Sunday, December 28

A 'new' thought

I had an interesting experience the other day. Well, it was actually normal for most people but for me it was something I have never experienced before.

My husband, Matthew, was at work and I was home with the kids for the day. My youngest was down for a nap and my oldest was on his way to his. It was a laid-back day. I spent some time surfing the web, mainly looking at places to live in Arizona b/c lately I have really wanted to move there. Next I put my boy to bed came back down stairs and did nothing I wasn't really tired and there was not anything 'pressing' that had to be done but more than that I didn't feel like doing anything. That is the interesting thing. I have never felt like doing nothing and then proceed to do nothing. When my kids woke up they wanted to play together in the same crib for a few min. its a novelty they enjoy for some reason so I took the opportunity to lay down in the guest room so I could hear them but give them privacy. As I laid on the futon I prayed 'God pleas help me, I don't feel like doing anything!'. Then I had a though, a thought I have honestly never had before, "What if there's nothing wrong with that?". I don't know where it came from but it is very foreign to my natural way of thinking. I am a doer. I can always find things to do. I have just done nothing! I know what 'nothing' looks like, there are days my husband is a master at doing 'nothing'. Thats not a slam, there are times I envy his ability to just be and not do, but I never knew what that was like. 

There is actually an art form involved in doing nothing. If you do it all the time you are just lazy, if you do nothing but let your mind spend the whole time thinking about what you should be doing or need to do then you just wasted your time. I had spend the day feeling horrible about myself because I wasn't 'doing' anything and didn't want to, but as that thought entered my mind ("what if there's nothing wrong with doing nothing?") the guilt began drift away. It was a rather shocking moment for me to be honest. I only hope that the next time that feeling comes around I can embrace it and enjoy it and let it be useful. 

So here's your assignment, for the few that even read, do nothing and let it be useful. 

Thursday, December 4

Honoring my Mother

Losing a parent is never easy. My mother passed away seven years ago today, December 4th, 2001. She was diagnosed in 1995 with Breast Cancer. At the time my parents were separated and my mom and us girls were living in government housing while she worked stocking shelves at a BigLots for literally $4.15 an hour. She took the job because it would allow her to see us off to school and be home right before us. She always thought of us. After she was diagnosed we moved back into our old house w/my dad. I don't really remember much of anything about that time except that I peeled a lot of carrots, so much so that my hands had an orange tint to them. They found out really quick that my mom was allergic to chemo. It made her so sick and didn't do anything to the she went all natural. The woman drank 64 oz of home made carrot juice a day. She said that God told her to do it. She mixed the carrots w/a small amount of onions and apples to help sweeten it up. I don't know how she drank that stuff but some days it was all she could keep down. Not to long after, to everyones surprise, she entered remission. The cancer was gone and life went back to normal. Well normal for us which was pretty dysfunctional. The dysfunctionality grew and soon my parents were divorced. After a few years both my sisters were married and out of the house and it was just me and mom. I was in the last few teenage years of my life. Our relationship was changing though. It was turning into the parent/friend stage. We had long talks, went out to eat a lot with each other, we spent a lot of time together. Of course thru part of this I "hated" her and didn't want her telling me what to do and we had our fights but for some reason our relationship was different. Once I hit 17 God started to do something w/in me. I started changing and I wasn't as angry or rebellious. Thats when our relationship really went deeper. We would stay up until 2 in the morning talking about God and studying the Bible together. We were a lot alike in our giftings and our personalities. Shortly after mom started to get sick again. the Dr.'s had many different idea' even swore it was emphysema  from when she smoked as a teen. Right off the bat I knew that it was cancer. I still have the journal entry i wrote in. I knew it was cancer and that this time she wouldn't make it. It wasn't a lack of faith or that I didn't believe in miracles. It was just something I knew. My mom knew it as well. We used to talk about it. I remember seeing her in the hospital and some of the people from the church were there and they were all talking about what it would be like when she was healed and walking around again. She told them that she knew God would heal her. After they left the room she would tell me that her 'healing' was coming in heaven. 
So on December 4th 2001 she received her healing and moved on from this world. 

