Wednesday, July 31, 2013

THIS world is just a camping trip


I get so caught up in living my life in THIS world, that I forget that this isn’t my permanent home. I truly have blinders on that limit my perception of eternity.  When I am struggling… that is my perspective. When I am happy… that is my perspective. When I am tired, or overwhelmed, or stressed… that is my perspective. When I am in-love… that is my perspective. It would be accurate to say that the blinders I wear are my emotions. When I take my blinders off and remember that THIS world is just temporary… it sometimes blows my mind.

The bible describes THIS world as our tent… a temporary home. I LOVE this analogy! And, I can totally relate.  My family and I like to camp. We don’t go too often because we tent camp and it takes a full day to pack all that we will need for three nights away from home, in the middle of the forest. It’s a lot of work to prepare for a camping trip. Well, it is a lot of work for me because I want all of the comforts of home when I camp. I want a comfy place to sleep… so I pack a million blankets and pillows. I want all of the foods I like and coffee is a must… so I pack a couple coolers, bags, and a french press.  I want my personal hygiene to remain at a socially acceptable level… so I pack a shower bag, water, and a million products. I want the trip to be fun and memorable… so I pack s’mores, scavenger hunts, and glow sticks. I don’t want to go without anything or get there and wish I would have packed something… so I pack extra stuff too.  I go through all of this packing just to try and make our camping experience feel like home. All of this effort to feel comfortable. All of this effort to feel like tent camping is our permanent residence.

Even after all of that packing… inevitably, there is something I forget to pack. Also, inevitably, I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t feel at home. There are factors that I can’t control like bugs,  wild animal calls in the middle of the night, and rain. So, after all of that packing, planning, and preparing I still don’t feel at home. This tells me that I am not made for a temporary home… I am not made for tent living. I was made to endure it, make the most of it, and enjoy making the memories. After all, it is just temporary.  

The bible also describes heaven as our home… a permanent home. When we go to heaven it will be a home coming, a celebration, and our permanent residence for all of eternity. I can’t even fathom how wonderful it will be to go to heaven.

Although, maybe we do get a little glimpse of what heaven is like after our tent camping adventures. That moment when you walk into your house… the air conditioner is on, you take a much needed shower, you get into your pajamas, you sleep in your own bed… all the comforts of home… everything just right.  Ahhhhh! Home Sweet Home! I think heaven will be the same feeling… times a million.

After camping out in THIS world for our temporary lifetimes, it will feel so good to be home in heaven… our permanent home for all of eternity!


  

Confession Wednesday


Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

As most of my readers know, I am a visual arts teacher for an elementary school. I teach art to about 500 kindergarten through 8th graders. So, as all teachers do, I have my summers off.

As summer is coming to a halting stop… I report back to school tomorrow. I am reflecting on the great adventures of my summer. I enjoyed a long weekend alone with my husband while our son was at church summer camp. My son and I went on a 3 week vacation (my husband joined us for one of those weeks) to Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. We went to the Arizona Science Center and the Musical Instrument Museum with great friends. We saw a few movies at the theater. My friends and I rented a cabin in Flagstaff for 3 nights. While we were there, my Bucket List Girls group went on an obstacle rope course high in the pine trees. I’ve enjoyed pajama days, organizing days, movie days, and cleaning days. I’ve enjoyed date nights, girl’s nights, son and Mom nights, and late nights.

All of these experiences have been such a blessing and refreshing to my soul. My heart is full and I am ready to pour into others.

Having reflected on my summer…   I feel as though I can take on another year with passion. I am open about the changes coming our way. I am ready to fill the hearts and the minds of my students. It is going to be a great year!

I am also ready to start back to school because I need some structure in my life. I have a hard time getting out of the house before noon. I eat all day long. My to-do list has been completed. My son has reached the point in summer (as he does every year) when he is bored… and he thinks it is my job to entertain him… and that I am responsible for his happiness. Ugh!

But here’s the catch… as much as I love structure, I can only tolerate it for awhile. Then, I get bored with structure and want to go back to freedom… it is a vicious cycle for me.

