You called me "Jill Sweetie"
Probably one of the only people in the world
Who has ever called me Jill.
It never sounded right when anyone said it.
But from you, it's pretty perfect.
After I said good bye
Because I knew you were drunk
And I couldn't take another minute of your rambling
I couldn't stand another second of thinking about
How stagnant you are.
It hurts me.
It pisses me off.
Remember when we were young?
Playing Marvel vs Capcom
Eating Mexican food
Driving around in that old beat up car of yours.
That was before your DUI's
Before your drug addictions
Before your suspended license
Before your suspended life
It made me smile
It really did
Reminded me of how important we were to each other
It made me wonder if I were still that important to you
You waited for me to run across the intersection, before finally turning the corner behind me and driving off.
What you didn't know about the female runner pushing the jogging stroller with a sleeping 2 year old on this overcast morning was that I'm a quitter. Or I was gunna be a quitter. I had been planning on giving up once I reached that intersection and just turning back and going home. I had been thinking about quitting even before I started my run. I kept wondering how far I would go before I gave up.
See my intention when I set out today was to run all the way to Target. I needed to buy a helmet for my daughter, and since I don't have a car, I'm walking/running everywhere I go. But Target is about 2.5 miles away from home, and I knew once I ran all the way to Target, I'd eventually have to run all the way back home. It was too much for me to think about, and when my mind did settle on that daunting task it would imagine my inevitable failure.
I had run about a mile and half by the time I reached that intersection-- by the time you sat patiently waiting for me to cross, not knowing the battle within my mind. That small, simple, patient act inspired me to keep on running, which I did. I ran the 2.5 miles to Target. I bought the helmet, and then made the painful trek back home. Granted, the run back was like taking a ride on the pain train, and I again entertained thoughts of quitting and walking back (which if you look at my pace, I'm sure you would think I had walked!) But I didn't. I kept my legs moving. I kept on pushing. I made it home and wrote this thank you note to you.
You find yourself in the lower level of an old ship. A calendar on the wall says 1682. There is a small window, and the view is nothing but open sea and a setting sun. There is a staircase and you can see daylight at the top…
Why am I so damn uncomfortable?
She thought as she woke from a fretful sleep--
As if she were being tossed side to side and back and forth while she dreamt.
Her eyes slowly adjusted to the unusual darkness in her room.
This isn't my room!! Where the hell am I???!
The smell of salt water and wet wood overwhelmed her.
She heard the loud creaking sound of boards under extreme pressure.
The sloshing of water against a large blunt object.
The shouts of men above her--
Orders, she didn't understand.
And suddenly the distinct shuffling of rats scurrying below her feet.
Panicked she flung herself around the room,
Flinging and breaking small bottles off a small table near her bed.
She stretched high enough to glimpse outside the small round window.
Nothing but water and bright sunlight.
She couldn't breathe.
She couldn't think straight.
And suddenly words started coursing through her mind.
A mantra. Almost a prayer. Like she'd done it a million times:
My name is Annie Hidalgo. I'm from Harvey, Louisiana. I was born on February 4th, 1985.
My name is Annie Hidalgo. I'm from Harvey, Louisiana. I was born on February 4th, 1985.
My name is Annie Hidalgo. I'm from Harvey, Louisiana. I was born on February 4th, 1985.
I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy.
She saw a staircase on the far end of the room.
She slowly made her way up and peaked ever so carefully at the scene before her.
Men pulling at ropes on sails, mopping the deck, keeping watch high on the ship's masts.
They noticed her at once-- even though her large, frightened eyes were level with the deck.
She overheard a man whispering.
Der she be. Wee lass touched in the head, she is.
Affecting an air of confidence, she popped her head and shoulders out quickly.
Trying to control her breathing and straightening her shoulders,
She called out to the man nearest her.
"Hey you! Is this real?"
He paused before answering with a simple "Aye."
"What day is it?"
"...not this again. It is the 21st of March."
"And the year?"
Just then a young handsome man came over to her.