Linda Lou Brinkman was an amazing, faithful woman of God. She was a model of character and compassion. She was a home-missionary to the homeless of Westminster, MD. She cared for them and treated them better than anyone they had ever encountered. I only wish I was able to have time with her. Time to learn from her, to ask her questions, parenting questions or faith questions. I truly miss her. Her greatest desire was to be closer to Jesus. And now she is spending eternity fulfilling that desire. I can only hope that in the end of my life I can look back and say that I was at least 1/2 the woman of God I consider my Mother to be. 

I love you mom, 
your daughter

Friday, November 28

My Husbands Success

I have realized that I am over-joyed when others I love succeed! Recently my husband, Matthew had another Article published. I married a writer, a very good writer. The difference between this article and other works he has had published is that this one comes with a CHECK!!! This is his first payed publishing. When he received the e-mail requesting to publish his article in their magazine I about jumped out of my seat and let out a yip-eee!!! He has worked so hard and come so far and to see his success first hand brought so much joy to my heart. It was encouraging to both of us, more so for him I am sure considering he has been writing since he was a teen-ager sitting in coffee shops in upstate New York. All in all it served as another reminder that we are going in the right direction. 

Friday, November 14

Happy Anniversary

My husband Matthew and I just celebrated our 5 year anniversary. It was interesting considering I never thought, nor wanted to get married and I had sworn off children long before we ever met. Now 5 years and 2 kids later I am more surprised by the fact that we are still happy and still like each other. Sure we have our ups and downs, our dis-agreements and fights but we are committed to work it out and to stay honest. I guess in the end its not so much love that wins but willingness. I love Matthew even in the midst of horrible times but it is the willingness (on both parts) to do what ever it takes that demonstrates that love and keeps it growing. 

Considering where we both came from I am so grateful to God for helping us thru these past 5 years and for placing people, couples in our path to show us the 'what NOT to do's and the what to do's. Couples who let us see them fight, love, raise kids, have fun ect. and our success is, in part, due to them and their willingness to be open with their relationship. 

I don't know what the next 10 years will hold for us but I am positive of this fact; if we continue to stay open and willing we will still be happy and still enjoy each others company. Probably even more so. For that I am truly excited!!!

Tuesday, November 4

I was thinking about the 'division' factor the other day as I was driving thru a 'Middle-class America' neighborhood. As I looked at the various houses I was amazed at how many people had 'staked' their claim in their front yards. Their was a sign for "McCain" and then next door one for "Obama", one for "Mitch" and across the street "Ditch Mitch". I wondered as I drove how much division this caused between the neighbors. Were they less likely to smile and wave, talk about the Notre Dame game or shoot the breeze while they took out the trash? Were they less likely to help out in simple situations? Maybe not, maybe it became a spring board for conversation about how they really felt and where they stood on things. 

I guess I am left to wonder. But what I wonder even more than that is will I ever be so passionate about a 'man' that I would stake his name in my front yard for everyone to see where I stand? 

Tuesday, October 21

blink people!

I slowly became irritated the other day as I was driving to the bank. It appears that the little stick that comes out of the steering wheel that good drivers use to SIGNAL when they are turning are lost on the other drivers. I was actually driving safely if I do say so myself, but other drivers were waiting to let me in on their secretive destination by declining to use that creative signaling devise. I almost rear ended 3 different vehicles. Good thing I was paying attention and not texting like the driver next to me who crossed the lane lines nearly sending me into the curb while i was braking to avoid the 'un-signaler'. I found myself yelling at the driver in front of me "Just Blink! Use the stinken  blinker people. It's built into the car!" 

I love driving

Tuesday, September 9

where have all the parents gone?