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…


I am super excited about the new school year… or maybe just excited for the structure!  Not sure which… or for how long it will last! Sigh... 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Inspiration Boards


In order to change my habit of negative self talk, I decided to use words that I connect with to create inspiration boards. It has taken me several months to complete all 15 of these boards. I wanted to be careful about the words I chose. I wanted to have words that contained the ability to change my thoughts. I wanted words that spoke directly to my heart and soul. I wanted words that I truly live by. So, here are the words on my 15 boards:

1.      God… meet me in this place
2.    Thankfulness Gratefulness
3.    It is well with my soul
4.    I am beautiful because… I. AM. GOD’S. CHILD.
5.     Perfection is not welcome here
6.    I am worthy
7.     Love myself and others
8.    I am enough
9.    Pray
10. Own my story
11.  Get out of my comfort zone
12.When we tell our stories, we change the world
13.Be… change, courageous, vulnerable, brave, good enough, still, true
14.You have to brave with your life so that others can be brave
15. Vulnerability is life’s great dare


I have these 15 boards hanging on the wall in the nook of my bathtub. When I find myself falling back into the habit of negative self talk, I soak my body in the bathtub and soak my heart and soul in these words. I allow these words to wash over me until I feel like me again.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

No, Slow, and Grow…all at once


A few weeks ago at church the message was about how sometimes God says “No”, sometimes He says “Slow”, and sometimes He says “Grow”.  I knew in my soul what our pastor meant by all of those God answers. I’ve received those answers before.  

In April, I wrote a blog titled, “He said, “No”. I also wrote, in April (rough month), “Stillness Bank Account”; where God was teaching me to go “Slow”. Another “Slow” teachable moment was last September when I wrote a blog titled, “Be Still”. Lord knows, and so do all of you, that I have been in “Grow” mode for over a year now. Anyone of my blogs would provide proof of that statement.

So, when an opportunity to apply for a position within the school district where I teach presented itself… I thought, “This is it! This is why God had said, “No” before. This is why He said, “Slow” before. This is why He said, “Grow” before.” All of the puzzle pieces fit together. I knew this was it.

I applied. I went all out on my resume. I even created a tri-fold pamphlet highlighting my accomplishments. I successfully completed an interview. I prayed for God’s will... even if it didn’t match up with my present wants. I told God that I would walk in this direction until He closed the door.  I asked others for prayers. I did everything right; yet, long story short, I didn’t get the job. It wasn’t MY opportunity. It was someone else’s puzzle piece fitting in place… not mine.  It was someone else’s opportunity… and I am so happy for them.

God said, “No, Slow, and Grow”… all at once. He said, “No. This isn’t your opportunity or your direction.” He said, “Slow. Be still and appreciate the blessings I am pouring on you.” He said, “Grow. Trust Me and grow through THIS moment.”

The area where I needed to “Grow” in wasn’t trusting God or growing toward Him… it was growing through THIS moment that I tripped over. You see, for a few moments, I allowed the fact that I didn’t get the job diminish me. I convinced myself with doubt and negative self talk that the reason I didn’t get the job was that I wasn’t enough and I wasn’t worthy. For a moment in time, I thought that was true…I believed those lies. I tripped.  


Thankfully God has grown me enough so that I now catch myself when I trip. I caught those lies and balanced them with truth. I am enough. I am worthy. This just wasn’t MY opportunity. God has something amazing planned for my life. I am willing to wait for His will to be done.

God said, “No, Slow, and Grow”… all at once. And, it is well with my soul. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Confession Wednesday



Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

I sweat when it’s hot or cold, when I am nervous or calm, when I exert myself or I am still… I think sometimes I sweat just because I can. It’s not pretty. It’s not sexy. My white shirts don’t last very long because they get yellow armpit stains. And, how I love the classy look of a starched white shirt. Sigh…

Since I am a sweater, I wear a toxic level of deodorant. I wish I could use a more natural form of underarm protection; however, I fear for the lives of those around me if I do. They might suddenly need a canoe to forge their way through my sweat pool. Or, they might need nose plugs to prevent from passing out due to my stench.  So, I continue to put toxins in my body so that I will be socially accepted.

Besides the toxic, killing myself slowly, part of using clinical strength deodorant… I hate how it gets all over everything. If I apply the deodorant first and then try to put my shirt or dress on… it gets all over the outside of my clothes. It leaves white lines running horizontally across my wardrobe. THEN, I have to get a wet towel and wipe it off… hoping the towel doesn’t leave little fibers all over me. Or, I put my shirt on first and then apply my deodorant… it gets all over the inside of my shirt instead of staying where it should, in the pit of my underarm. Or, I apply the deodorant first and then do the chicken dance with my arms to fan the deodorant dry. I don’t have time for morning chicken dances!

To solve my deodorant issues I had made myself rules:
1.      If I am wearing something with sleeves I will apply deodorant first, do a quick chicken dance, and put on my shirt using the inside out trick. (If you aren’t familiar with this trick…. then we need to talk.)  
2.    If I am wearing something sleeveless I will put my shirt on, line the arm hole of my shirt with a tissue, and then apply the deodorant. When my deodorant is fully dry, then I will (hopefully remember to) take the tissues out of the arm holes.

