Friday, December 6, 2013

FMF "Reflect" on living on less

We were without a dryer for a little over a week and I thought I might panic. Wet clothes will freeze if hung outside during winter. We own more than a weeks worth of covering and I feel a bit of shame.  Our one income is a pot of gold in some countries, but going from one to two makes my insides still wrench.
   When Jesus calls you to live on less it doesn't feel like a blessing, but it is.  Two years of up-cycling and recycling and thrift stores bring joy. Peace has risen up since I gave away that American dream: the thought that I am entitled to it, where new once reigned and debt was attached to the hip. No debt is freedom.
   Somehow, in the less, I know I am reflecting Christ. Humbled by his sustaining and His penetrating/permeating the very core of me. I deeply pester him to continue the change. He was born in a dank, dirty manger, but never once did it stunt His purpose, His gift or His sacrifice. 

My miniscule amount of relinquishing doesn't begin to compare to His...what he has asked of me these past few years: stay home, home school, coordinate MOPS, lead, share a hidden singing voice, teach babes on Sunday-
holds my heart up high in worship as I know I am
where He wants me.

LINKING UP today at Lisa-Jo's

Friday, November 22, 2013

FMF: How I want to fly

The unrealistic me wishes for one day I could fly. 

Not in an airplane. 

I want to put my arms up like Superman and hang out with the clouds. And like this super hero, I would just circle the earth over and over to turn back time...embrace my mam-maw and mom one more time.

Then, back to present time, take off and speed along to satisfy my desperate longing to see my sister
and my other sister 
(who isn't blood, but knows more about me than most.
and
because I need laughter and biblical wisdom from 
Heather over chocolate as her cat finds my lap irresistible. 

And before the day is done, I want to fly above Mount Everest, see the Northern lights and end the day watching God create another brilliant pink/purple dusk.

This is how I want to fly.


Linking up today at Lisa-Jo's for another Five Minute Friday inspiration. Come  and join us here





Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Prompt# 5: 8 Books that will change how/who you are...

 It seems my parents and teachers weren't privy to the most daunting of relationship snafus or the hiccups in life or perhaps they didn't learn how to handle certain situations themselves. Instead of taking Irish poetry in college, I wish there had been How to Support Those Who are Grieving 101 or How to Politely, but Powerfully Tell Someone No.
Yes, learning to read and add numbers is important, but what about learning to manage our money, communicating effectively or choosing character and honor over anger, wild rage moments?

Moving on...I am one of those people that passionately believes that no one should be content with this so I chose eight books I have read that everyone should read sooner rather than later. I promise these books will change your life forever.  FOR-EVER.  I am not receiving any monetary gain by promoting these books.

1. Don't Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart , by Kenneth C. Haugk.
              The premise of the book is how to support those who are suffering whether it be through a terminal illness, loss of a loved one, miscarriage, divorce, job loss, etc...it gives VERY precise statements/actions to do and not do. When others are hurting we don't need to add to that hurt. I spoke on this very subject (kind of a poster child) at my MOPS group and it helped many people.

2. The Power of Positive Confrontation, by Barbara Pachter with Susan Magee.
      I am still reading this as there is so much meat here that I have to reread and review and remind myself that we can confront others with polite and powerful words. The skills you need to know to handle conflicts at work, at home, and in life. Invaluable resource.

3. 7: an experimental mutiny against excess, by Jen Hatmaker.
   HILARIOUS!! "Seven months, seven areas, reduced to seven simple choices. I am embarking on a journey of less." The author's seven areas are food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress. This book reads like a blog you enjoy as the author honestly describes her experience and feelings about living on less-and it is so freaking funny. It really changed how I view what I own and how rich I am even if our family is teetering near the edge of poverty. I laughed out loud several times to odd looks from others. 

4. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.
     Ever wonder why the 2 year old is crying in Target at 8:30 pm? Read on. I can't remember how this book came into my hands, but after understanding how important a good night's sleep is for my children...I realized that my children aren't criers. (unless they are truly throwing a fit for being told they can't have a toy) Why? Because they weren't sleep deprived. Two year old children should be in bed most nights by 7ish. It wasn't always convenient, but I am so grateful for how well we sleep in our home after establishing good sleep habits! We ALL need sleep. :)

5. The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman.
     Okay, maybe you won't believe this until you take the assessment tool and realize your love language. This book helped me understand why my hubby loves quality time so much. This is not a personality test. I have since figured out my children's love languages and it has made our relationship so much better. We could all use more love and understanding, right?

