Monday, January 31, 2011

Farmers just wanna have fun. {repost}

Image hosted by Photobucket.comLast Friday morning I was at Shari's restaurant writing a little bit and reading my Bible when I got distracted.

He was a 50-something farmer in coveralls who looked a little like Hoss and sounded like a tobacco farmer in eastern North Carolina I met once.

He struck up a conversation with the waitress.

"You remind me of someone," he told her in his transplanted Tarheel accent. "You look like a movie star."

The waitress, though she was a pleasant looking middle-aged blonde, didn't look like any movie star I've seen. She smiled, told the man that if she were a movie star she wouldn't be working the morning shift at Shari's. She poured the man his coffee.

A few minutes later while making her rounds, the man again remarked on the waitress' celebrity appearance. This time she just muttered politely and went about her business.

Another few minutes later while she was approaching his table, the man exclaimed, "Cyndi Lauper!" He then went into a long story about seeing Cyndi Lauper opening for Cher several years ago. Actually, it must have been more than 20 years ago. The waitress' reply was non nonplus, acknowledging the man with a few forced interjections of "oh really," and "wow."

Through the surprising turn in this exchange I started thinking: What was a tranplanted North Carolinean farmer from the hills of Washington doing going to a Cyndi Lauper concert? Surely the singer of the '80s with colorful hair must have made quite the impression on this man of the soil for it to have been burned in his memory all these years. I wondered what works of other singers make up his music collection. Naturally, I had pegged his musical tastes to be that of Clint Black, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker or a plethora of other country stars who twang out tales of momma, trucks, patriotism and honky tonks. But no. Here's a man who swooned to hearing about girls wanting to have fun and true colors shining through. Perhaps he understood the deeper meaning to Cyndi's tune about the Goonies.

If I were that waitress, I would have parked myself beside this complex man and picked his brain awhile. Inside that man wearing coveralls and a ballcap was a man who was more than tractors, hay and cows.

Perhaps he even went to a Culture Club concert once.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

It Is Well - Part 3: Fit or Flight?

In the spirit of honesty there are certain facts that truly must be shared. According to the BMI chart for women I should weigh 50 pounds less than I do. Basically, after plugging in my height and weight, the darling little online calculator has this gem for me: A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. Being obese increases your risk for serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. See your doctor to learn how to manage your weight.

Nice. Lovely. This news gets me so excited I feel like having hot cocoa and a cruller. Wanna come to my pity party? Actually, it's not news. It's old and repetitive like an 80's ballad that won't stop getting airplay. "Time after time..."

Since beating my personal dragon and getting my driver's license, I find myself tempted beyond sense and reason to pile the kids in the van to take Murron to school. Not a big deal, you might think, plenty of other moms drive their children around. Okay, then, do these "other" moms drive their kids a quarter mile to school? 440 yards. 1320 feet. 0.40233 kilometers. In my defense, this has only happened in the rain, so far, but the lure to take the easy way is hard to resist, some days. I suppose that's why it's a good thing that we only have one multi-passenger vehicle. It forces me to pop the kids in the jogging stroller, instead, and walk half a mile. It's not very impressive, I know. I should be continuing my walk around an extra half mile, or whole mile, or even five miles. I don't but I should.

I don't because it's not attractive or interesting. The entertainment value of a brisk walk for exercise is, in my opinion, like polishing silver or raising chickens. We don't own silver and chickens definitely don't want me in charge of their upkeep. Ever. Bill, on the other hand, not only enjoys a brisk walk but he runs to work, runs home from work, runs around the city, runs on the treadmill, and runs half marathons. It's kind of like he's running from something, and I suppose he is. He's running from the weight he used to be because he knows it could catch up to him if he doesn't. He's running from the health issues that have caused him to take prescribed medicines. He's running from depression, negative emotions, and real or imagined demons. He's become very good at it, too.

So, I ask myself often why I run to confort, pleasure, food, or ease. What do I really fear about exercise that I am so easily drawn to what's most convenient, at the time? Why do I avoid healthy changes to my physical activity level and instead maintain my lazy habits? When will I get tired of my tight waistbands and fatigue and fight back with running shoes and resolution?

My thinking is what needs to change the most before I see any physical changes in myself. I have to see exercise and activity as the committment to discipline it really is. And that, I know, is what I'm most afraid of and have run the farthest to escape. But, in so doing, I have run to things that have not been beneficial and have actually done me little good. Sure, food and comfort are important, and pleasure enriches our lives. But having neglected to balance these things with disciplined activities has resulted in a level of gluttony that goes beyond gorging. No, I am not consuming whole pies and pizzas but I will admit that I nibble on sentiment and nostalgia of my slender past. I stuff my mind with self-pity and regret over mistakes. And I overfeed on excuses and jusitfications. The results of this unhealthy mental and emotional binging is a wild and dangerous craving that cannot be satisfied.