"Ah Lady Elaine, you've awaken."
Lady Elaine? Does he think I'm Lady Elaine?
She responded quickly, but the tremble in her voice betrayed her terror,
"I think you must be mistaken, whoever you are. My name is Annie Hidal..."
"Yes, Yes of course you are." the man interrupted.
"Have you had your syrups yet, m'lady?
You'll feel much better once you've taken your syrups."
It's like I'm trapped in Orwell's 1984 and Google is big brother!
Everything I search
Everything I write
Is funneled through the all seeing eye that is google.
So when I started this blog a gazillion and a half years ago it was blogger. Just blogger. Then it was google's blogger. Then they forced me to join google+ through my gmail account. It got to the point where I couldn't opt out anymore. Then they linked my blogger to my google+ profile. Then they changed the commenting system so that people had to use their google+ profiles in order to comment. And that's all well and good, but I started noticing less people commenting and more people clicking the little check boxes by the comment section. So I just figured out how to turn off the google+ commenting, but then it freaking deleted all the comments that were posted through that system.
It's like the most frustrating thing in the universe. aaaAAAAARrRRRggggGGhhhHHh!
Here's the thing:
I'm a writer.
I'm not famous.
No one knows me
Most people are accidentally reading this.
For years #1 reason people were directed to this blog was because they googled "Is Ina Garten a Bitch?"
I just wanna share my writing.
When I was 19 this blog was like a journal chronicling every immature and retarded thing I wanted to do or say. Now at 28, it's the same thing, except that I've learned some self control and have become more guarded. I realize now more than ever that people can use my blog against me, professionally and personally. It makes me nervous and self-conscious. So when I do post something, I don't want to feel like its a formal process. And I don't want my readers to have to jump through hoops to communicate with me. I also don't want them to feel like they need to register with Big Brother in order to do so.
It pours on me
The skies open...
on purpose, I'm convinced.
And I'm gasping for a single breath
without choking on it all.
And the drops pelt every inch of me.
Until I can not bear another sensation
On my skin.
I feel like clawing at my body with the very
maddening nature of it all.
Then with an almost audible snap,
I dry slowly with time,
Then just to be cruel--
am not given a single drop more--
till my dryness is slightly uncomfortable.
Then nearly unbearable.
Where all my skin feels chapped.
And I imagine that all of it will chip away.
And I'm completely stagnant
Not wanting to move for fear of drying out further.
It's then that I think of you.
So for the last month I have been consumed with the letters of Paul. I signed up for Early Christinity course through HarvardX for free! It was definitely a unique learning experience for me, as I was taught by watching videos and annotating texts on rap genius.com and participating in discussions as part of my assignments. I learned so much about Paul and of the time in which he was writing, but the most unexpected part of this class was how many ancient/ historical and contemporary texts outside of the NT writings we had to read. It was incredible! (I even shared some excerpts of those texts here and here). It enabled me to gain an understanding of the new testament that I probably would not have gained on my own study.
I mean I read 1 Corinthians at least 5 times in a 10 day span. Talk about delving deep. I read it searching for meaning for freedom and slavery. I reread it searching for the role of women. I read it yet again to gain an understanding of the value for wisdom in the 1st and 2nd century. I read its prescript. I read to evaluate Paul's use of rhetoric. I'm telling ya, I have read it in NIV, NABRV, NAB, and NRSV translations.
I would devote 6-8 hours of reading for a single class. Knowing that in 2 days, another 8 hours of reading would be assigned to me. I read from the deuterocanon. I read from disputed texts. I read from heretical texts. I read from Jewish histories. I read from Aristotle, Polybius, MLK Jr., and Josephus. I read and read and read.
And what did I gain from all this endless reading?
A deeper understanding of life in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE.
A respect for Paul and at the same time a disillusionment, in his teachings and in his message.
But most of all, I developed a yearning for the Word.