6. Me, Myself, and Lies, a thought closet makeover, by Jennifer Rothschild
  So this is actually a bible-study, but NO matter what you believe...the premise is that how we talk to ourselves is so damaging and not truth. It affects all parts of us. We all know the cliche we are our own worst critics...well, what if we decided to stop that? After doing this bible study, I am much kinder to myself. I confess-I am hard on me.

7. Holy Bible, by God
     How could I forget this book? Really, there is no other book like it. My greatest peace, joy and comfort have come from this wonderful book. My favorite version is the New International Version. I can understand it as it is written in plain English. If you don't believe in God than you will just have to mark this off your reading list.

AND...

8. Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration For Character...in you and your kids, by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller
   I just started this book. Wow. I have NEVER heard anyone put anger in a positive light, but it is because it is an indicator that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. I am learning to not do a lot of emotional engaging and to not get into the "arguing" boxing ring with my children. My favorite line? "Obey first and then we will talk about it."

Hope at least one of these books makes it to your hands. You won't regret it. Promise.

Linking up at:  Mamas losin it

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Truth is...I Peck back



When life is pecking me like a relentless bird, I peck back.

Ever notice how much easier it is to be angry, impatience, selfish, ungrateful, withdrawn, etc. when something or someone attacks or fails you? I find this to be most true during times when I don’t have control over a situation or a person.   Suddenly, life is pecking me like a relentless bird and I peck back…and all I am left with is a bunch of regretful holes; Holes to try to fill and cover and patch up like the pecking didn’t happen. No one looks fashionable wearing holes labeled, “I dropped the ball here,”  “I yelled like a mad woman,” “ lost control that day,” or “I was truly only thinking of myself in that moment.” Anyone relate?
            Sometimes it is much harder to practice grace, humility, patience, thankfulness and forgiveness. Often it is just a pride issue. It isn’t fun to admit failure. Yet, for me it can be something else other than pride. I find it is often the condition of my heart and head. A choice to do the temporary thing (yell, beg, withdraw, control) on my own to fix or modify someone or a situation.
However, the best option comes down to handing over my ugly behavior, my problems and other’s behaviors and choices to the only one who is trustworthy and has the power to change or fix it, our Lord Jesus.  When I rely on God to help me, to solve all the hiccups of life, I find he always does. Even if it isn’t how I would handle it, I know God knows what is best for me and he has a way of redeeming even the small things in my life.  What a comfort, what a peaceful and hopeful feeling God gives (something I believe ever person craves) when I put my faith and my whole life in his trustworthy hands!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nidus (NYE-dus) and what's missing in October /One word 365

I knew it was coming; holes that proved to be a nidus for his baby teeth. He lost the upper two and in an instant his face grew up. His speech sprinkled with a slight lisp. His parent's hearts sentimental and proud. We miss the baby, but we adore the five year old. Our humanity unable to halt divided loyalty once again. Hubby, him and I are all learning to let go together and it stings a bit.
********************
 I always know it is coming, but somehow October sneaks up on me like my three yr. old and I jump. No, I wince. My mother's death (7 years ago this day) proving to be a nidus for that something-is- missing-in-October-feeling. I realize my five year old's teeth and Fall somehow triggered it. I walk around with a open hole that only hubby and I seem to notice.
Some insensitively think, "Get over it already, or why aren't you over it?" "It has been seven years."

And here's my rebuttal...
 
I wanted to call my mommy when he lost his teeth and share that milestone with her.
I want to hear her laugh when she sees my three year old put his hand on his hips with his furrowed brow and serious face as he expresses something important to him. SHE HAS MISSED so much. The newborn cries, the giggles, the firsts in general, and the silly, livelihood of toddlers and preschoolers.

I want her instead of my sister to say, "You have changed, I can hear it and I am proud of you."

It hurts, it still burns and she can't be replaced. And if it weren't for being held by God Almighty, I know I alone, am too weak to make it each October.
 *************
Nidus: noun A place where something originates or develops.

Proudly linking up with Jen@Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wild Horses-keep dragging me away AND setting me free

The family and I recently hiked a special land set aside for the few remaining herds of wild horses. And on our way back, after silent and spoken prayers to the Lord, we got to see two of these unbridled equine species. One coal colored and the other a coppery brown. We could see their long, uncared for manes and tails. They peacefully foraged the cliffs for grass since they somehow know winter is coming soon. And we were in awe at the view from our binoculars.