The only certain effective weapon is committed daily active discipline, both in body and spirit. To successfully defeat this unruly appetite I must fight energetically, on my knees and on my feet. I need to oppose those things that would prevent my victory with every scripture I've learned and memorized and each aerobic set and rep. Avoiding the urge to flee I need to persevere in all my efforts to be fit in every way. I know that excess weight, health issues, and depressed thinking will always be on my heels, trying to catch up. But if I exercise my will and keep my thoughts set on my goal then I can stay ahead of my pursuers and be ready for the tasks that God has for me.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bittersweet Discipline {repost}

Since early in our marriage Bill and I have kept special chocolate treats in our bedroom. These decadent treasures have ranged from simple chocolate kisses to extra special dark chocolates. Bill and I like to give these to each other at random moments and often secretly. They're not so much a secret anymore, however.

The girls have known to keep out of this private collection for a long time, now, but the boys have stumbled upon their discovery and had been looting our trove like bandits. So today was no different as I was occupied in another room when I heard a terrible crash. Elizabeth was the first to investigate and let out a shriek. I came into our room and quickly sent both boys to their rooms and asked Elizabeth to make sure that was where they stayed until I was finished. Bill’s tall dresser, which held the chocolates was tipped completely onto its face assuring me what they’d been after. After cleaning up the mess it was remarkable that only one thing had broken, a perfume bottle. Even more surprising was the fact that neither of the boys were hurt in any way.

As I walked to our oldest boy’s room I could hear him sniffling then, as I entered, he wailed, “I’m so sorry, Mommy.” I hugged him close and told him I knew that but what he did was so dangerous that he can’t do it ever again. I told him I had to discipline him and he took it like the little man he is. Afterward he said, “Let’s pray, Mommy.” I held him as he told God he was sorry, that what he did was dangerous, thanking God that no one got hurt, and thankful that I’d disciplined him. He was thankful for the consequence! He is only four years old but in his little tender heart he understands the meaning of correction and that I love him enough to do it. I sat there and cried, at which he started laughing and said, “Don’t cry, Baby” I cried even more and he laughed again and said, “You’re not a baby!” I then went into our youngest son’s room and went through the same process, with slightly different results, but we prayed too. Still too young to appreciate his lesson, like his older brother, but accepting his discipline nonetheless.

I’m left to think about my own heart and how I accept correction. I’m not the most obedient child and I’m not always thankful for God’s discipline. But while the broken bottle of perfume sits on the dresser and fills this room with it’s aroma, I will remember the sweet repentant words of my son and try to follow his example as best I can.


Monday, January 24, 2011

It Is Well - Part 2: Water Pure and Simple

On December 27th of 2010 I turned 40. We were in Saskatchewan, Canada celebrating Christmas with family. There were thoughtful gifts, meaningful cards, and delicious cake. Surrounded by a loving family and a spirit of joy, I feel wonderfully blessed to have experienced such an event. I want to be able to celebrate many more birthdays, Christmases, and special occasions to come.

My health has never been in peril but I have endured problems and challenges that, by God’s grace and medical wisdom, have been managed and corrected. Being sick, recently, caused something to happen (I’ll spare you the details) that was annoying and frustrating. Maybe it’s the farm-girl in me that squats down with a wheat straw and sage advice on her lips that makes me self-diagnose so often. Revving up the search engines, I read about things like acidophilus, cranberry, saw palmetto, and herbs and homeopaths I’ve never heard of in my whole adult life. After a couple days trying to resolve things “the natural way” without much progress I cut out all other beverages and started to drink water. Lots of water. Nearly camel portions of water! And, not very surprisingly, it made a difference. While I did end up purchasing an OTC medicine, I have felt significantly better and may still avoid a doctor’s visit.

Water is the oldest and simplest of homeopaths. It cleanses, soothes, refreshes, replenishes, and even heals. Just do a simple online search for properties and benefits of water and you will be as surprised as I was! Water is also very easy to incorporate into our diet. Just drink it, regularly and often. Again the internet has some great ideas on how to develop the water habit. It can be as simple as drinking a glass of water for every cup of coffee, tea, milk, juice, or soda that you drink during the day.

