed to do it.  I know this sounds strange to say, but it seemed there was no jumping off point.  Then, there was.

Lent.

The Lenten Fast.

BOOM!

I quit sweets.  Not all the foods that have any ingredient that’s just sugar with a cute name.  Just sweets.

It only took a few days to come face to face with my need of a Savior.  I felt desperate.  I lied about what I ate.  (They don’t care, and Jesus already knows.)  I cheated like a card sharp in the old west.  I let myself slip.  A lot.

I realized I felt I couldn’t live without sugar (People do.  It isn’t air.).  Then I realized there are a lot of things I can’t live without

And.

There are a lot of things I have been saying I can live without…that I can’t.

BOOM.

Yes, I have a lot of idols.  (Anything you feel you can’t live without.)  I’m also holding myself prisoner in a lot of ways, too.  Depriving myself of things God says are good. Going hungry at my Father’s table.  Thirsty, at the source of Living Water.

Who do I think I am?

Imagine you provide delicious food for your child and she sits in the chair and feels the hunger pains and doesn’t eat.

How does that make you feel?

Really freaking sad. Right?

You love her and you want her to be healthy and you want her to enjoy the things that you provide with just her in mind.

That may be confusing, but I’m not talking about the sugar anymore.

I’m talking about seeing my need of a Savior.

Seeing how much the Father loves me.

About nothing I could have anticipated or imagined.

 

~disclaimer:  I’m uncomfortable writing while in the middle because I’m not sure that you’re supposed to talk about the things you do spiritually.  But I felt led for some reason today.  And Lent is not in the Bible.  It’s a church observance.  So… Please forgive my continued clumsiness, in any case.~

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Don’t Have to Change Your Mind

This is different, but at least it will be unpopular.

You don’t have to change your mind.

Instead of shifting your attention from one thing to another like a raccoon with a hatful of shiny objects:

STOP THINKING YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN OBSESSION ALL THE TIME.

That’s right. I said it.

Instead of committing your life to something because the cool kids ‘like’ its page on Flackbook; why not sit quietly sometimes and think about important ideas? Have a conversation about something besides carnal pleasures.  [Don’t get mad because I used the word ‘carnal‘ properly.  The word means “related to the needs of the physical, temporal; rather than the spiritual”.]

You know what I mean…

“I need a latte.”  The hell heck you do.  Have a cup of strong, black Folger’s.

“Your HAIR! What are you using on it?”  Shampoo.

“Have you seen the new [shirtless hairless effeminate male pin-up] movie?”  Why?  So we can argue about whether, evil or soft-smooth-hands-that-have-never-done-a-day’s-work are more attractive?

“I LOVE [fried chicken sandwiches].  They are AMAZING!”  They are poison.  Whether the founder attends church or not.

“Should I get [another] tattoo?”  No, start chain smoking.  Dumbass.

Put down the game controller.

And the freaking phone.

Your mind is starving to death.  If you think [chocolate milk with a shot of coffee] is amazing, your life is too darn small.  If you are amazed by that, it’s because so few really great things have crossed your consciousness.  Amazing isn’t a synonym for pleasant.

You don’t need to be obsessed with something.

All the time.

It’s okay to be interested in a variety of things.

You don’t have to be “passionate about something” or “have a passion for” it.

You can just do your thing.

Read good books.  Eat what’s served.  Go interesting places.  Have hobbies.  Try new things.  Like them or don’t.

Do your best in high school.

If your parents are letting you pick your path, find some post-secondary training of some kind.

Get a job.  Don’t be idle.  There is honor in work.  Whether it is the paycheck kind or the building the family blessing kind.

You can do any kind of work.  You don’t have to get famous for it.

It’s only bacon.  Bring it home.

I think you should work just a little bit more than you play.  Believe me or don’t, but if you haven’t worn yourself out with work, you will not enjoy the play as much as you would if you did.

Just live.

The passion of Christ, refers to his journey to the cross to be poured out as an offering for us.  His commitment to do what His Father desired.

Are you ready for that definition of passion?

Good.  Because Jesus, too, did a regular job, hung out with his family, attended worship regularly, and obeyed the law of the land.  He’d never heard of [chocolate milk with a shot of coffee] or [fried chicken sandwiches].

The passion will find you.  Though it will not know where to look, if you are always running from one silly, trivial, shiny thing to another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Wisdom I’ve Gained…In All the Same Areas My Mother Did…

Mom and Grandma told me that “nothing jiggles” on a lady.  Or at least it shouldn’t.

At that time, the information was of no use to me, as I was 5’2″ and weighed 95 lbs. soaking wet.

I think you’d agree, time keeps slipping into the future.

Today, the opposite is true.  The absence of jiggle is also not any mark of a lady.  The presence of jiggle is not a way of separating the ladies from the women or broads.

I am also no longer 5’2″…

Fashion trended away from “leave a little something to the imagination”.

Fashion, that excellent slave–that terrible master.

Has driven culture to the point that Southern Living Magazine would devote a half page of copy space for a young writer to apologize and explain her reasons for appearing in ankle socks elsewhere in the issue*.  As if they would lose readers, if there were not some sort of editorial responsibility taken when a young woman keeps her toes clean and safe as she learns to fly on the trapeze.

