Monday, June 29, 2009

My Masculine Monday

We finished our study on mattering and I am reflecting on one of the things that the author pointed out: women tend to measure their worth in "masculine" terms. This means that we create a checklist of things accomplished in a day and find worth in the amount of items or type of things done, as opposed to finding more value in the emotional or relational things that women are usually drawn to. This discrepancy can lead to women feeling less valuable or that the things we do don't matter as much. This is obviously a generality.

Today I had a marvelously masculine mattering Monday!

I didn't start out too jazzed, and fell asleep on the couch after my handsome hubby left for work. After dragging myself around and getting the dogs fed, I went outside. This was about 8:30 AM. I didn't come back inside until noon, and only to feed myself and get a load of laundry going. I came back inside at 4:30 PM. I finally had enough sun and forced myself to come in to fix dinner and get some house work done. What did I do outside, you ask? Oh, let me share!
I took the dogs for a long walk in the woods, which was good for my still-sore muscles from our 12.5 mile hike on Saturday. We came back and loaded up in the canoe, just Bella and I (Rowdy swam), to hack down some of the lily pads that are invading our pond. No, they are not pretty. Clear water to reflect the scenery is pretty, just so we are on the same page. I see the rabbit.
I often get distracted when I am outside by the sight of my greenhouse and must go in and visit my plants. I desperately need to photograph them as they are practically perfect in every way. A little Mary P. for y'all. After giving the thirsties their fill, I had to start on stacking the firewood near the house. We have a little stack that is on the porch for early morning fires - yes we still start them. Why not? Oh, you are hot down there? Forgot. That's too bad. (note sarcasm here!)
Oh the rabbits.
After stacking the new pile, which came from a junk wood stack that was down a hill that a wheelbarrow couldn't go, by the way, I moved on to another little project. I found one of those weed wacker things at a garage sale a couple months ago and just had to get it. It's those hand-held bushwack things that you swing and it swaths the weeds away. I have no idea what they are called. So much for my gardening knowledge. Anyway, I pulled that out and had my way with a few dandelions that were taunting me. I also had the last word (or maybe not) with the cottonwood suckers that are popping up in an old wildflower bed. All this while trying not to swing and hit my dogs who were sweetly playing/hunting in the yard, or my feet.
Deciding that this was not enough to kill me, I moved on to the main project of the day which required me to change into shorts and a tank top! Oh, yes. I had to go and find them in a storage tote and fortunately they still fit me (not bad for not wearing them in 3 years!). I changed and took my reflective self outside to soak in the rays as I continued my bank bed. Remember that one I showed before? Yeah, I've done a bit more. I'll have pictures someday. You'll just have to read about it and imagine all the loveliness before I burst your bubble and show the reality. I'm still proud. It is a ton of work. Pretty close, anyway if you weighed all the wheelbarrow's full of "sod" (if you count weedy, weak, half-dead grass, sod) and dirt that I hauled. I haven't finished it, but I did another fair sized section. Oh, and that reflective self forgot to put on sunscreen and now has a bit of pink. I'm usually quite proud of my cancer-free skin and avoid tanning beds (sunbathing is not so common up in these parts but the beds are as common as the coffee houses), but this bit of sun felt like heaven. It was crazy to feel the sweat drip down off my forehead. Shorts! Apparently, my nose and shoulders must be huge and shaded out my legs completely. They are still reflective.
Anywho, my list of accomplishments go on to include making lasagne for dinner, with rhubarb crisp for dessert. Oh, and the kitchen counter (I only have one) is totally clean, the dishes are clean and the diswasher was unloaded and put away! The table isn't completely covered either, which is saying something. We won't talk about the floor - I can't do everything, gosh!
I did more than I thought I'd do today, but didn't get much on my original list done. I still must email my group and soak my hands in Vaseline. Scratch that last one. It seems the scratchy hands make nice back scratchers for husbands.