Seriously, where have all the parents gone? All week I have seen little people doing things with no big people in sight. How do you let a kid whose only 1 1/2 years old play outside all by them selves.  Sure the mom may be in the kitchen looking out the window every minute or so but is that really enough time to get outside in case of emergency? Now its only fair to mention that I have only been a parent for a little over two years so I have not had as much time to make some of the mistakes I may point out in the rest of this thought. 
 I sat outside tonight on the steps so my boy could play in the yard. He is a little over two years old and loves the outdoors. So I gave in tonight and played outside with him while his little sister (10 months old) took a nap. 'Mommy time' as we call it.  As my boy was playing with his trucks my mind wandered to the kids playing across the street.  The oldest was maybe 7 and was going back and forth between inside the house and the back yard, the middle girl, who was looking after her younger sister, was maybe 4 and the youngest was under 2 years old. The middle girl was walking with the youngest back and forth across the street and telling her to look out as cars passed by.  Then the oldest and the middle girl went inside and the 'baby' was in the back yard crying while laying in the grass.  I watched stunned not knowing what to do.  What am I suppose to do? I wanted to run over and pick her up and hug her and tell her it was o.k. and take her to her mom.  Grand idea huh? Then I looked at my boy who is too young to be left alone in the yard or near the street while I ran over to help this little girl.  And lets be honest after I knocked on the door holding the neighbors baby I have a feeling she wouldn't have smiled and thanked me but probably knocked me out for picking up her baby while she had things under control.
  Still I sat paralyzed feeling like something was terribly wrong. This comes on the heels of seeing a little boy, maybe in first grade, running across a four way stop street to then take off down the side walk running far from the direction in which he came. I went thru the stop turned around and drove in the direction the boy was running but I had lost him and could not find him.  I felt sick.  Truth be told he was probably o.k. and running home for dinner but still I could not fathom an instance where I would let Samuel, at 7 or 8 years old, run thru a busy intersection and around the block to come home. I hope the boy is o.k. I didn't know what to do when I couldn't find where he went. Just like I didn't know what to do about the young little girl crying with her face in the grass across the street from me. 
So I looked at my little boy who took the book I was no longer reading out of my hand, put it on the ground and pulled me up to play with him. So I played with him. For the next hour I played. The parents of the kids across the street, both who had the kids at very young ages themselves, finally came outside to yell at the kids about how they wanted to leave and the kids better get their stuff together then yelled at the baby for taking her shoes off, packed the kids into the cars and drove off. Thats when I felt really sick.  This is their life. For the next 15-18 + years this is their family. Maybe that is a leap but this is not just based off of one afternoon sitting on the steps out front. This is from observation since the 'kids' got pregnant a few years ago soon after I moved in. So I sit here tonight thinking what should I have done? What could I have actually done? What can I do know? Do I just let all of this ruminate? 
I firmly believe that we have a community responsibility, that it takes a village to raise a child and all that stuff. But I have no clue how that practically works out and where the lines are to be drawn. 
Anyone who can help me with this please feel free to chime in.

Thursday, August 28

"When he (Barnabas) came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord" (Acts 11:23)

As I was reading in Acts the other day this phrase seemed to jump out at me: "with purpose of heart... continue with the Lord". So I start looking at what they meant by purpose and I found that in the Greek (the language of the New Test.) it suggests a deliberate plan, a proposition, an intention, design. (word wealth NKJ study bible) 

Our relationship with God is not just some hap-hazard walk, not something we just stumble onto and clumsily try to make headway with.  Or maybe the problem lay in the fact that for most of us that is exactly how our relation with God is: happenstance. 

In Acts, Barnabas encourages these 'new' believers to continue with the Lord purposefully.  Be intentional in your walk with God. Any spouse knows that a relationship does not just sustain itself on random encounters. You have to daily remind self to be selfless, to show love and understanding even when your tired, to listen when you want to be the one speaking and so on. This is how our relationship with God is. Of course at times this all comes naturally and we find ourselves talking and listening and growing and its great. Then there are other times when we have to remind ourselves to 'go to a deserted place and pray for a while' to regain what we didn't know we were slowly losing.

My thought for the day... what is your purpose of heart' to continue in the Lord. How are you being intentional? 

