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Archive for March, 2010

Holidays are challenging for single parents.  My son has been at his father’s house for over 12 days.  Needless to say, thankfulness has been an extremely difficult attitude to hold on to this week.  Yesterday I indulged in a full-blown pity party.  Today I decided to get out of my own way and focus on the One who gives me everything I need and more. 

  • awaking to the sounds of seagulls
  • Rob and Kellianne’s generosity
  • sunsets over the ocean
  • rubbing my toes in the sand
  • Rob’s margaritas
  • playing games with the Fray
  • laughing so hard that I cry
  • wonderful conversations with good friends
  • accountability partners who love me enough to be honest, even when I don’t like what they are saying
  • RedBox coupons
  • the softest beach blanket ever- made out of sweatshirt fabric
  • My church family
  • Forgiveness
  • McDonald’s swiss and mushroom burgers- yum-oh!!!
  • time to read, pray, think

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While having coffee with my dear friend Carol recently, our discussion turned to her oldest daughter, Lindsey.  All four of Carol’s children are accomplished in their given fields, but Lindsey is the closest to my age and we are also friends; hence, I compare myself to her (see Bio list of bad habits).  Anyway, Carol said that she thinks Lindsey got the best of both she and her husband, Mike.  This statement made me ponder what I got from my parents and how they might view seeing their character traits passed on to their child. 

From my mother I received loyalty.  My mom is the most loyal and trust-worthy companion I have ever know.  Not just to me.  To anyone for whom she loves and cares.  The example of this loyalty and devotion has been played out in countless ways throughout my life.  I must admit, when I was younger and much more foolish, there were times that I viewed it as a weakness.  Now, with a little bit of wisdom and some maturity, I see how her commitment is unwavering.  I think that she passed this on to me.  I wear it differently, however.  My loyalty is closely linked to my desperate need to be honest.  I may not always tell my family and friends what they want to hear, but I always attempt to deliver the message of truth, with as much love as I am able and stand beside them at all times.

From my father I received gumption.  Drive, ambition, tenacity, spunk.  My dad exemplifies all of these qualities.  I know most little girls probably think that their daddy can do anything.  But here’s the difference: mine can and does.  He owned a successful telecommunications company before he was 30.  He can rebuild a 350 Chevy big block in the garage.  He flies airplanes.  He put himself through school to become a paramedic when he was in his late 40s, camped out at the Branch Davidian compound during the endless days and nights of that episode.  He drag races.  He can wire a house, build basically anything, and run the world from his cell phone.  He makes million dollar deals from the front seat of his pick-up while taking a break from building a house for his little girl.  He can cry in a crowd and embrace life-long friends, and never apologizes for his emotions.  He has fought a heart attack, cancer, and addiction.  The man has more gumption than any other man I’ve ever known.  I like to think he passed a small piece of this trait on to his daughter.  I went back to college at 27 and am pursuing my dream of being a college professor.  This road has been paved with difficulties; but I have always known that if not for my dad’s unstoppable confidence in me, that I probably would never have had enough confidence in myself.

From both parents I received my ability to love.  They have both opened their arms, hearts, and homes to embrace a motley collection of people in their lives.  From step-children, to friends, to neighbors, they have both loved without hesitation throughout their lives.   I believe that this is one of my best qualities. I love the children at church as they minister to me.  I love my students and their enthusiasm for life.  I love my family and friends (and in my world, there is not distinction between the two) with all the loyalty and devotion I have.  I love my God and try to walk that love out every day.  I love my son and would do anything to protect him.  Sometimes my eagerness to love has gotten me in trouble.  I have loved those who did not return my affections.  But as the saying goes, better to have loved and lost…

My prayer is that others see these character traits in me, as well.  That I may pass on even a small portion of these to my precious child, so that one day he may look at me and say “I got that from my mom.”

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Gratefulness

“Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to His holy name.” Psalm 97:12

This week’s list of so many things to be thankful for:

  • an afternoon trip to Barnes and Noble
  • unexpected gifts from a friend (for absolutely no reason)
  • rediscovering old friends on Facebook and learning what wonderful people they have become
  • friends who listen to what I’m saying and what I’m not saying
  • Forgiveness
  • my iPod
  • the open house went well and 19 realtors came to look at my house
  • that we live in a  country where antibiotics are pretty easy to obtain.  So many deaths in 3rd world countries are fatal because of the lack of medicine.  Even when we are complaining about the state of health care in America, may we never forget how blessed we are.
  • books
  • Although he has never seen the example of this from anyone, my son brings me “flowers” just because (they are actually weeds that make me sneeze, but I adore them and keep them in water anyway)
  • my 2 best friends
  • family
  • my digital camera
  • slurpees
  • Jimmy Buffett’s music
  • my NIV study Bible

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Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:3-5

Ryan’s sermon this week was entitled “Amen.”  Translated, it means “may it be so” or “it  is the truth.”  As a believer in Christ, Jesus is my Amen.  He is the ultimate in goodness, faithfulness.  And Truth.  My pastor said that Jesus always answers “Yes.”  But I disagree.  I believe that He answers our prayers, but sometimes the answer is one that we don’t want to hear.  Sometimes the answer is “No.”  Sometimes it is “Wait.” “Be Patient,”  “Not yet,” or “I have something else in mind for you.”

The last answer is the one that I have experienced recently.  You see, I love the previously quoted psalm about God giving us the desires of our hearts.  In isolation, that verse seems to mean that if I really want it badly enough, then God will give it to me.  That is what I would like to think.  It is easier than accepting the Truth.  The Truth is that when we read the entire passage, we realize that the fulfillment of our desires is contingent upon the desires of our hearts.  He will give us what we long for, if what we long for is Him. 

This same concept is echoed in other passages throughout scripture.  

 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;

and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt 6:33

Most of the time, I must admit, this is not how my prayer-life functions.  Most of the time I decide what I want and then I ask God to give it to me.  Is this just human nature?  Is this something that changes as our relationship with God deepens or are we destined to a life of selfish thinking?  The most beautiful and achingly honest answer that I have discovered is in Thomas Merton’s Thoughts on Solitude:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me.  I cannot know for certain where it will end.  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you does, in fact, please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore, will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

 

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