I know I wasn't very relational today, but golly, I felt like I got a ton of work done! It really only matters to me and my dogs who benefitted greatly today. I hope God got a kick out of me today. I regret to admit that I didn't thank Him for any of it until I was finally in the shower, washing His creation off of His other creation. I think He still saw me and it made Him glad. I thoroughly enjoyed my Monday!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Makenna's Monday


I now have eleven nieces and nephews!
My husband's sister had her 2nd little girl on the 19th.
Her name is Makenna Joy.
I don't know if you remember, but that is my middle name! I feel honored to share this name with two nieces. My other gal, Hannah, has begun to learn about true Joy (she's 5 and a half, you know). I pray that Makenna will learn about what her middle names means at a young age as well. I won't be too surprised, as I tend to have genius level nieces and nephews (not biased at all). They all have seemed to grasped that Joy is a gift from God that is accompanied when you ask Jesus into your heart and "you let Him be the boss," as one nephew put it! I have been moved to tears every time I hear of one of these little hearts having been given to Jesus.
Talk about Joy!
I can only imagine the Joy of their parents to hear of their own child's desire to pray, even if they do want to do it all by themselves! I know that all these parents are providing an atmosphere of Christ's love that draws these children in. Just like what I had as a little girl.
When I was about Hannah's age, 5 and a half or so, I heard from Awana what it was that I needed to do to be with Jesus forever. Being a type A personality, I really wanted to do it right, so I asked my sister to help me pray. We went to the living room, and she sat on the big orange rocker while I kneeled down. She spoke one phrase, and I repeated it, asking Jesus to forgive my sins, and to come into my heart. I may not have fully grasped all the in's and out's of salvation, but I knew that at that moment I was Jesus' forever.
Talk about Joy!
I remember my Mom and Dad being very excited for me. They wanted me to tell everyone! I also remember some people just saying, "that's nice!" Oh, they must not have known the Joy!
I hope I can continue to celebrate the Joy of knowing Christ with all my nieces and nephews. I wish I could celebrate every year when my sister has a Doughnut Party to commemorate her kids' decision for Christ. You see, the doughnuts have holes in the middle, just like us. Only when we ask Jesus to come into our hearts does he fill us up! I think it's genius. It's a great way to remember and to share with others!
I pray for Makenna, as with all my kiddo's, to walk close to Jesus. I can't believe how much I love them all and want to spend eternity with them in the presence of the Father!
Talk about Joy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A little PR

I know P.R. normally stands for Public Relations, but today it will stand for Prayer Request.
It's a funny thing, to ask for prayer. We are such an independent creature, even when we are a "new creation!" Yesterday someone said to me, "I can just see you as a little girl saying, 'I can do it all by myself!'" That is so me. That is also my husband. We are fairly tough spirits (see other blog for our other adventures), and feel pretty strong in our independence, though not from each other! I see the rabbit trail; I'm coming back.
So, this last month or so has been a real exercise in reliance. I have been working, but let's face it. My work is a pretty low-pay, no benefits, seasonal job that provides us with some extra cash to play with and I enjoy immensely! How's that for a roller coaster sentence! My amazing man has only had a few recent days of intermittent work after a month-long wait. He is the primary provider and we base all essentials on his income.
Financially, we are doing O.K. We plan ahead for such times. In fact, this year we had begun to save a substantial amount monthly to a larger emergency fund. Except for this last month, of course! We have yet to dip into the larger fund, as we have a more liquid account for short-term situations. I find this a blessing. We have prepared for such times, and we are benefiting from our planning and resourcefulness.
But, I have not been praying about this issue much this last month.
I have mostly been relying on our own abilities to get through the rough patch when things will turn around. I find myself trying to make sure I do all the things I possibly can before I "bother" God with my problems. I want to give a report of all I have tried to somehow show I've been working toward a solution and not being lazy and just asking for help. I think in my effort to avoid being a part of the "welfare population" I don't want to appear that way before God. I want to be one of those that He wants to help because I am trying to do the right thing already. I'm just not so sure that's how God see's things.
I'd like to be a bit closer in relationship to God than I am to the government! I want to be closer in relationship to God than to anyone else. It isn't as if He doesn't already know. Wow. How's that for a double negative! He knows! I really ought to start out asking for wisdom and discretion on finances. Yeah, I ended that with a period right there for a reason. I was going to go on, but that's where it should be. I should start out asking for wisdom and discretion on finances, not wait til we are in a tighter situation where we may have made mistakes or miscalculations. I'd rather have widsom, Godly wisdom from the beginning.
Why do I think of things only after?
While you may think this is a request for prayer about our finances, it is really a request that I humble myself and bring my requests before God; BEFORE I try to handle it all by myself. I keep thinking it's not a pride issue, as I still give God credit for taking care of us. Then I wonder if I give Him credit in the secret places of my heart that I don't show my Christian friends, or anyone. Did I just write that? Oh my. Perhaps I do still like that inner feeling that I really did do it all by myself. I'm so thankful that my Father walks beside me so closely that when I come to my senses He can step right in.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Memorization Monday