Here is a picture of the brown horse.
 And my sensitive, albeit quirky self (awareness) kicked in and I heard the Lord speak to my heart once again from his creation. It seems to be a thing with God and I. Maybe it is one of the easier ways God can get my attention.

Moving on...while admiring the horses' freedom and wildness it came to me:
We are all wild and free at the same time.

Okay, some of us have crazier manes or need a brushing more often (wink) yet, don't we all struggle with control? In some way? I desire to live free, but often my own unruliness places a saddle on me. One that God didn't create.
 And then, well this is hard to admit, but just as I am sure those wild horses would have bucked and kicked if we had attempted to ride them I know that I throw fits and kick when I feel controlled. 
Sometimes I like to rebel (against norms and people, not purposely against God). 

Yet, there's a certain freedom in the untamed life and I am not talking about disobedience, but living 
free, unhindered in Christ.  Where we relinquish ourselves from rules, and have-to's and pretenses...where realness & honesty are unhidden and it is safe to boldly go to God with every part of ourselves.
What if we did that?
Not just believing, but living truly free?    
Today. 
Where freedom is trusting God that we can dwell tangled and unkempt with him
and still be considered righteous.
We can forage peacefully, rest in His shelter (the cliff).
He wants us to.
 




Friday, October 11, 2013

Ordinary-You might not like my post.

Has anyone else noticed the new buzz phrase for Christians these days? Your story.
It seems to be popping up everywhere...from radio to the new MOPS theme: Embrace Your Story.

And it is bugging me! Why? NOT because telling stories from our lives whether amazing or ordinary is a bad thing, but because it seems to be yet another distraction from simply being who we are in Christ. We matter, every part of us because God says so;
Our stories don't make us matter-Christ does.

Yet, the human need for significance beyond our identity in Christ is strong. I know because I am guilty of it too.
It is just too hard to accept ordinary. 
It is boring. It is hopeless and it isn't the abundant life God's word promises us.

However, no where have I read or heard a reference in scripture that telling our stories should be our focus; I know spreading the gospel should be and loving/forgiving one another as Christ does/did.

Don't read me wrong...I believe God has gifted many of us to write or speak needed non-fiction stories (isn't that why some of us blog?).  Who doesn't enjoy hearing a true story of perseverance or triumph that ends well?
Yes, I believe God can use us with our circumstances, events, etc. to encourage, inspire maybe even point someone towards accepting Christ, but our priority should always be getting to know a God who wants us to know Him, reading His true stories from His word, and it should give us peace to know we are remarkable; the very act of being created by a loving God, Father demonstrates how
worthy we are...that should be the story we are telling.   


Linking up today at Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday

Monday, October 7, 2013

I don't think my eyes have seen fall and winter play together...

I don't think my eyes have ever seen fall and winter play together. Yet, there among the colored aspen were pine branches dripping in snow.
Photo mine, please don't use without permission.
 Can two seasons happen at once?
Dead, lifeless, cold winter holding hands with deep vermillion, mango, cool fall? 
It is where I live.

And at the same time it is strange, it is breathtaking. Yet, I squirm. Something about this feels familiar and uncomfortable. I ignore this briefly as my family takes pictures and we try to capture a good holiday photo.  I love this moment, I love fall, so why are my eyes threatening tears?

Perhaps because changing so that God's brilliance is seen can be painful. Maybe it is the fear of experiencing winter...with a cold, dead spirit residing in my heart as at times it has. I vowed to control this...to never feel like I am not connected to God. To never be in that place where I feel far from God again.
 
 Then, that familiar ache rises like a slow wave in the middle of experiencing this odd phenomena as I pretend that I am past all the previous trauma this month dished out years ago, when death surrounded me, funeral after funeral. 
 When I truly became aware of my own death not just after giving my life to Jesus, but time after time when I wanted to control something or someone...when the hurt all, but killed me.  The death of innocence. The death of relationships. The death of self. 

I wonder who wants to carry cool change and distant cold simultaneously?

I don't want to, but God wants me to...gently carrying it with me. He holds me/helps me when it its time to dig the hole. Something will have to be given its' proper burial.

A mix of trepidation and joy will lie before me as I wait to see what must change or die, but I will obey the one I belong to...I know the Lord is a faithful and trustworthy season holder.