I'm telling ya, when the course started, I was overwhelmed with reading of all these letters. I was pushing through them-- carelessly annotating them with generalities and obvious observations from the texts. But as the weeks went on, I became used to the reading of these difficult ancient and biblical texts. Then toward the end, I couldn't wait for my next assignment. It was as if I were left empty until the next wave of readings were announced.
Now that the class is done, I'm searching my shelves for what to read next, but nothing jumps out at me. I know I want to read something spiritual, but I miss the community, and the discussions, and the forums, and the debates. I miss gaining knowledge not just from the professor but from the teaching fellows, from my peers, and from the research i did outside the class.
Spendius and his men then led out from the camp Gesco and the other prisoners, in all about seven hundred. Taking them a short distance away, they first of all cut off their hands, 12 beginning with Gesco, that very Gesco whom a short time previously they had selected from all the Carthaginians, proclaiming him their benefactor and referring the points in dispute to him. 13 After cutting off the hands they cut off the wretched men's other extremities too, and after thus mutilating them and breaking their legs, threw them still alive into a trench.
811 The Carthaginians, when news came of this unhappy event, could take no action, but their indignation was extreme, and in the heat of it they sent messengers to Hamilcar and their other general Hanno imploring them to come and avenge the unfortunate victims. 2 To the assassins they sent heralds begging that the bodies might be given up to them. 3 Not only was this request refused but the messengers were told to send neither herald nor envoy again, as any who came would meet with the same punishment that had just befallen Gesco. 4 With regard to treatment of prisoners in the future, the mutineers passed a resolution and engaged each other to torture and kill every Carthaginian and send back to the capital with his hands cut off every ally of Carthage, and this practice they continued to observe carefully. 5No one looking at this would have any hesitation in saying that not only do men's bodies and certain of the ulcers and tumours afflicting them become so to speak savage and brutalized and quite incurable, but that this is true in a much higher degree of their souls. 6 In the case of ulcers, if we treat them, they are sometimes inflamed by the treatment itself and spread more rapidly, while again if we neglect them they continue, in virtue of their own nature, to eat into the flesh and never rest until they have utterly destroyed the tissues beneath.7 Similarly such malignant lividities and putrid ulcers often grow in the human soul, that no beast becomes at the end more wicked or cruel than man.8 In the case of men in such a state, if we treat the disease by pardon and kindness, they think we are scheming to betray them or deceive them, and become more mistrustful and hostile to their would‑be benefactors, 9 but if, on the contrary, we attempt to cure the evil by retaliation they work up their passions to outrival ours, until there is nothing so abominable or so atrocious that they will not consent to do it, imagining all the while that they are displaying a fine courage.10 Thus at the end they are utterly brutalized and no longer can be called human beings. Of such a condition the origin and most potent cause lies in bad manners and customs and wrong training from childhood, but there are several contributory ones, the chief of which is habitual violence and unscrupulousness on the part of those in authority over them. 11 All these conditions were present in this mercenary force as a whole and especially in their chiefs.
"Many ecclesiastics want to make me known through sophisticated arguments and complex reasonings, forgetting the Eucharist, which is my very substance, and the sublime simplicity of the Gospels, which I proclaim. This is like throwing mud at simple people." (Cf. Message to Julia Kim, September 22, 1995)
I've been reading the Martin Luther King's letter from Birmingham jail for the course on Early Christianity.
The exercise was to compare Paul's letters from the 1st century with that of MLK in the 20th.
But so many profound statements were made during MLK's letter that I found myself crying many times before I finished my reading, which took me two days to complete.
I have been feeling in my heart that God has more in store for me--that he made me capable of more than what I've done thus far. I have been so unsettled recently with just the need to make something happen.
So coming across this quote of an older black women during a very dark period of civil unrest in the south, "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." I was instantly inspired. My God! I want to feel that. I want my soul to be at rest with the peace of knowing that I worked tirelessly for the Lord. Get Motivated! St. Catherine of Sienna said, "We we become who were are called to be, we will set the world ABLAZE!" I've written it before, but I write it again! Be Motivated!
