Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Being Spoiled.

I've been working recently to be aware of my junk.  Not necessarily to try and fix it all yet... but to be aware of it so that God can begin healing some of that junk in my life.  In years past, most of my junk has looked like this: INSECURITY.  But low and behold, He's gotten me past a lot of that.  (Don't hear me say I'm cured of it, just know that I'm a lot better.)  Lately my junk has been all over the place- chaotic, hurt, desperate, and spoiled.

The irony of the spoiled part just kills me.  I have spent hours talking with Elizabeth about not being spoiled.  We are hyper-aware of the danger stereotype of having an only child.  Both Dan and I have siblings, so we've never seen how to raise an only child.  We've seen what the media portrays as an only child... and it looks a little something like this:

I do not want my child to fall down the "bad egg" shute.

Last week, we had one of those Veruca Salt moments.  E had been promised a "Smurf Day" with her friend.  They were going to go to Build-A-Bear and make Smurfs, have Smurf Happy Meals for dinner, and watch a Smurf DVD before a Smurftastic Sleepover. 

Ummmm... Build-A-Bear is sold out of Smurfs.  And Happy Meals have seen their last Smurf days.

My child, who can often handle things like this, did NOT handle this announcement well.  We were at a playground with some friends when I found out and told her and she promptly proceeded to sob.  I mean cry like she'd hurt herself kind of tears.

Fortunately, I wasn't as worried about the appearance of it- I told you before that God had been working on my insecurity.  What I *was* worried about was the heart issue of it all.  Really, Elizabeth?  You're still going to go to Build-A-Bear, you're still going to go out to eat, you're still going to get a sleepover.  Can you not get it together for one second to realize how fortunate you are?

We left the playdate and had a one-on-one chat over lunch.  That meltdown has resulted in an incredible transition in my girl's actions.  She has responded to things with a renewed gratitude and attitude.  I am so proud of how she's caught herself before whining.  The result was worth the time spent teaching, for sure.

As I've been focused on correcting/addressing her spoiled-ness, God's reminded me of my own.  I have a spoiled schedule.  I have a child who sleeps late... a husband who shares responsibilities with childcare (and never calls it babysitting) so that I can have lots of time to myself or with friends... an ability to get my needs met in a reasonable amount of time.  While those things are not bad at all, I can easily slip in to the spoiled category myself.  But just like I told E, it's my heart condition that matters.  Yes, we both will likely continue to be blessed- either with Build-A-Bear opportunities or time to go on a Girls' Weekend.  But when we expect those things to happen rather than acknowledge and appreciate the blessing, we miss the blessing and focus on the event.

In this season of life, I am committed to enjoy those blessings.  I am committed to be thankful for those blessings.  I am committed to share my blessings.  I want to be grateful, not spoiled.  I am also aware that some of those blessings will look drastically different when our Foster Children arrive... even more reason to appreciate and enjoy them now.

Being aware of my junk: BEING SPOILED- is just the starting point.  Transferring that spoiled-ness to gratitude is a daily journey.  Now, let me get back to my coffee before my child wakes up.  Yes, it's nearly 9:00am.  (Spoiled, I tell ya...)

Monday, August 22, 2011

In search of more peace...

One of the greatest gifts I was given in life is my counterpart- Dan.  Those of you who know us well know our story: dated two and half months, got engaged, and were married at our six month dating anniversary.  (Gasp!)  My college minister said (when I called to tell her a.about Dan and b.that we were getting married, "That is so you, Becky!"  Really?  Is it?  Cause I was sure shocked, too...)  I still attest to this day that Dan wasn't my "type".  But clearly, he sure was... because what was a good fit back in 1999/2000 sure is a good fit now.

Dan is my sounding board.  When everything went down in Rwanda, I wept in my room one day because I couldn't debrief it with him.  Later, I told a friend this and she said, "oh, because you wanted someone to debrief it all with?" and I said, "no... because I wanted Dan to debrief it all with." 

We were at an engagement party this weekend and the bride and I caught a moment away where she shared how overwhelmed she is to comprehend how much her groom loves her... and loves her unconditionally.  It made me feel all those mushy-gushy new love feelings, and made me come home to talk it over with Dan.  The running joke in our marriage is "Here's to Good Enough."  There have been moments where Good Enough was all we were able to muster... where physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially "good enough" was all we could do.  Yet the beautiful part about our Good Enough is that when you put both of ours together, our Good Enough becomes pretty great.