Thank You, God for giving us water to drink for the health of our bodies!

Psalms 78:16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.

*disclaimer: this blog is not intended to replace a relationship with a health care provider and should be viewed from an entertainment perspective, thanks!*


Friday, January 21, 2011

It Is Well – Part 1: Gratitude Check

Last night could have been a disaster. I had plans for a family game night and, by 5:30 p.m., it looked like my agenda was being threatened. Did you catch that honest evaluation, right there? That alone is progress, folks, something I could celebrate like New Year’s Eve! So, after some firm words, dinner, more words, assembling the kids around the table, and still more (louder) words, it was 7 p.m. and Chutes and Ladders was finally underway! “Victory, O, Victory is mine…!” While we played one child (who will be unnamed) was getting upset because the spinner kept hitting low numbers. Advancing up the board was too slow and a few tears were shed (hence the reason for withholding the name). Eventually the spinner landed this certain player one space away from the coveted ladder: the one that would spell instant win. In a stroke of good luck the spinner landed on 1 and this player celebrated like a champion athlete! It was exciting to watch, of course, but I had to wonder what the reaction would have been if someone else had won. I know how I’ve reacted and pathetic doesn’t even describe it remotely well enough.

Lately, I have come to accept that there is much about my attitude that needs to change, namely my reaction to unexpected, unpleasant, or uncomfortable outcomes. Why is that, you may wonder. Well, silly reader, I am just as much a whiner baby, at times, as my kids can be, or anyone else for that matter. It bugs me when things don’t go my way and that’s the simple truth of it. The problem, however, is that once I start nitpicking things it’s hard to stop. Then it becomes a habit and the habit becomes a lifestyle until I become the mean old lady that no one wants to visit or have over for dinner. That's very sad but very true, friends. So, in a moment of revelation, I thought about gratitude, the best antidote to grumbling. Then I started to think about what I am thankful for. Simple things. Real things. Honest things. And this is what I came up with. Can you think of a similar list?

Thank You, God, for allowing and even inviting me to talk to You about everything that's on my mind and heart. Thank You for sending Your Son to save me from myself, because I know how easily I mess everything up. Thank You for all Your blessings that I could never deserve, despite my absurd attempts to earn them.

Thank you, Bill, for loving me in spite of everything you know about me. Thank you for being the husband and father I’ve only ever dreamed of partnering with. Thank you for being a man of godly character and conviction when it would be so easy to just give up trying.

Thank you, Elizabeth, Murron, Uilleam, and MacAulay for needing me when I so often doubt my abilities to offer anything to you. Thank you for trying so hard to meet my expectations when your blood runs crazy wild with childhood energy and unpredictability. Thank you for coming to me for hugs and kisses, and letting me hug and kiss you back.

Thank you, friends, for giving me an outlet for my outrageous comments and behavior. Thank you for helping me develop my social skills when, sometimes, I’d rather curl up under a blanket and hide. Thank you for accepting me into your own uniquely blessed lives.


Introducing Jen of Vivi Mae Creations!

I'm always excited about people I know starting blogs, and love to introduce them to anyone who stops by the Haven for a visit.

Vivi Mae Creations is a new blog from Jen, a sweet wife and mother of four kids. Vivi Mae Creations is her home based business and she offers unique and beautiful handmade crocheted hats, scarves and other creative and warm items.

Way to go, Jen!

~ Glory

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Get Well

Now that our family is FINALLY over the worst of the cold and flu season the time has come to restore healthy habits and better eating. This can be much easier said than done, though, since our family does not have the reputation of established routines, set bedtimes, and regular meals. We're not CPS targets, either, but honestly, daily schedules don't just bore me, I tend to run fast and far away from them. They feel restricting and uncomfortable, like a time-out chair. And we don't have a time-out chair.

Hearing a crude symphony of sneezing-coughing-sniffling-groaning-retching-*insert other unmentionable body functions* for nearly a month, however, did warrant some drastic measures such as bleach washes and menu changes. I feel this is where I must clarify some points. Firstly, while we are not continually washing our hands or cleaning something 50 times a day as some do, neither are we total slobs who don't care about the appearance of our home or ourselves, for that matter. Ketchup marks the corners of our kids' mouths, sometimes, but we try to remind them to wash their hands after eating, using the bathroom, or touching anything dirty or offensive *cough*slugs*cough* Secondly, gardening dreams are yet to become reality and our food budget is not substantial enough to include too many organic, raw, natural products. But fast food, pre-made meals, and convenience items rarely make it onto our grocery shopping list, if ever. Homemade meals and balanced menus are what we strive for and are usually able to accomplish regularly. Finally, being a household of six kind of implies a busy life. No, we are not members of any health club or fitness center. But parenting employs unique muscle groups that must be strong enough to handle anything a 17, 7, 5, and 3 year-old can dish out. Most of the time.