I've a few friends who have posted what they read in 2013.But for the life of me I can't figure out which books I read last year or didn't read last year. It's like every book I've read is so fresh in my mind it feels like just yesterday that I last laid it down.
Anyway I feel inclined to at least mention what I'm doing now and why I'm doing it.
I'm currently reading:
Stiff--the curious life of human cadavers
The Peacemaker--a biblical guide to resolving personal conflict
I'm reading david Copperfield because it's a classic and every so often I like to sharpen my classic reading skills. It's slower and sadder than books today , and I love it for that.
Stiff, because it's interesting and morbid. I find it irresistible.
The peacemaker, I'm reading because I have to figure out what I want more--respect or peace.
I'm also taking a course online. It's called Early Christianity: letters of Paul. I'm doing this because I want to get my master's degree or a graduate certificate and I feel like I need to start getting used to academia. This is a certificate course not one for credit, but it's only to get me going.
I can't just keep reading for no reason and storing knowledge with no outlet and no respect. Who cares if you're smart? It's all about what your stupid linked in profile says you are.
The events of this morning probably would have stayed with me all day. Maybe even all week, but what my mom had to say helped me break free of the insecurity and embarrassment that immediately follow a mess up on stage. Not even my husband can lift me up from the depths that I fall when something like that happens to me.
I have to find a lesson in these types of situations. This will not be my last Sunday when I mess up on stage. I have to find a way to understand that it really is no big deal.
It's just at the moment it doesn't feel that way. It feels mortifying. I feel compelled to flee. Just run away. Crawl under a rock. And cry.
The sweet smoke
The cinnamon and myrrh
The cassia, calamus, and oil--
Of the finest pressed olives.
Yes! I remember this.
It's been so long since I've smelled
An aroma pleasing to God.
"Little Girl," the old bear growled,
Tie your shoes!
Close your mouth when you chew!
What was that sound?!!?
Did you wipe!?
You're acting like such a brat!
What did I SAY?!?!..."
On and on it went--
With the young girl and the bear.
Each day she heard the rumblings of the Old Bear
Each day she prepared herself for the attack
Each day she defended herself against the claws
Each day she waited patiently
And each day
The Little Girl grew an untraceable amount.
Then one day the Little Girl,
Now strong and smart and quick,
And the Old Bear cried.
Today, Lia arrived at school 15 mins after the tardy bell sounded.
And it was all due to a grave error in judgment on my part.
Drowsily hearing Lia thumping around downstairs, I get up to ask her, "Lia baby!?!??"
"Yea" she replied
"What time is it?"
"Um let me check……it's 6:40"
"Ok baby thanks!"
I stayed in bed for a while after that, wondering why we were having such an early start to our day. Grabbed Maggie out of her crib when she cried and brought her to lay with me. We read books. Lia joined us. We chatted. Hung out. Then lazily I grab by phone from the charger and FINALLY notice the true time.
It was 9:15 in the morning!!!!!
NO way in the world did HOURS go by. It was more like 8:40 when she checked the time. Talk about 0 to 60! We were out of bed, dressed, packed and at school by 15 mins later. Did I mention that school is 10 mins away?
You have the right to work, but for the work’s sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working. Never give way to laziness, either.
Perform every action with your heart fixed on the Supreme Lord. Renounce attachment to the fruits. Be even-tempered in success and failure; for it is this evenness of temper which is meant by yoga.
Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of Brahman. They who work selfishly for results are miserable. -As quoted in Franny and Zooey
I was feeling dead. Or so close to dead that that awful, desperate struggle-phase was in full swing. Basically, I was desperate for rescue.
Funny how my death and rebirth all revolve around words. They are my center. It was words that tried (perhaps unwittingly) to slay me, and words that rejuvenated me.
What do you do when your muse has died?
Not an elegant, whimsical, fantastical death
Of a beautiful, fair, faerie-type creature
Gracefully limp upon her chaise--
Hair in bright auburn waves
Still vibrantly flowing upon her brow.
