Domino Days

The calendar’s full. It had been since the close of summer. Really, I felt overjoyed at the prospect of it all; overjoyed to invite the guests in and feed them, coffee them, laugh with little ones and in my mind the windows all sparkle and floors glisten and children have neat and tidy hair.

Along comes the unexpected. A frozen air conditioning unit. The first domino in the effect. Workers cutting into sheet rock and hallways missing flooring. That’s okay. I can roll and for the first round I do; and then……. the rest of the domino’s fall and mis-align with my perfect ideal. I teeter on the edge….anger and frustration. I want perfection and I’ve learned from the multitude of my days that I’ll not find it here and I am learning…..joy in the sojourn.

Romans 7:19 TNIV

My body twitches as if full of excessive coffee and my heart burns as it pumps the too thick blood through my veins. My mind reasons to embrace it all but how do I calm the frantic screaming, the reality of the unknown. I have not thought out every possible situation and I have not prepared for the un-preparable, unimaginable.

I fight a natural response to a mad emotional rant and cling to my reason. I do not want a sterile, predictable existence. Drone days.  No adventure, no spontaneity.  But why does my body rebel from the inside out when domino’s fall in wrong directions?

So, the fam wildly packs up to escape the cell damaging, oil-based fumes and sends our furry beast to family #2 who loves him in our absence and in the process…

I am not kind to the man I hold dear. There is no one to blame for the mess that has become my perfect calendar, so he bears the full force of my internal battle. He responds with a gentle heart, putting the fallen pieces back into some kind of order and I am moved by his love for me and I again grasp for reason. I fall to my knees asking God to realign me when I have no control over the domino’s.

On to the hardest fun ever had. Impromptu, no expectations and…to me the more challenging….no preparation. Meals out while produce goes bad in the frig. Friday morn, waving good-bye to said man, whose onto work while we live this impromptu vaca. Lonely without him we frolic and reunite later in the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ where we are told by the offspring that this is our best vacation ever. The man and I shake our heads in disbelief and with deep breathes we clasp hands, choose joy and know God has been here. I was the domino moved to the path of reason and God is pleased.

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man am I! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:21-25

So Thankful

We are getting ready. Ready to welcome guests and I want it all finished. Each item crossed off the list and each to do checked. I just want to sit and soak in the moments spent in their presence. The years fly by and do I know if I have invested enough?

Have I extracted every drop from each moment. And as we sit together working on the list, sorting piles of laundry and discussing why we divide the loads and how we should always double check the little brothers shirts and spray them with stain remover I then remember.

This is where I have to squeeze it from. I want the glossy magazine page. But truly this is where the warmth and silliness occurs, whether with my children sorting laundry, laughing alongside my man as we drive or welcoming our beloved guests into our home over unmopped thresholds.

Giving Thanks #
241. Internet Shopping
242. Planning a Pig Themed Party for my second double digit girl.

243. Bathroom scales-they’re just so honest.
244. Modern Conveniences that make this house keepers job doable.
245. Bougainville

 
246. Excitement of folks attending the future Pig Party
247. Craft Projects
248. Sharpie Markers.

249. Lovely fall Moring
250. Publix Grocery

holy experience

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Joining the Community

I am grateful for the life that beats through my body. The Creator has left his mark all around and what great joy this journey of discovery. Every day I’ve been jotting down 10 of my newest findings and I now I add to the wonderful community of women who are miles ahead of me but I happily tag along. It is the best game of hide and seek I have every played. 

# 200-210

Crooked Rugs on well tread floors

Flip flops causually tossed at the foot of the couch

Little bony bodies bodies snuggled in my bead on a cool crisp morn

A.W. Tozer’s ‘The Pursuit of God’

The Pursuit of God with Study Guide

“We Three Kings” sounding better and better every time she sits to practice

Whistling for the pup and finding he was sitting at my feet the whole time

Fall Wreaths adorning the front door

Sweet & cheerful, girlish whistling coming from my kitchen dishwasher

Spray ‘n Wash

The final sputters of the coffee pot

A tool belt wearing, dinner making amazing man

holy experience

Saboteur

Contentment and Discontent wage war in my Psyche. 

Sometimes I sit back and let them go at it.  Playing no real role in the battle guarantees discontent a win… hands down…. every time. Then, true to his nature, he picks a new fight everywhere I go.

There are those intelligent moments. Moments when I decide to engage myself and wrestle discontent to the ground. I tie him up and throw him in a dark closet where he belongs. I feel happy. I accomplish myriads I’m called to do. I find great joy…. Right Where I Am.