Lately, my brain has been on overload learning and relearning life.  All of that process is not yet ready for blog-words, but it's been healthy and it's been good.  I am thankful that as I relearn, I have my sounding board right there with me.  Dan encourages me toward peace.  He wants to partner with me to put our family in right perspective.  He wants our time, energy, and resources to be used for the greater good.  For that, I am most thankful.

Yesterday morning, all 3 of us were lying in bed before church talking about our day.  Elizabeth asked if we could go for a walk and Dan said, "Why don't we go for a walk... in Asheboro?  Let's go worship God there and check out all the cool animals He's made..." and off we went.

Sometimes we need people to push us toward peace.  Yesterday, mine was found evidenced my a sweaty face and tired feet about an hour southeast of here.  My Good Enough gets better each day... and I'm so thankful God knew better than I did that Dan really is my type after all.

Peace to you.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Some days, you just can't plan...

Oh my word, y'all... my heart is overflowingly (it's a word, check it) full this morning.

We've had the blessing this week of some child-free time.  Elizabeth has been away at Cousin Camp and has been having a blast... while we've been enjoying date nights, long walks holding hands, sleeping late working like mad to get some order in our home.  (We kinda have enjoyed making it feel like a date... you know, a date *back* to Home Depot, a date to paint a room, a dinner date with friends who help us frantically move a treadmill and Ms. Pacman in order to get the room ready to paint...)  My heart (once I could get past Monday) has been full of peace and joy this week- in the midst of the chaos- as we continue to prepare our home for what's next.

Now, don't hear me say I'm not totally overwhelmed, 'cause I am.  But mainly I've enjoyed the calm of painting rather than my more normal routine.  I've enjoyed time to inventory my gift closet and my office.  I've enjoyed prolonged cups of coffee not interrupted by little feet coming downstairs demanding breakfast.  (But oh, how I've missed those feet, too!)  I've tried to make the most of every minute.

Monday: had a leisurely lunch with a girlfriend, then tackled my kitchen while another girlfriend sat and kept me company.
Tuesday: stayed in my PJs all day until time to go to Home Depot with Dan when he got home... all the while working like crazy upstairs.
Wednesday: paint, paint, paint downstairs... while listening to old episodes of Glee and 30 Rock.

Then along came Thursday.  My crunch day.  My last day to get things done before heading out of town. 

Yesterday was NOTHING like I'd intended. 
My morning started behind the 8-ball as I was running late for a breakfast date.  (Which, btw, was quite lovely on my new friend's screened in porch!  Oh, to not covet.)  I ran errands after breakfast, and had a brief pop-in visit with a neighbor who I've not seen in a while.  Then I hurried home to put on my painting clothes and finish work on the madness.

Just as I donned my new bummy-I-hope-no-one-sees-me-clothes, I saw two church friends walking up my sidewalk.  These friends are of the 8th and 9th grade variety... 2 girls who I have told numerous times to "come over any time!"  Guess what... they did.  We hung out for a while (after making sure it was okay with their mommas, of course) and they were joined by another kid from the youth group (who also checked in with his grandma, no worries).  While they were here I sent a quick message to one of our college students who was their youth intern this summer that said something like "hanging out with some of your cool kids!" and within 15 minutes he'd joined us.

3 hours (from the start of their visit) later, they all left.


Not sure I'd tackled my to-do list.

BUT!  While they were here, one of them and I started talking of our love of Glee and how we wanted to see the new movie.  I got online and found a midnight showing!  "Should" I go?  Heck no.  Did I go?  HECK YES!  I got our tickets squared away, and Dan and I went to run to the store then to dinner.

When I got home I had 4-ish hours before Glee time.  Whew.  Time to do that to-do list.  But because of my whole needing-rest-or-I'll-wheeze thing (stupid asthma), I opted to take a nap.  After the nap, I woke up, donned my very own McKinnley High School Glee Club T-shirt, drove to pick up my 13-y-o friend, and we went to see the SUPER fun movie.

I came home, tackled ONE THING on my to-do list, and "went to bed" (it was really a 3 hour nap.)

So, now, I'm getting ready to head out the door to go to Asheville.  And my to-do list isn't done.  A week ago, that might have thrown me for a loop.  But after all we've accomplished this week, the plan we put into place of how to finish said-list, and the peace in my heart, I'm okay with leaving it.