I mean a dried and shriveled body
Laying stiffly upon a dusted floor
Neglected and almost obscenely deceased.
What do you do then?
"I'll tell you one thing, Franny. One thing I know. And don't get upset. It isn't anything bad. But if it's the religious life you want, you ought to know right now that you're missing out on every single goddam religious action that's going on around this house. You don't even have sense enough to drink when somebody brings you a cup of consecrated chicken soup- which is the only kind of chicken soup Bessie ever brings to anybody around this madhouse. So you just tell me, just tell me, buddy. Even if you went out and searched the whole world for a master- some guru, some holy man- to tell you how to say your Jesus Prayer properly, what good would it do you? How in hell are you going to recognize a legitimate holy man when you see one if you don't even know a cup of consecrated chicken soup when it's right in front of your nose? Can you tell me that?" --Zooey
I'm telling you this book is an English major's dream
I once read a quote somewhere that said "The devil is too smart to tell us not to pray. Oh no. Instead he tells us to pray later."
Isn't that the story of our lives?! (of MY life, I tells ya)
"I'll pray later. I'll give later. I'll care later. I'll improve later.
or better yet as Christians we sometimes feel that just by being a christian that I'm good enough. I've done enough. I've given enough.
Although, more often than not I have a very different feeling. I know with every fiber in my being that I'm never really giving him enough. So I keep striving, thirsting, yearning to do so.
Isn't that something?! I try desperately to be more like Christ, to understand God and his word, while knowing that I'll never achieve my goal. But does that mean I should just quit trying? Or just quit trying desperately.
I mean, God doesn't say "give enough to me;" he says, "Give your ALL to me."
He wants every breath--not just the ones we remember to give.
I've recently been told (very lovingly and with much concern) that I run a mile a minute. Asked whether I ever just stop and rest. Told I have too much guilt. Warned against being too legalistic, and it had me thinking, "Is it possible that I'm working too hard to be something I can never truly be?"
I've been thinking so long and so hard about it that I've not actually been able to sleep for the last 2 days--just turning that question over and over in my mind. (So I guess they were pretty astute in their characterization of me :D)
Then tonight as I was searching for new christmas song arrangements for worship in December, I came across a video depicting children who were impacted by war--missing limbs, bodies prostrated in the streets, rags and nakedness and famine and pain. And in my inbox I have the prayer requests of a pro-life ministry I support whose numbers are failing and is trying desperately to understand why. And in my life, I'm never silent enough to pray! So not only are my country and my world ravaged by sin, but my life is void of intentional prayer and peace.
Is it enough to say at the end of the day, "well, God today I didn't do much; didn't do much to advance your kingdom. Wasn't overly generous or kind. Didn't really think about praying or praising you. Kind of did the complete opposite all day, but that should be enough for you, right?!"
Is it TOO much to say, "Father God, give me strength and send your Spirit so that I can do MORE than I'm capable of doing on my own."
That's a pretty scary and intimidating prayer, and I'm debating whether I can pray that and genuinely mean it.
I've just bought Mother Theresa's book, "A Simple Path."
If you want to talk about a woman who was devoted to Christ. In love with Christ. Dedicated to Christ's work, then Mother Teresa is your subject.
If you've ever read one of her books or listened to her speak (just youtube her), I'm sure you'll be struck by her calmness. Blessed Mother Teresa had a peace and joyfulness about her that was astounding--even in the slums of Calcutta with an overwhelming amount of misery, suffering, and poverty surrounding her, she was able to rejoice in the goodness of God.
Mother Teresa reminds me that regardless of the sin and suffering of the world, there is still goodness. There is still reason to rejoice. There is still hope.
And it is this hope and peace that I wish to learn from her so that this desire to be the hands and feet of God can be done efficiently, even-temperedly, joyfully, submissively, un-egotistically...and silently.
This is the day that the LORD has made. We will REJOICE and BE GLAD in it!! (Ps 118:24)
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner. (The Jesus Prayer)
I bet that's what all my English major friends would call this morning. Blue skies. Chirping birds. Yet the air had a crisp coldness to it that edged on the wrong side of comfortable.