This scenario is easy to bring about when in the throws 
of the everyday, mundane.

But…. When the scenary changes?  Times that should be the most joyous… Vacations, Holidays, Reunions with family and friends, at these times… discontent somehow picks the lock on his door.

Or does he? 

No, maybe he does not pick the lock. Maybe in the flurry of activity I hear his moans from the exiled darkness and….Dare I say…  It is true?  I, in my stupidity, open the door and invite him to dine.

It is hard to walk in God’s will, to learn to be content right where I am when….

I am my own saboteur.

My prayer when controlled by this discontent, released from exile by my own hand…

 Lord, make me aware of all I do. Even those things done in the darkest recesses of my heart. Those things that I try to hide from even my own psyche. You know the ways of my human heart. You see the constant desire for my own way. Continue to expose the lies I tell myself and replace them with your truth. Transform me into something that brings glory and honor to your name.

Puzzeling

I am practical, disciplined, orderly and flat out compliant. There is a side of me that always wants to be wild, beautiful, creative and free spirited. Sometimes it gets its way… but usually the first wins out. I question, really question sometimes…. What was God thinking when he decided to wrap these polar opposites into one average sized freckly, wolf eyed girl?

He sees the completed project and I struggle to find the pieces and where they fit. It is hard to find a place for these messy, frustrating pieces. So,  I hand him each piece. He shaves away the sin, the dysfunctional traits acquired like barnacles on the bottom of a boat. Then– I begin to see the original shape and where it fits. Even the messiest of pieces are returned to me beautiful, aligning perfectly in the seeming dichotomy of me.

It leaves me overwhelmed. The thought and care to cleanse and reshape; overwhelmed as I see God’s creativity in the design of each piece. When that true shape is revealed I catch a glimpse of the originality. In the drone of the everyday i let myself become accustomed to the view outside my window…  I become numb to the unique fingerprint he has placed in creation. But, when I am worked by the master’s hand I am stirred to recognition that I do not come from a cookie cutter mold.

Old River Road Gingerbread Girl Shape Cookie Cutter, Copper 

The snag in it all….  how painful this barnacle removing process really is. With each cleaning and scraping I recollect C.S. Lewis’ description in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Eustice tries to remove the Dragon skin three times unsuccessfully and then he describes to his cousins how he is finally rid of the dreaded confinement by the great lion Aslan…..

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 5, Full-Color Collector's Edition) 

~
“Then the lion said –but I don’t know if it spoke- ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ 
I was afraid of his claws. I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. 
So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I have ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off….

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off—just as I had done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt—and there it was lying on the grass: ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been.”
~

The revelation of each new piece deepens my love for this God who created me. I endure the pain, and find myself returning for more, over and over. I have found an intense joy in the job of becoming his design. The process, painful though it may be, is delicious and leaves me hungry and thirsty for more.

I Choose to Run

I’ll admit, to the rest of the world it’s not that early. It’s 7:00 a.m. and for me, it’s early. I quietly step across the cracky, knotted floors to my closet and slip into my running clothes. It’s an act of discipline that gets me this far. The one positive,   reaching this point is a triumph in itself. Once the sole of my foot meets the smooth flooring my resolve is set and I do not turn back, but I don’t like the run.

Shadow in the morning sun (okay maybe it’s more like 7:45)

I’m an organized list maker. I do well with defined goals. Running makes little sense to me. The goal, not tangible enough or immediate enough and because I cannot define the goal I struggle to assemble the steps to reach it. Currently, this is my only available option for exercise. So, I slide out of bed and bolster my resolve to understand and define. These are the lessons I have learned.

Lesson 1

A simple one, Pace Myself. My approach to life resembles a racehorse. Each task is attacked, like the shot was fired and the surrey gates flung open. My first journeys on the asphalt were silly sights. I tried to sprint 3 miles. My lungs burned and I gasped and sputtered for breath. I did race, to a quick halt.  Wondering how folks did this for miles and miles. Then, a light bulb in my oft thick skull, I could run at a slower speed and I may just complete the journey. This was a turning point.

I still sprint the last 300 yards. It makes me feel strong somehow.
Lesson 2

I cannot run the pace of my magnificent husband. His body was built for strength and speed. Mine’s not too shabby, but it cannot compete with his. When we began our journey together I sensed I was holding him back. I had to let him run and I have to complete my journey right where I am….

and I am okay with that.

Lesson 3

Being too goal oriented makes me poor company……. and I’m the one who loses in the end. My focus on the goal robbed me of the joy in the journey… or, the joy I could find with company on the journey. Trying to catch the runner in front of me makes me impatient and unwilling to take a slower pace to encourage the ones running near me. My kids are fantastic running partners and they easily step in pace beside me.