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

I am a sweater. Not the knitted kind that you wear on a cold day… the wet kind.





Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Confession Wednesday


Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

 I was about to return home from a long weekend with my girlfriends when my car wouldn’t start. In my girlfriend’s efforts to help they asked me a million questions. Hard questions like what insurance do you have, do you have road side assistance, do you have an extended warranty, how old is your battery, and do you know how to jump start a car. They were just trying to be helpful. I didn’t know the answers to those hard questions. Car maintenance and stuff is not my department. That is my husband’s department. He deals with all of that.

My car did end up starting after a friend of mine jumped me... I mean, jump started the car. See I'm not good at this! 

If I have car issues I just call my husband. Have you ever seen the State Farm Insurance commercials? The one where customers are in a predicament, they sing the jingle, and their agent appears out of thin air to save the day. That’s my husband! I get in predicaments, I call my husband, and he appears to save the day!  He is my hero!

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…


My husband is my very own State Farm agent. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Carousel of Life



I used to wait for life to get easier… for life to slow down… for life to stop and wait for me. It never happened. Life never got easier… it just a little bit harder. Life never slowed down… it just went by faster. Life never stopped to wait for me… it just kept on going around and around like a carousel.

I would stand there and watch and wait. I would take in the motion and be exhausted by it all. Several times I missed the opportunity to get on the carousel of life because I was waiting for it to stop for me. I was waiting for it to invite me on. I held a ticket, but I wasn’t sure how to redeem it. I wanted to gently, gracefully, and slowly step on the carousel. I wanted to carefully select the right animal to sit atop of.

Life isn’t like that though. You have to jump on while it is still in motion. You have to leap even when you aren’t sure how you will land. You have to try out a few animals and fall off a few before you find the right one. Ticket-schmicket… just get the hell on!

So, one day I woke-up and I did just that. I quit waiting for the carousel to slow down… I just got the hell on! I jumped onto the carousel of life as it was spinning in full motion. And, I am having the time of my life on this ride.

If you haven’t jumped on yet… I’ll wave to you as I go by. But, you are missing out on all the fun. Quit waiting and jump on the carousel of life.




Thursday, July 11, 2013

Home


We just returned for a 3 week vacation. We explored Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. This trip is one that I hope my son will treasure forever.

Even though we were gone for so long… I didn’t really feel homesick until about the last few days. And I think that’s only because I was working on a sinus infection and just wanted to be in my own bed. Up until that moment of weakness, I felt at home on our vacation.

I’ve decided that home is not necessarily where you physically live. My house happens to feel like home to me, but so do a million other places. Home is where you reside in your heart… home is a feeling of acceptance… home is a feeling of love… home is a feeling of peace… home is a feeling of worthiness… home is where you can just be. Some people don’t have this feeling where they physically live. For some people their house is not their home. For them, my heart breaks. For them, I pray that they find the feeling of home in their heart.

There are places I go that I don’t feel at home. Places where I feel unaccepted or judged… places where I feel diminished… places where I feel less than me… places where I feel not enough… places where I feel unworthy. I try to avoid those places because I think that those places have a lot more to do with the other people residing there than they have to do with me. Even though I try my best not to own those negative feelings or not to over identify with those negative feelings… dealing with that takes energy that I am not willing to part with. Life is too short to not feel at home, most of the time.

When I travel, I sure do miss the comforts of my own physical home… my comfy bed, my own space, my routine… but home is in my heart. Love has brought me home. God has brought me home. I have come home in my heart; therefore, I carry home with me wherever I go. I am home.






Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Confession Wednesday


Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

When I buy the hummus trio from my local grocery store, I like all three of the flavors, but I do have my favorite. There is one that I love most.  I am tempted to eat my favorite all up first; however, I feel sad for the other flavors. So, I eat them too… out of obligation to them. I wouldn’t want any of the trio in my hummus pack to have hurt feelings. I certainly don’t tell my hummus that I like one of them better. I let them all think that I like them the same. Call me weird or strange… but my hummus has feelings too ya’ know!

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…


My hummus trio has feelings; therefore, I eat them all at the same pace. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I LOVE YOU!


In the past, I used these three little words very sparingly. I didn’t say them much because I didn’t feel as if I had something to offer someone… I didn’t feel like I was enough… I didn’t think I was worthy of love. I didn’t say those words very often and when I did it was with reservations.

It wasn’t until I believed that I did have something to offer… until I believed that I was enough just as I am, perfectly flawed… until I believed that I was worthy and deserving of love in return. It wasn’t until I believed all of those things that I could use those three little words without reservations.

When I say I love you… it isn’t so much about what I want in return, as it is a belief and a promise that I have something to offer you.


I LOVE YOU!