Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Real

Today, I was commenting to a friend about an "impending" fear I have.  She had various encouraging comments but one was a quote that she had heard earlier today ... I hope I have it right ... "Do you believe that what you really believe is really real?"

Tonight, not long after that conversation, my teenage daughter and I were surprised by a call from a former friend of hers.  I say former because some things happened during the last school year that drove them apart.

Let's start at the beginning ... this girl moved into our school district from the neighboring one.  She came from a hurting home and moved down the street with her mother.  My daughter befriended her and for a while, they were very good friends.  We welcomed her into our home and I tried to do what I could.  I knew the family didn't have much and as I sat at one of their volleyball games, I noticed that she could really use a new pair of sneakers.  At the time, it was easier for me to give her cash than to take the time to take her shopping.  I did nothing more ... I didn't even think to pray for her ... at least not that I can remember.  And that makes me sad.

(Note to self:  next time TAKE THE TIME ... and PRAY)

As we all know, there is a LOT of drama in high school, maybe more so between girls.  And this friendship was no exception.  I did my best to support the situation while letting them try to sort things out on their own.  And then the threats of physical harm began.  Toward my daughter and a few of her friends ... both male and female.  Thankfully, that's all they were ... threats.  And thankfully, the administration took care of everything necessary at the time.  And at the end of the school year, this girl moved back across the district line.  We saw her once at the movie theater this fall.  My daughter was worried.  I tried to ease the fear and make light of it.  And then I never really thought of her again.

(Note to self:  next time, DON'T forget)

Thankfully, God did not forget her.  She called us tonight ... us ... my daughter AND me.  She wanted to apologize for everything that she did and said last spring.  You see, she recently tried to commit suicide by overdosing.  She said that she had a lot of time to think during her recovery and she thought about us and the other kids involved.  And she just wanted to apologize and thank us for being kind to her.

(Note to self:  ALWAYS be kind)

We just do not comprehend the implications of what we do and say every day.  I did nothing more than open my home to this girl while she was here and give her some cash to buy some sneakers.  But she remembered.  And maybe those small kindnesses will be paid forward to someone else when she is in the position to do so.

Moral of the story:  Don't give up on your teenagers or their friends or their "frenemies" ... don't ever give up.  You just don't know what God is going to do with them ... or you.

Now, back to that question:  Do I believe that what I really believe is really real?  I sure do!  Because God didn't have to save that girl.  He didn't have to turn her heart around.  And He certainly didn't have to lay it on her heart to call us and apologize and thank us!  But He did.

(Note to self:  tonight, don't forget to THANK HIM!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Little Story

So has Not Me ever lived in your house?  How about Somebody?  Or maybe Nobody at all?  Seriously, I must have at least one other person living here besides my husband, our three children, and the two cats.

I did not write the following story - the original author is unknown.  But I first discovered it on a poster that used to hang in my father's office at home and it applies to my life as a mom ... specifically yesterday ... and most other days of the week.  But that's beside the point ...
"This is a story about four people named EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, and NOBODY.  There was an important job to be done and EVERYBODY was sure that SOMEBODY would do it.  ANYBODY could have done it, but NOBODY did it.  SOMEBODY got angry about that because it was EVERYBODY'S job.  EVERYBODY thought ANYBODY could do it, but NOBODY realized that EVERYBODY wouldn't do it.  It ended up that EVERYBODY blamed SOMEBODY when NOBODY did what ANYBODY could have done."
Now I believe that I am correct stating that NOBODY wants to clean up the grape juice that he/she spilled.  But really, could EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY please help a mama out?

"In everything give thanks."
1 Thessalonians 5:18a (NKJ)
Lord, thank you for the grape juice all over the kitchen.  It reminds me that I am blessed both with children and homemade juice to nourish them.  Amen.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tearing Down the Walls

Photo by Me

I don't do New Year's Resolutions.  As noble as they are intended to be, they've never worked for me, as I suspect might be the case for many.  But this year, I really do want to do something new for me ... something to better myself.

"Tear Down the Walls".  That's my New Year's phrase, if you will.  I already know how to build them ... all too well.  But according to the Bible there is a time for everything.  

A Time for Everything

~ Ecclesiastes 3 ~
(in the version of me)
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to harvest,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to turn away,
6 a time to search and a time to lose,
a time to keep and a time to throw a way,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

So I think 2012 is the time to tear down some of my walls ... to let some things out ... to let some others in ... to stop hiding ... to set sail ... to discover new shores.

"One does not discover new lands
without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."
~ Andre Gide

There are so many things I'd like to do different this year ... I'd like to organize, de-clutter, and redecorate parts of our home.  I'd like to blog more frequently and bless someone by my words.  I'd like to be more creative and find a passion again.

On a more personal level ... a more important level ... I'd like to get rid of some of those walls ... some of those bricks ... most of which are probably stones of fears.  I need to.  They aren't serving me the way that I thought they might.  They aren't serving anyone else, for that matter.  And they certainly aren't serving God.

I'd like to spend more quality time with my family and friends (my husband, my kids, my parents, my grandparents, my siblings, my old high school friends ... the list goes on).  I'd like to share my feelings and thoughts.  I'd like to share my fears and my dreams.  I'd like to share my frustrations and my joys.  I'd like to spend some fun money.  I'd like to rediscover who I really am.  I'd like to spend some time enjoying life ... heck, enjoying ME!

There are three things that I've started in in January to help me do all of this.

1.  First, I've taken the Joy Dare as introduced by Ann Voskamp.  I've begun several times writing down things I'm grateful for.  Sometimes I give up within a few days, sometimes it takes a bit longer.  This time, though, maybe with an approach that includes my camera, I might be able to do this for the entire year!  I anticipate that I'll I miss a day here or there on paper, or on film, but I'm telling myself that it's OK ... just as long as I remember that I have 1,000+ things to be thankful for each and every day.

2.  Next, I've printed out the 2012 Declutter and Organize Calendar.  I am a bit OCD about organization and keeping things clutter-free.  However, I also have a husband, 3 children, and 2 cats that do not share this need for order.  And, truth be told, I do let things build up and get overwhelmed with how to get rid of some things.  A small daily "to-do" will hopefully help me along my desire to have "a place for everything and everything in it's place" ... and maybe ease my OCD a bit along the way.  (Let it go, Erika, let it go ...)

3.  My third endeavor involves a more direct approach to "tearing down my walls".  After agonizing over the $40 cost, I took the plunge and signed up for an on-line class of sorts:  Scrapbook Life Journal with Stephanie Ackerman.  It's meant to help me "make time to take time to reflect on [my life], journal [my] thoughts, take more pictures of [MYSELF] and enjoy the little moments in life that often get forgotten in [my] busy, hustle bustle life & world."  I'm excited to get into my paper crafting supplies again - it's been way too long.  And hopefully, God-willing, I'll find me and Him again in the process.

I'll try to share some of my enlightenment with you along my journey.  And that's what it is ... "It's a journey, not a destination", as my good doctor/boss often states.  So one thing I have to remember is something else Stephanie Ackerman mentioned in her first e-mail:  "It took you a long time to get there so things are not going to change overnight."  This is going to be a process ... tearing down my walls ... but I pray in the end, I will be happy with the me I have found.

Photo by Hallie Sochia