Their presence makes the run more enjoyable.

Lesson 4

My squeaky left running shoe makes folks smile. I think it’s really annoying and I need to get a new pair but watching them look up to see what that noise is and then smile in the knowing….

well it makes me feel bonded in humanity.

My squeaky shoes

All in all I have learned that the run is “The Goal” and I complete the run to learn the steps to it. I will remain disciplined to go on the journey so I can find out what it will teach me next.

Emotional Me

Today is one of those really emotional days. The kind only women can have. It feels like there is an alien pulsating inside my veins screaming to be released. One day I’m going to find out why God needed women to be so emotional. Well, today in my emotional, internal pulsating I have gone from tears, to laughter. I’ve done some yelling and then some doughnuts and finally it has all culminated in art.

I am a closet artist. You will never find anything I’ve done in a museum. It’s clumsy work at it’s best. I like to show it to my kids. I really like creating it alongside my kids. Their work often surpasses mine. I find it is the creation process that brings me the greatest joy and the fullest outlet to my internal emotional struggle. I work in mixed media which in ‘Kelly Speak’ means I glue, cut, paste, paint ribbon and then weave in some verbage.

 I have learned we are all artists. I know this for certain. I was created by the most amazing being and how could he not knit His own creative passions into the fiber of my being. And yet, I am still surprised when, on days like today, where there seems to be no release for the passion that beats through my body, I find it through creating something of beauty (even if it is only pretty to me and my kids).

Simmering

I prefer a life on simmer. You know simmer. It’s not a cold lifeless pot but neither a rolling, boiling water that can quickly bubble out of control. Yeah, simmer is my favorite. There’s stuff going on but if I turn my back on it I won’t return to find a mess.

Today, life is a full boil. As I sit writing my thoughts I should be vacuuming a floor, investing in a child, planning school days, cleaning up the many piles of papers around me or just outside enjoying blessed nature. Every word I type equals another gush of water spilling over the side of the pot. What disturbs me most in these times is my desire to push God aside. Stopping to spend time with Him feels like it will just cause another overflow. Trust me, I’m old enough as a Christian to know better and yet my feelings want to stay away and do it myself. 

Just writing those words, “do it myself”, washes me with memories of my once defiant toddlers. Yes, I am laughing too. I just have this side of me that is so defiant. Why is it so hard to give our will to God and then not take it back. I am going to go spend some time with Him. I really will do it now that I have written it. We all know this will put my pot back on simmer, right where it should be.

Pig Sketch

This is a little sketch.  I really mean little. Hold on I’m going to get my ruler to actually measure it. 
Okay, it’s 2″ by 1″. 

Back in ’96 Dan and I had our first apartment and the guest room became our ‘office’. We sat back to back facing opposite walls and when we were in the room together we were silly. That’s when Dan drew Pig Sketch. At that time he was finishing his degree and when he sat at his desk he had a ton of schoolwork and studying to do. I had a desk and no schoolwork and I sat goofing off wishing he didn’t have so much to do. I wanted to be with him. That’s really why I sat at the desk.

Pig Sketch was just a doodle. We laughed about it. I think it’s a good sketch. The best part of Pig Sketch is how he keeps turning up. It’s been 14 years, 6 domiciles and 4 states since Pig Sketch’s creation and he’s still going strong. I found him recently in a little box and took him out  to find him a place of honor. He has history with us. I don’t want him lost.

I love the idiosyncrasies that come with marriage. Looking across the room and knowing what ‘My Husband’ is thinking. Finding an insignificant doodle in a box that brings me to tears with warm memories. Sharing the silly stories with our children so they become part of the idiosyncratic union.

~Ecclesiastes 9:9
Enjoy life with the wife you love all the fleeting days of your life.

My life really is a Balancing Act

A bit of adventure on a usually ordinary day.
Last Monday I got to be interviewed on Lifetime Television’s Morning Show 
‘The Balancing Act’ 
Showing August 18th at 7:00 a.m. EST

Beth Troutman was a delightful Hostess. Brad Voeller spoke about his book Accelerated Distance Learning and I got to smile a lot. Oh, and I also got to share my story of completing my B.A. with the help of CollegePlus!.

The girls got to meet Beth and sit on the set.
If you don’t know about the Distance Learning Process then:
  1.  Tune in to The Balancing Act August 18th 7am EST 
  2. Check out CollegePlus! 
  3. Get yourself a copy of Brad’s Book Accelerated Distance Learning