I digress.

Discreet fashion choices that emphasize strengths and downplay weakness is out of the question.  Utility and appropriateness to the event or activity is relative.

Maybe it’s my home training, but I don’t think of the trends as my “right”.  If it shows me for what I am, I figure I don’t need to make my problem yours, and I cover myself. Vanity?  Heck, YEAH!!! But I’m leaving my struggle with chronic pain, depression, and gravy to your imagination.

My point?  Years ago, in an effort to prevent “jiggle” and “leave it to the imagination”, a woman had an arsenal of “FOUNDATIONS”.  The girdle has gone by the wayside.  Unstylish.  Unattractive.  Indicative of some sort of bondage….  Today, a young woman would never admit to wearing a girdle to cheat her way into a garment that is really made for a different body type.  Because they are a thing of the past.

Today, we have “shapers”.  Spanx.

Because those aren’t girdles.

Yes, they are.  Spanx are girdles.  Just say it.  Don’t apologize.

You are wearing Jane Jetson’s girdle.

There you go.  The emperor is now free to put his pants back on and look better in them.

 

*About 5 years ago, before Lindsey Biermann took over and turned it into Hipster Living. I subscribe and complain every month.  Mickey thinks it’s PMS.

 

 

Thirteen for ’13

I decided to limit my goals to 13.  I could list 100 and still not address all that needs overhauling in my life.  Little by little, I feel that I’ve let things get sloppy.  There is only one way to fix it.  Fix it.

GOALS

1) Silence.  No computer.  No people.  No kidding.  I’ve always had a value for silence.  Maybe because I am an only child, I “got it” from a very early age.  I don’t know.  Whatever’s the case, I haven’t been alone systematically for months.

Looks like: setting an alarm, no matter what time I go to bed.

Start: now.

Finish: none.  Death is the ultimate meditative silence.

2) Move in my strengths.  I actually know a thing or two, and in one or two areas, I am an expert.  A couple of months ago, I had a bit of a wake up call when my brain screamed,”You haven’t accomplished [thing I want] because you have no self-confidence to try.

Looks like: *sigh* making a list of my strengths and deciding in what ways to use those resources to encourage others.

Start: today.

Finish: the list, Feb 1.

3) Rock the kitchen.  The fact is, I avoid cooking food and feeding people.  It’s unloving.  It’s irresponsible.  It’s wasteful.

Looks like:  Keeping enough food in the house for people to eat. I am bad for getting home without enough snacks.  This drives my children to eat all the chips, pretzels, carrots, celery, crackers, cheese, lunch meat, green beans. Then, when meal time comes, there is no li’l side or something.  Planning dinners but also, *sigh* lunches.

Start: Today.

Finish: I can shop today.  Menu planning needs a longer finish date.  The best idea I’ve heard is to create a number of menus and rotate them.  Gimme….two weeks.

4) Get a choke hold on the family finances.  Choke. Hold.  I hope that’s not too harsh of imagery for my more delicate blog guest.  I checked us out on Global Rich List.  I have no excuse.

Looks like: Giving systematically to God’s Work (not always strictly to the local church). Saving like a mad woman.  Possibly refinancing.  Executing a will. Aggressive debt re-payment. It might be a service like Manilla.  I don’t love being here, but I know I am not alone in the world and this is my blog and I’m collecting on the accountability, real or imagined.

Start: Today

Finish: I need to set individual times on each one.  So, today’s action is that.  By night fall tonight, I will have estimated finish dates on these.

5) Get serious about writing. I could post a “knock-knock” joke a day on the blog for the rest of my life.  I could continue to analyze my navel lint for the next five years.  Am I writing or not?  Am I any good or not?

Looks like: submitting something for publication to a legitimate source like a magazine or newspaper or a nice website.

Start: yesterday, I bought The Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Yearbook 2013*.   It has a number of websites for writers.

Finish: Submit something by the end of February.

6) Love my blog.  It seems that when the adoption was final I lost my niche. I still believe in my blog’s name.  What-We-Can’t-Explain is a part of God’s Perfect Design for our lives.  That’s the best description of my life so far.  The greatest things that ever happened were because of what looked like a slip on a banana peel or a cosmic clothesline.

Looks like: a design, a blogging calendar, guest posting, and monetizing.  Creating my own or using others daily blog checklists.

Start: Dec 28–The design is underway. January 3 or something. I’ve been invited to guest post I have to accept.  I’m shy, see.

Finish: The design stuff I have no control over…could be in a week or two.  I will accept on the guest post today.

7) Hold out for quality.  My children have developed a general expectation of life that’s mediocre. I commented to someone the other day that kids will appreciate quality if that’s what they’re exposed to.  It was like I slapped my own face.

Looks like: Resisting the “I can do that later.”

Start: When I Dress for work this morning.

Finish: When they are educated and have found a husband or wife.

8) School. I am burnt out, but I’m not giving up. At least, public school kids are impelled. This is my gig. Only the ISP headmaster gets to tell me what to do.