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Perseverance brings PROVEN CHARACTER. Proven. Sticking it out makes a difference. It is so important. Character, no, Proven Character brings hope. A fascinating connection. I don't know that I would have thought to lead character into hope. But then, it's not just any hope! It is the hope that does not disappoint! Did you see that God POURED out His love? Poured it out. Gushed. And into our hearts?! I know, my sentence structure is pathetic. I can't think in complete sentences right now. I'm in awe. He chose my heart to pour His love into by the Holy Spirit. There is so much to unpack from this verse. It's not really about tribulations or sufferings. I'm stuck on the love poured out. Do I leak out any of that love that was poured into me? Do I show the hope that does not disappoint? Have I shown Proven Character? How do I deal with my petty tribulations? It's all about the love. Poured. Out. In my heart.
Poured out.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday's Molar Message

We went to the dentist today. Yes, WE. I finagled Pat into an appointment for a cleaning/checkup and I went in for a bite adjustment from a small cavity that gave me the most intense pain ever due to a simultaneous sinus infection. Yeah, ouch.
This appointment was so much more simple than the one I had last Wednesday. I had never had such pain and hope to never experience it again. Everyone, brush your teeth and FLOSS! This cavity was fairly small, barely detectable on the X-ray, and in-between my molars. Oh, and to add to the fun, I have jaw issues and can have my jaw lock up. I went in and after finding this minute molar mess, I had my jaw jacked open with a little plastic thingy. That's the technical name I'm sure. This is when my anxiety kicks in. With no ability to close my jaw, I have to do some mental exercises to calm my rising panic. Pretend Lamaze breathing seems to just make me hyperventilate, likely because I'm doing it incorrectly. Is that why I get nauseous? My heart rate is unaffected by the positive mental attitude that I try to realize. I often do realize the muscles in various parts of my body are tense and about to cramp, so I do the flex/release methods to relax. It's ridiculous, I know.
I finally found a method that worked for me. Remember that scripture memory I've been doing? I remembered to meditate on my verses and run through all of them, at least all that I could remember which was most. It was not immediate, but it made my mind focused on something entirely different. I was no longer trying to "not think about my jaw and the pain" and truly set my mind on things above. Especially since it took some effort to recall all the verses, my mind almost forgot my surroundings. I still had the muscle tension that I had to force release, but the panic sensations relaxed. I think my heart rate even lowered.
I must admit that my first reaction to my rising panic was embarrassment. I was too embarrassed to pray for any help to get through the appointment. Seriously? There are way worse things that prayer should be saved for. A dental appointment is not life-threatening or life-saving. Usually. I just felt that I should be able to handle such a trivial event, for Pete's sake. (Who is this Pete for whom we are all doing things?) After likely laughing off His throne, God probably had the Spirit prompt me to remember my memorization. It was all I needed. If He asks me to be faithful in very little things, won't He be faithful, too? Oh, how I love my Father!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Important Things