It didn't stop me from sitting out there, though. About 40 pages in to Franny and Zooey and wondering how Salinger came up with this stuff. All the while listening to
Look how green that grass is! That costs $ too.
the beeep beeep beeep of a reversing tow truck as it picked up my bojankity, p.o.s., hooptie mobile to bring it to the shop for the 3rd time this month.
Money. Loads of it. I spend Loads of Money. It never ends. It makes my teeth hurt just thinking about the exorbitant amounts of money that I spend. Makes me think things like "man I wish we would have never bought this house. It's too expensive." or "Man, I wish I were a freakin' millionaire." You know stuff like that.
But at least you've got your health! Isn't that what all the old folks say when everything's going to crap, but on the bright side you're not dead!
Truth be told, I've got it good. That's why I'm sitting out here with my book. Kid sleeping in the car. Big ole house. With two cars (that just need a little bit of work and the occasional tow). I've got it all. I've just got to spend a load of money to have it.
It's very rare that I feel self-conscious about my writing or the idea of someone reading my writing. For years the only passers-by on this site were people who ventured so deep into the internet that stumbling upon this blog was just another back-space click without a single word read. That's still my audience. So if you're actually reading this...I'm genuinely surprised :D
Recently during a connection group meeting, one of my church friends hit me with such an incredibly uplifting and freeing truth that it staggered everything I once believed about serving.
Sometimes it is the most basic concepts that create the most impactful change. Here's what happened...
I serve in different areas in our church, and in doing so, I invest a lot of my time performing many different duties. I do this because I love my church family. I also do it because I like to feel like a contributor, and finally, I serve because it makes me happy.
But there are some areas where I serve that make me happier than others. And it is here where my paradigm shift occurred.
I always felt that when I was serving in the area I LOVED that it really wasn't serving because it didn't feel like a sacrifice. For some reason I was under the impression that to truly serve the kingdom there had to be some pain involved--an overcoming my reluctance and a grit-and-bear-it moment. If that feeling didn't happen, then there was no real sacrifice, and I wasn't trying hard enough.
It was the same with generosity. For me giving money is easy. There's no pain involved. Lee, on the other hand, cringes when we hand in the checks. To Lee it feels like I'm handing away our security--that at any moment we could face financial crisis and we won't be able to pay our way out because I've gone and given all our money away. But he does it anyway. He gives even when it hurts. Lee feels the sacrifice.
But when it comes to investing in people, Lee is MUCH more generous than I am. He really connects. He listens. He cares. He prays. He texts. He calls. I don't. And when I do, it takes a great effort. I am definitely not as generous with giving of myself as I am with my money. I'd rather pay you than invest in you. (Man that sounds awful!)
This is when the super incredible words of holy Spirit wisdom come in. My friend explained that God gave us different strengths so that the church could have a balance. If we were all generous in the same ways there would be a deficiency or neglect in other critical areas. Lee is a generous investor in people because God knew there was a need for people to be connected to a strong and gentle man who listens and guides without judgment or ridicule. And God made me generous with my money because He knows that there are true financial needs that must be addressed, and together Lee and I are powerful in that respect.
Through the years, Lee has become so much more trusting that God will take care of us financially. He has come to learn that all of our money is God's money, and that when we honor the Lord with our finances that He is always faithful and provides for us in ways we could never have imagined.
Likewise, by following and learning from Lee's example, along with my other friends who are amazing investors in people, I have become more open with myself--allowing myself to share my story with others and to try to help by walking along side them in their struggles.
So back to serving... The church has so many needs, and because of these needs there are so many areas to serve. It doesn't have to be painful. God gave me certain strengths so that I can fulfill a need in the church to fullest and with the most joy. Because the joy of the Lord IS my strength! SEE WHAT I DID THERE!?!? I find Joy in serving within the Strengths that the Lord has given me.