God holds my hand and guides me just as I hold my son's hand and guide him.

Linking up today with these blogs: Soli Deo Gloria
                                                      jenniferdukeslee-tell-his-story



Friday, September 20, 2013

Five-Minutes on She

On Fridays a bunch of brave writers gather at Lisa-Jo's blog to all spend 5 collective minutes writing on a single prompt.    Go here to join .







             The prompt? She.
Go!

She came from the same family as me, but she is different. Her story is different. Her choices and the words of hurt she heard.

I heard some of those stinging words said to her and I wish I could make dad take them back.
SHE still thinks those words are true of her, but they are not. God's words say something else. I say something else to encourage and speak love into her life. I hear it helping. She is in a terribly hard place where the man she married hurls hurtful words like dad at her and money is tight. She feels like there is no escape, yet she believes and clings to God's hope and redemption for her. 

It really is the best and worst place to be in life.

To be completely dependent on God because circumstances are impossible is where God wants her, but she is tired. I feel her exhaustion and sadness. And my merciful heart cries, "Abba, please."

I haven't seen her for over 5 years, but we talk and we write and we dream about a "safe" place to see each other again. And she ends our recent phone call sick, but with some laughter. 

SHE is being prayed for and whether she understands it fully, 
SHE is heard.

...The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
Psalm 6: 6-9, Psalm 40:1 NIV

Monday, September 9, 2013

I am a beautiful mess (Part two)

Today, I am feeling more beautiful than messy.
This is good, right?  I can't lie...my house and portions of my life to a degree are a mess. I seriously need to get floor cleaner and mop. At least I vacuumed, but I swear that the laundry and groceries have it out for me. I. Can. Never. Seem. To. Catch up!

BUT...I had a great morning with the Lord...he is the author of my beauty. And I am grateful.

I also have been trying to figure out how to embrace the story of who I am-past, present, future. How I am to share that this year with others and at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).

I tend to think of beauty in outside terms and I believe most people do too. However, I don't want that to ever be my message. For the record, I am not talking about ditching sunscreen or lotion, or bathing (good hygiene and no skin cancer is a good thing), but if we are "ugly" on the inside than no amount of beauty or taking care of our outside selves will win us friends...and it will not shine Christ.

I came across a random article and reflection paper among some old MOPS materials and realized that embracing my story is embracing God's purpose for me, embracing how he sees me. I am not who I am randomly. Oh, how beautifully orchestrated we all are.
  Then, I realized that to do this I have to understand both the human and spiritual side of my story. I need to understand aspects of my personality, my natural tendencies, how I was raised, understanding my God given spiritual gift(s) and looking at specific experiences and circumstances mixed with what God was doing in that moment.
UM, this is not at all easy. Okay, I have been doing this for the
past 10 years as I have taken a plethora of tests, read books, deepened my 
relationship with God, etc., but it is painful and time-consuming. Yet
it is freeing and has been worth it. 

The most interesting discovery? My personality exists in only 3 percent of the population...this explains a lot for me. 
 So where does one start?

Go  Here to learn more about my personality type and Visit here 
to learn about your personality type. (I promise I am not endorsing or receiving any form of compensation for the links I am providing...this website and test, to me is the most specific and accurate of all the tests I have taken sans the spiritual gifts test).
 

Friday, September 6, 2013

I am a beautiful mess: Part one

I am a mess. I don't always feel beautiful. In fact, if I have no place to go, I don't go out of my way to look beautiful. Ya know, no make-up, hair unwashed or if washed-tucked behind the ears or in a pony tail.

I am a mess-right now! Always, but I don't show it to everyone. Isn't that human? We can't be vulnerable with everyone. Can you imagine how interesting or bizzaro (I know, not a word) our world would be if we walked around being vulnerable with everyone?

IF we shared our REAL story. Chose a little more rawness over reserved? 

I have been trying this for so long now and let me tell you that generally most people DON'T welcome it. They want the abridged version. They don't have time. I can relate.
We really can't hear everyone's deeper story. 

Honestly, I WANT to hear everyone's deeper stories. I am intrigued, inspired
and well, curious. I just don't have time.

AND, God didn't create all of us to be counselors 24/7 and we can't be everything to everyone...though I have been guilty of trying. You know you have tried it too.

