Monday, August 30, 2010
I've always been pretty bad about spending time alone. If I go shopping or go see a movie and my husband can't go, I usually grab a friend for companionship. This is a little quirk I've been trying to tame. I think it stems from a fear that something bad will happen and I'll be by myself. Who knows but it's something I'm trying to conquer. Yesterday I had a shopping trip to the City planned with a good friend. At the last moment she couldn't make it so my first reaction was to stay home, my second reaction was to call someone else, my third reaction was.... "Go shopping by yourself silly. Have fun! You won't be on any time schedule but your own." So I kissed my husband goodbye and headed north. When I got to the City I was starving and blueberry pancakes sounded so good. Now shopping by myself is one thing, but eating in a restaurant is totally different, or so I though. It's something I've only done twice before.So I found an IHOP, waited to be seated. Did people look at me weird? I wouldn't know, I was too busy reading my book. I got a table quickly, got my order quickly and was out of there in no time with a belly full of blueberry pancakes. After a delicious breakfast and a full day of shopping I realized something..... I'm pretty good company.
Friday, August 27, 2010
A good friend of mine is always encouraging our kids to "Get out of your comfort zone." It's become his mantra. In fact he is the one who organized the first mission trip to Mexico my oldest Son went on when he was 15. My son came back a changed person and he remains changed to this day. His passion is missions and helping the less fortunate. He is the Volunteer Coordinator at a homeless shelter in Oklahoma City. The eyes he sees his world through are completely different than the eyes of those who have not gotten an up close and personal look at poverty and need.
My Daughter just recently returned to San Diego from being deployed in the Persian Gulf. Since she has been in the military she has learned that even though she can maintain a friendship, most of them have to be long distance. It seems that just about the time she is able to develop a close network of friends, they end up being moved to different states and she has to start from scratch all over again. It's difficult to be far away from all of your family and friends. The other day she was talking to her brother who simply can't imagine what not having a network of close friends would be like. He has been fortunate that most of his high school buddies live in the same City as him, if not in the same house as him. He has lived in the City long enough to have developed lots of friends outside his main circle. As he has gone through different life transitions it's made him more aware of how blessed he is to have his support system and how difficult it must be for his Sister to be so alone and so far away. While they were speaking on the phone he asked her if she would do him just one favor.... That's all he wanted was for her to do this one thing. He told her if it didn't work out then she didn't have to do it again but he wanted her to try it just once. He told her to contact a shelter there in San Diego or an organization and volunteer just one evening helping the homeless. Just for the record.... That is way out of her comfort zone, but because he insisted she agreed to the challenge. I spoke on the phone with her yesterday and she was very nervous and uncomfortable about going.
First thing this morning I got a phone call. When I heard her special ring-tone sound, I immediately picked up the phone and cut right to the chase... "So, how'd it go?" She kind of laughed, and said that it had gone "really well." She had contacted The Rock Church there in San Diego and signed up for their Thursday night small group that goes out and takes stuff to people on the street. This church has been such a blessing to her over the last couple of years. It is a church that is totally plugged into the community in several tangible ways. So she met the leader of the group downtown last night. They were armed with tooth brushes, juice, water and other things that most people take for granted. They began the process of going up to those who were just settling down for the evening, under the stars. Many of them had their pets by their side... Their only companion. As she went around talking to the different people she was struck by several things she didn't expect to find. Many of the homeless were there by choice. They had chosen to live on the streets and "They seem totally content" she said in amazement. Another thing that surprised her was the conversations she had.... "Mom, most of their speech was so eloquent and intelligent." A lot of people, myself included imagine all homeless people to be drunkards or mentally challenged, this just simply isn't the case. One lady she spoke to had a masters degree and had chosen to live on the street to help save money for her sister's medical care. Isn't that an awesome, sacrificial act of love, or what?!! This lady was articulate, educated and politically savvy, yet she had chosen a different lifestyle than others who had her educational background. My daughter was also amazed that these people who basically had nothing, asked for very little and were so grateful for anything. She said when she would ask some of them if they needed anything, they would simply reply... "No, we're good." She said... "What they really seemed to want most of all was someone to talk to."
She walked away from downtown San Diego last night with a new perspective and a new understanding of the homeless. "I felt like I had been the one who was bless." she said. It's true that we are blessed, so that we may be a blessing to others. I think most of us are guilty(I know I am) of saying we'll pray for those less fortunate, or we will give money to help those less fortunate, but we very seldom want to reach out to those less fortunate in a tangible way that will bring us face to face with them.... It might make us uncomfortable. I wonder if those who won't "Get out of their comfort zone", aren't the ones who should carry the title of less fortunate. After all, when was the last time that you've said.... "No, I'm good." I know I haven't said it nearly as often as I should. Looking back, she said she would definately be doing this again, as well as looking into other ministries that would enable her to give back. It makes me happy to see my kids not only reaching out to help others, but to also challenge each other to be more.... So much more.