Find what gives you the most joy! Then serve, serve, serve. I'm telling you, I can never get enough, when I'm serving in my joyful place :D
When I was younger, I was hungry, ravenous even, for success, achievement, recognition, beauty, popularity, and wealth. I was fierce. In college, my desire for perfection met no bounds, and I would do anything (manipulate, charm, or just plain bust-my-a$$) to ensure the means of my desire.
But I got pregnant as a junior in college, and my world shattered a little. And during that time, my confidence in my ability or the confidence that my life was heading toward something special was also shattered.
Through the years I put together my world. I worked on being a good mother. I worked on being a better wife (which if I were graded, I'd probably be put on academic probation).
But I have yet to address my dreams or better yet--the dreams of my youth.
I let those die, simply by being satisfied with my husband working and climbing up the ladder and earning the income.
Recently I've been confronted by people in my life. Confronted not aggressively or condescendingly, but out of curiosity. Why aren't you more? They all seem to be asking me.
And through these few weeks, I've been rekindling the dreams of my youth. Dreams to for higher education. Dreams of a future in leadership. Dreams of doing something substantial.
Now don't get me wrong, being a mom is substantial, but I know that I can be more. Being a mom is not all that I am. I know my time has come to address me. If I don't, I doubt I'll be able to live out the rest of my life feeling fulfilled. I know I have more to give.
Yesterday at 4 PM we pulled into our driveway. The girls and I had just arrived home from picking Lia up from school, when I felt inspired to ask Lia how she felt about going door to door.
What am I talking about? School Fundraiser Time, baby!
Lia has been so excited because the class who sells the most coupon books gets rewarded with a CUPCAKE party! And in a manner of optimism that only a 6 year can muster, she was certain that her class was going to win. Little does she know that mommy volunteers with PTA and has seen the numbers. In order to win, every student has to sell, and up until yesterday 3:59PM the only book she had sold was to me--the lone name, address, and order on her fundraising envelope.
I thought about myself as a child and how embarrassed and scared I was to ask someone to buy something from me. I remember sending everything with my mom to work and having her coworkers order the wrapping paper, World's Best Chocolates, or whatever it was we were selling that year. And because of this I never asked Lia to try to sell her fundraising items. I always just assumed she's be scared or too shy--just unwilling to put herself out there, just as I was.
But when we pulled into the driveway, something came over me. I was so disappointed in myself, and I knew we could do better than 1 sold to mommy. So I looked back and asked her, "Hey baby, what do you think about running upstairs and putting on your School shirt? Then we can walk around the neighborhood and see if anyone wants to buy a book from you."
And her response to me was, "YES YES YES YES!" and up she went and in record time she was back down with her elementary school shirt on and a word track..."Hi. My name is Lia, and I'm raising money for my school. Would you like to buy a book?"
We walked around for an hour and a half. Lia approached every adult she saw outside cutting his lawn or watching her kids play, and gave them her lines..."Hi. My name is Lia, and I'm raising money for my school. Would you like to buy a book from me?" She would even show them the type of coupons that were in the book, and inevitably they would ask how much it was. And she would tell them "Twenty Dollars."
Lia received a lot of "No, Thank you's" a lot of "It's not a good time" and "I think I'm gunna pass." But she kept on going. She would even pray, "Jesus let this be the house," and up she'd go to ring the door bell.
Every time she said her little speech my eyes would get teary, and I just kept thinking how brave she is, how amazingly adorable and sweet. Man I couldn't have been more proud of her.
And you know what?!?!?! She sold 5 books! (mommy's made 6) It was incredible. She worked hard, and it paid off.
My daughter inspired me yesterday. It's hard to put yourself out there and to be rejected. The easy response would have been to give up, but her belief that God was going to provide her a buyer motivated her to keep knocking, to keep walking.
Maybe that's you. Maybe you're ready for a husband or a wife, and you keep getting "It's not a good time." Be confident that the Lord will provide for you.
Maybe you're in financial hardship; Maybe you're in a hard marriage; Maybe you're praying for a baby.