So how do we solve this? How do we discern when we should encourage others to share or when we  should go beyond being informed to being more involved...to hearing and responding with action to those around us?

What came to my heart was this answer: Are you being selfish or self-less or serving? Hmmm...

I doubt God ever wants us to be selfish. And it isn't about being self-less. It is about less self and serving. I hear this as it coming down to discernment. Praying and listening and trusting God in every relationship and circumstance. It is being hyper-aware of what God is doing in our lives. Is this relationship in our life one where God is asking us to serve Him and them and not ourselves? Or is it one where we need to take caution and NOT share much or only listen?

Oh, you should see the inside of me right now. These thoughts above mixed with my human self look like a bunch of tangled up wires. It is a mess. I don't have it all figured out...this is where the messy part comes in...in you missed it. 

I truly crave deeper relationships...it is how I was made. Okay, yes, being a woman is part of the deal. 
Anyways, would love to hear your thoughts! So please share.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Something Papaw said.

Mama's Losin' It
Today, I am using Mama Kat's famous writing prompts to inspire me today. The prompt I chose...
#4 Something your grandfather told you.

 Okay, really Papaw sang this...
And the farmer hauled another load of hay.

When I read the prompt, this little diddy came to my mind. I don't know why. I am not even sure what wisdom, if any lies within these sung words. 

Perhaps, Papaw was warning me that sometimes working involves lots of mundane, do-the-same-thing, Groundhog Day tasks?

Maybe it was an attempt to instill work ethic? Sending subliminal messages that hard work pays off?
That if one grows hay, there will be hay to load?

It is possible that Papaw was promoting support for farmers. Farmers work hard, farmers feed us and farmers should be treated with respect.

Okay, am I stretching it a bit? It is just a song, right? He sang it a lot. The song has stuck in my mind for 35 years...somehow it has impacted me.  Papaw passed away on November 17, 1993. I think this song is just one of many wonderful quirks that keep his memory alive. 

Some other funny sayings from Papaw..."You mother-ape." -(used instead of the curse word), "Come on toots, be there." -(when he wanted a good card hand or roll of the dice), and "Master-burger." -(he meant to order the Whopper, but said this and totally confused the drive-thru cashier).

Last picture taken the summer before my Papaw passed away.

 I miss you Papaw!

 

Monday, August 26, 2013

WANTED: 50 and older because you ARE that important...

If you are 50 and older, I have to tell you how important you are to me...to the world. To those of us currently without our grandparents or mothers (me) or we have a very strained relationship with our dad (me, again).

Perhaps, you don't desire to be a mother, grandparent, etc. to non-family around you, but before you hang up your hat on that, let me tell you how valuable you really are (not including how God sees you which you gotta ask him about that).

There are those of us that need, no-crave your wisdom, insight, affection, heck, even your attention. You possess a stability. Deep down, we know you didn't live the first 50 years without trials! Your strength from having made it through needs to be told. We need those stories of triumph and heartache to inspire and encourage us to keep going.

Most of you are parents and although we don't likely desire unsolicited advice on parenting, we still need your support, we desperately seek your understanding and yes, your free babysitting availability!

Some of us really love that you make getting older seem charming and less scary. When I look at how you handle gray hairs, a few extra pounds or pesky wrinkles-an awe escapes my lips and I breathe a bit easier. Getting old is not the end of life...
I've heard on more than one occasion from you, 
"I loved turning 50. I felt like my life was truly beginning."

I don't know what that means so I need you to explain it. And if your life is truly beginning-does that mean you stop being engaged or involved with youth? With young adults or a 39 year old like me?

Please tell me the answer is no! We need you! We need you...to listen without judgement. To not talk down to us because we aren't where you are at and please don't dismiss us! Okay, some don't show you the respect you so deserve, but don't give up on us. We need your love.

Let me tell you how you impact the world with examples from my experiences...

1. She isn't my grandmother, but my Mamaw was her best friend. She is 80 something, her health is declining and yet, she still  traveled out of state to come meet my children! The gesture alone...as I type this, tears are hanging in my eyes. (Love. Sacrifice).

2. She sees me differently than I thought. She has taught for 25+ years. An amazing, wise, now retired teacher. She told me, "You taught me so much." Huh? How could I teach her? She showed me ways to improve my teaching...surely not the other way around? (Encouragement. Humility).