Monday, August 16, 2010
My husband and I went to see Eat, Pray, Love this weekend. He had seen the previews and thought I would enjoy it. Yes, I have a man who is perfectly comfortable taking me to chick flicks and who will admit to anyone that he enjoys going to them. Five minutes into the movie I was crying.... Not because it was sad, but because I could relate. The crying didn't last long, I gathered myself together and enjoyed the rest of the movie without a bunch of slobbering and snubbing. It seems I cry at the strangest things these days, but then will sit absolutely stoic at heart wrenching stuff.... Go figure. On the way home we had a conversation, which brought me to tears yet again, about why I related to the movie. I can't express what comfort I get from knowing the my husband genuinely understands why I feel the way I feel. I told him, as I have before, that I know I'm not the only woman who is struggling with this time in her life, I'm just one of the few who happens to be extremely vocal about those feelings. I've been criticized for being so honest about my struggle, I've been criticized for putting it on my blog, but I stand behind the fact that regardless of how uncomfortable we may be with our feelings...... It doesn't make them go away. If as a woman, I can help just one other woman know that she isn't alone in her feelings, then that's good enough for me. Struggling with who you are is the way you crawl out from beneath the rubble. Denying you have questions will never get you answers. So, until I have the answers I will ask. Until I have the answers I will seek. Until I have the answers I will blog, and hopefully my appetite will return. Do I recommend the movie? Honestly, it will not be for everyone, for those who have at one time struggled with who they are, yes I believe you will like it. A word of warning though... It will make you want to eat some really good Italian food.... but in my books, that's not a bad thing.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Today is the first day of school which is Always a bittersweet time for students who are anxious to be back with their friends, but who still want to sleep in with no responsibilities. I think I'll always feel that twinge of excitement in the air on the first day of school, even when I have no more kids in school. As driving to work this morning I saw kids huddled together in their yards, little kids with back packs holding tightly to their Momma's hand as they walked to their first day of the elementary school that is down the street from us. I know several teachers that have been gearing up to get back in the swing of things and who have been spending the last several evenings of their summer getting their rooms ready for the eager little minds that will arrive today. As much as I'd like to put my baby in a bubble where only positive influences can get through to him, I know that real strength comes from the trials and tribulation of day to day decisions and hard choices. My best option is to cover him in prayer like I have my other two kids who are now out on their own. My prayer is: "Lord, keep a hand of protection on him. Lead him and guide him in all things. Build a hedge of protection around his mind, body and soul and fill him with your wisdom. Make your way bright before him and give him courage to walk in that light. Give him strength to stand for what is right. Give him favor with those that have authority over him, and bless him so that he can be a blessing to others".
Friday, August 6, 2010
The heat index is 116+ today.... Yay! That's summer in Oklahoma for you. I come home to find 3 teenage boys in my bathroom huddled around the sink. Now just speaking from personal experience with other teenage boys.... This might need a little investigation. So in my best stern Momma voice I inquire "Hey, whatya'll (yes that is one word, I'm from Oklahoma) doin in there?!" The 3 bleach blond heads (heads only, no eyes could be seen on any of them) pop out the bathroom door. "We're flat ironing our hair." This was something I just had to see. I walk in and inspect their efforts only to inform them..... "Ya'll are doin it allll wrong!" They look a little defeated so I said... "Here, let me show you how to really do it right." During the remainder of my lunch hour I taught 3 teenage boys the technique of flat ironing your hair and the importance of having the right "product" available to give it that finishing touch. I"m almost done when I ask my Son if he's "Going for a particular look?" He tells me yeah, there's this band guy whose hair he really likes. With just a few minute left I tell him to run downstairs and google the guy so I can figure out what needs to be done. Technology truly is a pretty cool thing. So I see what we're going for... I do a little touch up, and he's ready to go. Personally, I would much rather him go for one of the Jonas Brother's look, but if he wants to go around town looking like a throw back to the Beatles early years then who am I to judge. It could be worse.... He could be smokin dope and eatin hot wings at Hooters behind my back... (Side note: Yes, eatin hot wings at Hooters is one of my top 10 things you don't let your Mom know you're doing list..... You know who you are out there, I'm watching you !)
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Really the words were few, but the pain was oh, so deep. I looked into her eyes and I knew.... "She doesn't get it!" "She doesn't see the pain, she doesn't see the hurt!" And at that very moment and time I truly felt that not only did she not get it.... She didn't care. "Well.... Squish me like a bug!!!" That's what I thought, as I lay in bed starring up at the ceiling. Right then a small still voice whispered in my ear.... "No, you're right... She doesn't get it.... She doesn't understand.... It's not hers to get." Like a gentle breeze blowing across my heart the voice said... "It's mine, it's all mine." As my mind began to settle the voice said "The pain, the disappointment, the tears you've shed over the loss of something so dear.... It's all mine.""I'm the one who cares, I'm the one who sees, and I'm the one that will share your burden." It's true! So many of the things I wish those around me could understand is completely lost on them.But the one who knit me together in my Mother's womb.... Nothing is lost on him. I am his, he is mine and when it all washes out, that's all that really matters. That's not only good news for me, but good news to those around me, because how can I hold someone to standards that can only be filled by Christ? Whew!! At least I know I'm in good hands.