All the words welling up inside me--
My thoughts and feelings just bursting at the seams.
And everywhere I turn there's an opportunity
To chime in and pick teams.
My world has become so muddled and foggy,
Where goodness and honesty take a back seat
To selfishness, and self-preservation ,
To politics, and gender/race sensitivity.
What happened to the educated populace?
To where did all the morality flee?
When did we reach a point where babies are killed
Just so I can keep having sex with whomever I please?
Why would people rather kill themselves
Than to own up to who they really are?
And why must I choose a side
When both have everything all wrong?
Do what's good.
And choose what's right.
And be willing to sacrifice
And there are causes worth the fight
There are movements worth the leap
There are charities worth the green
There are people worth the love.
But don't ask me to set aside
The words that express my very soul
The thoughts that God imprinted in my mind
The truths that the Spirit, the world told.
Think about the mighty power held in a voice.
The world created by a single utterance
And my words too have a calling--
To be true and live-giving.
Forget the flattery
And double-sided tongue.
Give me honesty
Give me passion
Give me truth
And give me The One.
I've had a story tinkling around in my mind for a while, and I feel compelled tonight to type it out. Here's only a few lines, but I figure if I don't post this, I'll never be inclined to finish.
I suppose, as with all stories, it's best to start at the beginning. But perhaps I'm just one of those girls that never did anything the proper way. It is pretty evident that being so improper is what got me here in the first place.
Where am I? Alone.
Surrounded by a family I never wanted in a life I never asked for.
I saw a man
Who lost his son tonight,
Who held his wife in his arms
And cried for a child who never took a first breath,
And my too tight jeans
And my stringy hair
And my un-pedicured heels
And my daughter who shrieks too loudly
And my baby who's still nursing
And my husband who's still limping
And my lawn that needs watering
And my million stupid grumblings
Make me sick.
My God when did I lose sight of my miracles?
Father, how could I let go of the wonder I felt
When I saw my baby smile for the first time?
Lord, why did I ever forget the sight of my
Little girl when she was first placed in my arms.
How dare I behave in any way contrary to
Father God help me.
My goodness it's difficult keeping up with you--
So incredibly enlightened
So intrinsically good.
I find it exhausting to be constantly wrong
My goodness if I were meant to be so demure
Then why was I created so contrarily!
On my painful, hellish run this morning I saw a man in the distance cutting his grass. It had me thinking about our lawn, and how I have to cut the grass because Lee still is unable to walk, and how I wish the lawn would just get miraculously weed-eated and cut. Instead of the reality of ME having to push the lawn mower later today after this exhausting run.....
All this was running through my mind, as I approached the working man. I noticed him pushing the lawnmower along a narrow strip of grass that stretched between his lawn and his neighbor's. But then he did something that shocked me....he stopped....
He stopped about 3 feet short---the 3 feet that fell into his neighbor's property. It would have taken exactly two strides of his feet to complete that strip of grass, practically the exact width of his lawnmower. Instead, he felt the need to leave a very precise, crisp green line between their lawns.
And then I started thinking These Yankees up here in North Carolina are so damn strange! I remember my dad cutting this little square of grass that bordered our lawn and our neighbor's driveway. It was just an unspoken rule that whoever was cutting his grass would cut that little square too. Not just cut one side and leave the other 5 inches longer. What is that!??!?
That's when I turned the corner running toward my house, and I noticed the crisp line between the side of my house and that of my neighbor's.
Right now that I'm close to PAYING cash for someone to cut my grass, that strip of lawn bitterly mocked me. Lee had been pestering me all week to call someone to cut the lawn, but I couldn't seem to bring myself to take out the $50. So of course, I kept putting it off, and I resigned to the fact that I'm going to be cutting it again. It's super long and it's wet because of the non-stop rains that have visited us almost daily for the better part of a week.
And at that moment I remember thinking, I resent Lee's ankle, and I resent my neighbor, and I resent that crisp green line.