3. They treated me like their grandchild. They paid for my college bill so I could get a Masters in Education. THEY loved me and even when they had cancer...they asked about me! She stroked my head and hand despite suffering. In pain, she wasn't just thinking about herself.
(Love, truly selfless love. Mercy. Generosity).

4. When my mother died, they swooped in with hugs, open ears and they came to her funeral. They barely knew her. They let me cry even if it made them uncomfortable. They have prayed over me and for me. She has spoken scripture to me more than once. They are there for birthdays and just because moments too. They are amazing in-laws and wonderful grandparents to my children.
 (Hope, kindness, love, compassion, inspiration. Examples of godliness).

5. She is my best friend's mom, but she treats me like I am one of hers. She writes me letters. She tells me I am a good mom. She makes me laugh and she has seen me grow from an awkward middle- schooler to a woman. She loves me. (Acceptance, forgiveness, love and understanding).

6. My home wasn't always safe. Her home was. She offered it. She didn't ask for details or something in return...she just opened her door and heart. (Safety. Comfort. Refuge.).

 Did you catch how prevalent love was in my experiences? 
It is hard to put into words how much these people's actions both verbal or not have meant to me.

If you are 50 and older and reading this-get and stay involved. Know that what you are doing matters. Please serve. Whether that means doing something like vacation Bible school, or Sunday school, watching our kids for a day or more, caring for kids at MOPS, offering your home as a place of safety and refuge for those whose homes aren't safe and or simply just listening.

We need you...really we do! 
And...thank you!


Sharing this post over at Jen's wonderful blog,  Soli De Gloria

Friday, August 23, 2013

I love last

I've always been last since I was born last, but it wasn't a compliment or benefit in my family.

I was the one picked last for any sport because left-handed batters were a pain and playing sports for me was like asking a whale to walk on land. Not pretty.

Last to know, last to get it in math and last to look like a "woman" in high school. 

Perhaps this post doesn't sound like I love last. 
In reality, I'm rather fond of being last even though I have had plenty of firsts in my life too. It is a piece of who I am. Comfortable sometimes.  I wouldn't change my birth order or inability to hit a home run. I don't hide that higher math gives me a headache.
I love last because that is a piece of who I was made to be. 

Linking up with LisaJo at FMF...a place to write for five minutes freely! Join the party here
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
- See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/2013/08/five-minute-friday-last/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thegypsymama+%28thegypsymama%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher#sthash.l1RyXg5b.dpuf
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
- See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/2013/08/five-minute-friday-last/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thegypsymama+%28thegypsymama%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher#sthash.l1RyXg5b.dpuf
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
- See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/2013/08/five-minute-friday-last/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thegypsymama+%28thegypsymama%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher#sthash.l1RyXg5b.dpuf

Monday, August 19, 2013

What a beautiful mess I am...

I wrote this for my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. It is a way to explain the theme of this year and is going in the first newsletter. I had to share what was on my heart...



Dear MOPS Moms,
Our theme, A Beautiful Mess-oh, I can certainly see my messes alright, but isn’t it stretching it a bit to call them beautiful? Doesn’t our theme ring oxymoron?  Can I get a witness?
How about an Mmmm-hmm?
 I mean, cleaning up my son’s potty training accident is anything, but pretty! My life appears more messy than gorgeous with never-ending piles of laundry or dishes, stacks of mail or paperwork to tend to, some kind of food that needs to be bought or chopped or cooked, and well this is only scratching the surface of outside messes. Lest I forget the inside me with untidy relationships, thoughts, and the need to permanently attach post-it notes to my body so my overloaded brain can remember the bazillion details swimming in my head. Not all that attractive, really, but God sees all of this differently! Okay, he isn’t blind to my messes, yet he knows that those messes aren’t the only pieces to who I am. They don’t tell the whole story of me. They just don’t define meHe does. In the bible, God tells me, “I am a masterpiece, created anew to do good works, which he planned for me long ago.” (Emphasis mine) Ephesians 2:10.
I struggle with that sometimes. Struggle to think of myself as a masterpiece because my human limitations tell me I am not good enough. Yet, no matter how crazy, chaotic or downright dirty my story or your story is God sees us as beautiful, God has a plan and if we are open to allowing some scrubbing away of the dirt-it will reveal the precious creation we are. Join me this year and let’s embrace our stain-covered manuscripts.

Part of a painting done with my children for MOPS called, Impression of Parenting. Notice the band-aid and REAL coffee drips and stains as well as the cute hand print.