If there is any area of our lives that needs routine wellness intervention it's attitudes. Getting sick makes us grumpy, tired, and irritable. Noises and other discomforts are amplified and increased. Essentially, life feels bad and people aren't nice! Of course, that's exaggerated thinking but whining has no limits and self-pity violates the boundaries of common sense and reason. And having a sick mind isn't corrected with bed rest or medicines. We've tried! Unhealthy thoughts don't come from any kind of bacteria or virus so immunizations and antibiotics are ineffective in treating them. As believers we know the only therapy we can be sure of is time in God's Word, prayer, and worshipful service. It gets our focus back on Him and our purpose for living. Then, even when physical illness wreaks havoc on our bodies, a spirit that is right and healthy can help us get through it and we can still say with confident assurance "Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say 'It is well, it is well with my soul.'"


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Interrupted Life

So much about today is hardly worth noting. Why I would even write about it is somewhat puzzling. There is nothing significant about the date nor the events which occurred. The only thing that prompts me to record anything at all is one similar theme: interruption.

Every member of our family has been sick to one degree or another for the past couple of weeks, now. I had my turn most recently but have since recovered to a functional level. It was the plan, however, that Bill would take Murron to school early on his way to work so she could have breakfast and, "make some friends," as she expressed it. As the alarm sounded this morning I knew that would simply not be the case. Sure enough Bill slowly shuffled his weakened body to the phone and left a message at the office that he was unable to go in. Murron was already dressed and getting ready to leave so I got prepared to walk her to school. When I opened the door, though, I quickly realized that the rain would soak us both through so I drove our 2nd grader to school.

When I arrived back home Bill quickly excused himself from watching the boys and tucked himself back into bed. I got busy planning a healthful dinner of soup cooked in the crock pot and homemade bread. Midway through the bread rising, however, the power went out. I said something we generally don't like our children to say and placed the shaped bread dough in the refrigerator to slow their rising. I was irritated and reacted poorly, I admit. I thought Bill was awake and burst into our room with the news that our power was out. It wasn't the best move on my part but eventually he forgave the rude awakening. Our candlelit lunch consisted of potato chips and fruit. It was close to an hour and the lights came back on to every ones joy and relief. The bread went into the oven and Aulay went down for a nap.

Elizabeth had agreed to pick Murron up from school this afternoon but I was starting to have my doubts when it was getting closer to the time school lets out and she hadn't yet arrived. Again I prepared to walk the quarter-mile and I saw her at the end of the street. As I caught up with her my annoyance was apparent as I asked her why she was late and stated my opinions on the matter quite forcefully. A short time later, waiting in front of the school, the kids were let out and Murron arrived with only one glove. Perturbed, the three of us retraced her steps and then it was discovered that she had also forgotten her lunch box. Several minutes later than planned, after finding it in the lunch room, we made our way home.

Later this evening, having enjoyed our dinner and a fun movie, we gathered to listen to Bill's Bible reading and pray before bed. There was something in particular that Bill wanted to read, though, and I was slightly bothered at the departure from our normal routine. He found the verses in 2nd Kings chapter 4 where the prophet Elisha foretells that a wealthy woman whose husband was elderly would have a son. This was not part of her plan yet she did become pregnant and gave birth to a son exactly when the prophet said she would. Some years later the boy complained of a headache and was brought to their home and died. Again the woman reminded Elisha that she hadn't wanted anyone to raise her hopes in the first place. Yet after Elisha healed her son she fell at his feet, bowed to the ground, then simply left with her boy.

Recalling all that happened, today, has certainly brought up some unpleasant facts about my reactions to being interrupted. In reality I don't handle disruptions to my plans or expectations well at all. Whether it's a moderate disturbance to my daily routine or an intrusion that greatly alters my schedule I will either become slightly annoyed or completely aggravated. While this definitely isn't any new discovery to me, I am aware of far more important implications, regarding my availability to God for ministry. Opportunities to pray for, encourage, or even assist those that He brings my way don't make it into my itinerary and there usually isn't a lot of advance notice, either. Today I didn't have to look far for those God-interruptions, either, as my husband and kids were all close-by. Except now, at near-midnight, when all are in bed except me. This wasn't planned, either, but that's okay.