Looks like: Getting all my paperwork prepared so when it’s due, there is less stress.  Planning the rest of the curriculum until graduation.  Looking at college degree plans so I know what they need.

Start: today.

Finish: Feb 1.

9) Take better care of myself.  (See #1)  I am a big girl.  No one is going to take care of my body and mind and spirit.  End of discussion.  Sure, I’d like to call this one exercise and eat right, but there might be one or two things I need before that.

Looks like: List of needs.  Plan to execute.

Start: When I started writing this post.

Deadline: one week.

10) Make a house that I’m not ashamed to have in the background of my photos.

Looks like: Fill the space in the attic that I gained access to when I was in there.  Give away junk.  Throw away trash.  Plan for Renovation work.

Start: this isn’t rocket science.  Tomorrow’s Saturday.

Finish:

11)  Stop waste in the house.  I think this is redundant, but, it is a mindset.  Instead of seeing my goals in terms of their worth in sacrifice, I get in the habit of medicating my feelings with a “pass”.  Well, $#!@’s out of hand.   Money, Time, Food, Utilities, Late Fees, Brain cells (we have watched some really stupid stuff).

Looks like: setting the example myself.  Shut up.  I hate my life.

Start: with shorter showers and not using the fixture with six bulbs unless I am putting on make-up.  List other areas and work on them.

Finish: When kids can run their own homes.

12)  The organization thing– create systems that make the obnoxious work easy.  Then USE THEM.  Even if it is a to-do list.  Making the list isn’t the objective.  It’s coming under the authority of the list that counts. Looks like: starting that list.

Start: in a minute.

Finish: when I no longer rely on a pile of paper to know what I need to do next.

13) Trust God– I’ve been mad at him over some things that happened really close together that we didn’t get a good outcome on.  But even before that, I was going on the feeling that He wasn’t really showing up for me.  I was having to do this all myself.  I know better.  I wouldn’t be even so much as alive without Him.  If He doesn’t have me now,  none of this really matters.

Looks like: Being joyful when I feel down and discouraged.  Not in a fake way, but acknowledging my feelings and listing what is still good or given in the midst.  There’s a blog challenge, but I think I might do it privately.

Start: ASAP

Finish: Every moment and start again.

 

*It’s a magazine… not Writer’s Market.  I couldn’t find a link.

 

 

 

Not Feelin’ It

For today’s performance, the role of the Ghost of Christmas-Yet-To-Come will be play by a Discouraged Mother.

I’m not feeling the holiday. After lots of big words and big plans and big urging to others last month,(To which I am not even going to link, in my shame) I don’t feel like Christmas. Decorating, baking, dressing, partying, worshipping, shopping, wrapping, hiding, traditioning– none of it.

There is a reason.

For several consecutive weeks, I have shuttled people to various activities, set aside my own agenda. GOT. @#$%. DONE.  For other people.

Not me. Not Mickey(okay, a little). Or the boy(we just enjoy our roles as sub-ordinates).

There is only one answer left.

They, in turn, have attended rehearsals, concerts, parties, plays, home tours, ultimate frisbee get-togethers, visits in others’ homes. Thank God, I have someone to enjoy life for me, so I can spend my time gassing up the car and buying foods they are interested in. (Not foods they find boring. Yes, you heard me.  Boring.). It’s important that I make it happen for them without regard for the running of a househole and continued access to hot and cold running water indoors or lights & heat.

There is an alternative.  I can have all the household help I can stand to delegate to if I am willing to be talked to like something they scraped off the bottom of their shoes.  I can have excellent scores on schoolwork if I drive them like a balking team of oxen–constantly alert and steering every second to prevent a stampede.

It would be handy and convenient to blame Facebo*k.  But.  Like alcohol, it doesn’t create problems.  It magnifies them.

It is proving precious difficult to get excited about the first Christmas at full salary in the last four years.

It’s not my deep concern about their character.  I wish it were.

It’s just freaking pragmatism.  I just don’t warm to the idea of spending my holiday time, money and imagination on people who clearly feel they are above me.  Just as the clerk at gas station doesn’t buy me a gift that represents an appreciable percentage of her household income, you and I wouldn’t send expensive personal gifts to say, I don’t know…Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.  Not only do they not need what we can afford, they might think we were weird and put us on a security watch list.

It gets worse.  They are delightful to others.  On a regular basis, teachers and people they volunteer with give me all manner of glowing feedback about how responsible, respectful and reliable they are.  And how good looking.

Really?  Really.  REALLY!?!

So?  It’s personal?

I actually don’t think so.  I’m pretty sure it’s a phase.  Perhaps one designed by God himself to make sure a mom was ready to let her chicks leave the nest.  If that’s the case, it’s working well, per design. The timing is unfortunate.

I’ve drafted a letter to Santa. He sees them when they are sleeping and awake, knows when they’re bad or good.

He. Knows.

He’s cleared me to stick with the bag of crew socks &  10-pack of Juicy Fruit, their father received when he was 15; and the Forever in Blue Jeans Cologne & $5 bill I received when I was 15.

Hmmm.  Fifteen.

Yep, totally a phase.

How do you stir up your holiday spirit when it’s low?

Sneaking a merry-go-round break with Bro.

 

 

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