My husband and I have this amazing invention in our home: a DVR. We are able to record shows that we enjoy, then view them later. Strangely, the programming we prefer seems to be "live" at very odd hours, so this is a fabulous thing for us. It has also improved our communications. I often have very important thoughts that need expressing at that particular moment, lest I forget them later, and Pat can pause the television and give me his complete attention. This can also work in reverse. I think it should be included in every marriage counselor's suggested purchases.
One show that we have found entertaining is called "Important Things with Demetri ..." I forgot his last name. (This is why I must vocalize my thoughts - I really do forget) This show focuses on one topic or item and comedically spends the 30 minutes discussing various aspects of it. We find the dryness quite humorous.
I have been pondering a topic lately that drove me to my next memory verse. Important Things. This is a topic that could be very broad, but is it? Could it really be simple? A jumbled thought process follows!
Our study in group has been focusing on feeling important. One chapter suggested that we, as women, judge our value in concrete terms, though our deeds are often not concrete. I can't remember the last time I came home thinking of all the specific times I stopped to listen to someone who obviously needed an ear. That's not really a measurable situation. I guess I could time anything that happens as such in order to form a concrete measure. Reaching out to give someone a hug in a tough time can help in immeasurable ways. So can a phone call. A note. A helping hand.
The author of the study suggested that this measuring was a masculine device that we've taken up to try to put value on our actions that we clearly cannot measure, making us feel inadequate. Truly only God can possibly know the ramifications of all the little things we do. Sometimes we get to do big things that have much more visible results. Sometimes we only value those things. Are those the only Important Things? What does God say about the Important Things? I found this familiar verse telling me something deeper this last week.
Luke 16:10 tells us that "He who is faithful in a VERY LITTLE THING is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a VERY LITTLE THING is unrighteous also in much." (NASB, Emphasis mine)
Important Things are VERY LITTLE THINGS! Consistancy in anything seems to be lacking in our culture today, and it is needed. Doing the little things that seem so unimportant help to build that consistancy, which then does build character. That makover theme again pushes me to want to be in character with Christ. That means in the little things. Letting a child sit on His lap. Going to dinner with a new acquaintance. A touch. I doubt anyone thought those things little when Jesus did them. I think our human nature desires to be important and we've equated that with big things. Jesus is clear when He tells us it's the little things that matter first. How we deal with the little things will determine what we do with the big things, good or bad. We may get chances to do great big things, but we have to make the little things, Important Things.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Makeovers

These are some of the cabinets that my bargain hunter brought home a week or more ago. Can you believe that someone left these at the dump?! I'll admit it. They are a dump find. Not officially dumpter diving since they hadn't make it to the dumpster yet, but pretty close. He just knew they could be used somewhere in our home or garage with just a little TLC. Well, finally this weekend, before my monster sinus infection hit, I got a couple cabinets primed and we put them together to form a tall cabinet/hutch. I think it would be pushing it to call it an armoir, so we'll just keep it a cabinet!
We had it painted (by the way, don't those white garage walls look nice!), and found some trim to go on the bottom. There are several shelves inside and provide me with some much needed storage in the bathroom, which had none. I am not sure that the cabinet is finished. I have ideas to use some of my photo's of flowers on it somehow as well as more painting. I was anxious to have storage!
Remember this project?
Well, I got motivated and couldn't stop with just the steps. Eventually, it will go the length of the house back to that tree in the background (that will eventually go). I debated on posting this picture, because I don't like my mulch. It is just some natural ground debris I found in my woods. The blue spruce is the purchase we made in honor of our 7th Anniversary. My husband made my day by suggesting we buy a tree every year for that honor.

One thing I've noticed about makeovers this last week; they don't come without hard work. Shortcuts may produce a final product, but it won't be what you like. Do-overs always take longer and it's best to do it right the first time. Are these projects perfectly finished? Not remotely. Am I? I hope not.
I'm wondering how much work I must be to make over. I want to be made over in Christ's image, but the work is intense. I am so thankful that my Creator doesn't have to deal with do-overs. He knows just what I was, what I am, and what I will become. My potential is limited only by my refusal to let Him make me over. To think of my tree or rocks telling me where they'd like to go is likely as ludicrous as it is for me to tell God what I think my purpose and path should be. I just hope there isn't too embarrassing of a before picture...