Tuesday, August 19

unforgiving world

Hung Xa of china had a close to flawless routine tonight, well tonight for where I am from.  Over and over the commentators were amazed and spoke praise and accolades for the mans routine. Then he makes a mistake. That mistake is all that was replayed, all that was mentioned from that point.  We live in an unforgiving world. A world in which it doesn't matter if 9 out of 10 things you do are near perfect all that is replayed on the 10 o'clock news in the one small part where your hand slips off the bar and catches under your arm then the clip is cut right before you lift yourself back up again to finish the routine by doing a few summersaults and land standing tall with your hands in the air. 

a problem

Do you ever find that while you are reading your mind can take a tangent off of an authors seeming tangent and you find yourself thinking about something totally different than the main topic of the book you were enjoying?  As I was sitting at Starbucks the other day this very thing happened to me.  The author (M. Robert Mulholland Jr.) went on a seemingly incongrous "tangent" about the suicide rate of youth and then the elderly (which at one point was double the youth rate).  He (the author) began to describe the problem: as a culture, we determine people's value by what they do for us as a society.  A teenager flipping burgers or an older person collecting their retirement doesn't count, aside from us lusting in our minds of what it will be like when we don't have to get up early and go to work anymore.  This was the point where I should have put the book down because I will inevitable have to reread the rest of the chapter again since I missed everything the author said after sharing this problem.  

The questions I couldn't get out my head are as follows:

Whose responsibility is is now? Whose 'job' is it to fix the problem?  I think it is our job as christians. In scripture the early church looked out for the orphans and the widows those who couldn't fully look our for themselves, those who were displaced due to things outside of their control.

Secondly, How? How can we give back a place in society for people who in our won minds we find very little need of in our day-to-day life? How do we transform our own thinking to see people based on the quality of who they are not what they can or can't do. How do we fix this problem with out just finding a place for them to "do" more stuff so they become valuable again, but really place value on who they are. I am talking about more than just plugging people in now so they feel useful, I am talking about changing this cast system we have in the west and placing value on people simply for who they are, for their being. 

This goes beyond just the elderly but to all 'those' that we simple place out of our minds: kids, teens, elderly, homeless, orphans, the drug addicts, the abused, all those who have been displaced.  

Lastly, what am I suppose to do about this problem. Not the church or the government but me personally? How can i transform my own mind and live in a way that includes the displaced and those who are often overlooked or left out?  What can I do?

As you think about theses things please add in the comments ways we can get involved and change the way things are.  

Saturday, July 26

Paying dues.

At some point everyone has to suck it up and pay their dues.  It seems like this is what my husband and I have been doing for the last 4 almost 5 years.  We were married young, well i was young-20 compared to his 26 years of age, and now 41/2 years in we have 2 kids and still aren't doing what we really want to be doing.  For a while we just chalked it up to the fact that we were a young family and we just had to pay our time. I was working a full time job, a part time job, and taking care of things at home while my husband, a stay at home dad, was also working part-time and trying to finish his novel (which is amazing). Life is crazy.  We are tired - all the time. The kids hate it.  So we have been trying to figure out if we have payed enough dues or if there never were any dues in the first place. 

4:30 am I am at work putting an order away while listening to a podcast by Mosaic (church).  The guy is talking about faith.  I had been praying asking God if i should stay at my full time job or not, I felt like God said "its time to leave this job" i of course thought this was crazy and just me not wanting to get up at 3:30 am anymore but then i asked what i would be doing instead since we needed the $$$ and God told me that i wouldn't find out until after i stepped out in faith and left this job then he proceeded to tell me that for confirmation I was to go home and than night, after we put the kids to bed of course, i was suppose to pray with my husband and say these words "God i feel like you told me what i am suppose to do now i ask that you tell Matthew". So I did.  It took a while. Matthew didn't like it at all and thought i was pressuring him so I explained again what God had told me and we tried again and Matthew, not knowing at all what God had told me got confirmation from God.  

Fast forward...I put in my resignation and now I am waiting on what God has for us.  I am terrified.  But I am only 25 years old right now and I would rather be doing this now than when I'm 40 years old with a mortgage and teenagers and everything else that comes as we "grow up".  

So here's to paying dues and trusting God