Here's the full scale version of the painting...a mess alright!

Tell me about a time when you were in a mess and God          showed you the beauty. 
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Transitions and you are tired of the Borg...

This week is transition week in my home. No, summer is not over yet, but hubby's teacher duties resume. Kids come next week. I am alone with my boys again. This is fabulous and painful.
Painful because we miss hubby/daddy. Painful because even temporary transitions hurt. 
       We will get through it though. We will adjust, but hubs and I agreed that sometimes in life adjusting doesn't always mean it is what is best for you.

Hence, the Borg in my title.  
I have felt the tug of the world tempt me to assimilate, adjust...tell me, "resistance is futile"...but I have watched what assimilating is doing and it is damaging and I want no part of it.  
             At a park awhile back, I observed the Borg (half person/half machine)...people (organic) with their hand attached to a their phones (machine) instead of watching their child go down the slide with the biggest giggle. It is sad. I think we are headed to a place where phones will be inserted into us and we really will be the Borg!
            For a minute, I am going to throw a bit of a fit. When you are having a conversation with someone or eating at the dinner table-it is RUDE to check your text, or text! When you haven't seen someone for months, it is weird that you would pause in the middle of your activity to get on FB! Seriously? 

When did we decide that our phone was more important than people? 

Our phones don't really combat loneliness. It helps us connect easier, faster of course, but it never replaces the value of face to face relationships!

        I am NOT dissing technology because it is amazing and has a place in our lives. I have seen God use it for good, but here is where I choose to "unplug".
                         
I read paper books.
I don't have or want internet on my phone.
I don't have cable or a 150 channels.
I don't plan to Twitter-EVER because I doubt anyone cares that much about the little details of my life.
Lastly, I will never text, or choose my phone over you...I have even decreased my blogging in the
name of relationships over social media.

Where do you unplug or would like to unplug?



Monday, July 29, 2013

The Tiny Guard (365 Word: Weak)

As I sat outside on a cool summer morn, I was reminded that little doesn't mean weak and wimpy.
 I know because I was entertained for 20 minutes as I gazed at a fierce, miniature watchmen.
Scarcely a true guard I know...three inches but courageous and tenacious. He is a David among giants; standing up to creatures even 10 times as large as him. I don't even know if this Rufous Hummingbird realizes his potential, or if he has faith or even needs to, but he fights for a  nourishment he deems precious.
Then, he returns over and over to a skinny limb after chasing his adversaries. 

The pint-sized soldier I am talking about.
 And I giggle, not out of disrespect, but out of admiration and with affection...and the fact that I actually doubted (with pride, yuck) that this copper-colored, burnt-orange hummer could teach me anything. I listened with my heart though as God used this little bird to pop my bubble:

1. Before a battle, and in order to endure the battle, one must refresh and fill up on nectar (God's word).
2. During and after a battle, I need to rest in a consistently safe place (In the arms of my Lord, Jesus). Even when I am weak...
3. No matter what God asks me to do, size or talent or strength or weakness won't matter...what matters is fulfilling the purpose God has created me for. God can do what he says he can do. His plans will succeed and I will find satisfaction doing his will.
4.That standing up for what I know to be true and valuable is worth any discomfort or waiting I am experiencing because I know that it won't last forever. I know what awaits me in forever.


Can you relate to any of the above? Do you ever feel too weak, or little or ill-equipped?
      



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Friday, July 26, 2013

Five-Minute Friday: Broken

He comes down the stairs heavy hearted with his head hanging as low as possible. He says, " I broke it." I know he was messing around and it is his fault, but God doesn't rub my mistakes in my face so I tell him, "Sometimes that happens...things break down."
No sooner do those words come out that my heart is heavy. 
I have one of those moments where God uses my own words to my son to speak to me: things break down... 

There are so many possessions that decay, but the deterioration of a relationship grieves me most. I think the withering started when I was child, but no matter how many times I tried to revive, reconcile or fix this relationship...God was wanting me to let it be broken. To give him this fractured connection.

A couple of years ago, I gave him this broken lineage with much trepidation because it felt foreign to let this remain broken-humanly speaking.  I can't convey words easily that explain how this giving away has been for me, but I know that the Lords got this and I will let things go, whether broken or not, to Him.

What broken things do you need to give to God?

Linking up happily today at Facebook with Lisa-Jo Baker! Go here to join the blog party!
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