You see, I'd rather head out now to go to Asheville (!!!) then stay and finish up some of those things.  They will still be here when I get back.  And I am going to recharge my spirit.  My oldest friends blessed me with a spa gift certificate shortly after Mary died.  I told them that rather than using it alone, I'd save it and we could all 3 go together.  We decided we'd make a weekend of it (we've never "done" Asheville together- usually when we're home we're visiting family) and stay downtown.  So in a few short minutes, I'm off to surround myself with people I love, laughter, and mountains.  I get a quick visit in with Mom and Daddy, and one of my favorite UNCA students, too.  Other than that, I don't have a schedule.  We have spa appointments tomorrow, and dinner reservations tomorrow night.  My last 24 hours have shown me a taste of some un-scheduled fun... and have been just what I needed "to do". 

My list will be here when I get back.
And, hopefully... so will my peace.

Happy weekend, y'all.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

For Discussion: peace

Back in January, I picked a "word" for my year.  I'd heard this idea on the radio and loved it.  I shared this concept with women at church and I shared it with my college student friends- we all picked our words for 2011.  This word was supposed to be something we prayed and focused on for ourSELVES this year- not something we prayed for our families, children, whatever.

My word is peace.

Funny, I'd forgotten that recently.  (I'm not so smart sometimes.)  During the summer months as our lives were filled with an overseas adventure, Summer BLOCK Party, and Foster Care training, I got sucked into lists and prayed for specific items- not for "peace".  Don't get me wrong- in lots of those specific items for which I was praying, "peace" was high on the list.  But I didn't even remember it was the word that was supposed to define my 2011.  (Read: not so smart.)

"word bags" at the retreat
At a retreat I hosted in February, I handed out bags to each woman in attendance that had their words embroidered on them.  I've been using mine since then.  But the other day I picked it up and- honest to God- thought "I wonder whose word this was?  Maybe someone left it here."  Right.  Peace.  It was MY word.  The word I'd chosen to pray, live, and create in 2011.

So, here we are a week into the month of August, and friends, I am craving peace.  This morning as I prayed for our family, God led me to this verse: The Lord gives his people strength, The Lord blesses them with peace. (Psalm 29:11)  Whew.  Oh, to make that true in my heart.  I believe it... now I want to live it.

I want to create peace in my home.

In fact, Dan had a conversation with someone recently who was having a hard time with the chaos of life.  This person told Dan that the secret to outliving the chaos was to have a moderately clean home and have people in it who say "I love you."  Both of those things we do well.  (Emphasis on the moderately clean part.)  I've been letting those words roll around in my mind lately and wondering how the home I've made does or does not show peace.

How I would love a home like this:
 I love the clean lines!  I love the "free from clutter" look!  It's not quite "warm" enough for me... but...

Or this:
Oh, y'all... how I want to have a cup of coffee on that couch.  Maybe I'd need to drink it in a sippy cup so as not to mess up the calm white theme... but...

Don't see these two examples and think I like a lack of color.  One of my newest dear friends lives in a home with lots going on- colors and children all over the place.  But her home is still peaceful- and I'm trying to bring that peace into my space.

While I was searching for "peaceful homes" on The Google this morning, I found this article.  Several of those things we do well: we have a "landing strip" for things that need to be attended to... but our landing "strip" has become a landing "room."  My friend Leigh Ann taught me years ago the joy of a made bed- she said it in a way that I heard well.  She told me that her brother taught her to make her bed every day so that even if the rest of your house is in clutter, you have one organized thing in your house to come home to.  Household plants?  Got it.  Totally agree.  Done it.

remember this?
So what works for you?  What rituals or routines do you do to ensure your home is peaceful?  I feel certain that my laundry skills do not create peace- but we're working on it.  I usually don't end with a question- but I really do want your response this time.  (And sidenote? Thanks for all of your comments that sounded like "How could someone not like you, Becky?  You are amazingly wonderful!" or junk like that from my last post.  At least that's how I read it.  You are all sweet.  And clearly you are not the people I was talking about.)  No, seriously... what do you do to maintain peace in your home.  I want tips, tactics, and thoughts on creating peace.

I'm starting my day praying to the God of Peace for Him to pour it into my life.  And as I do that, I am going to fold some laundry to bring some peace into my family.  Now... what about you?  Bring it on, people...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In July...

Looking back...

Chapel Hill road trip

oh, the bliss

why my Book Club rocks (and no, we weren't reading this book for our Book Club...)   (photo also titled: why I am in love with Kristina Ward.)

the Rockin' Book Club
my daughter, the photographer (with Dan's friend Anne)
my daughter, the crab.
my loves.
my silly girl
cute turtles.

and a gator.
my colors these days.

what makes a morning at the beach perfect.

in addition to the moon.

"All God's children singing 'Glory, glory, Hallelujah, He reigns'."

Tie-Dye Day ice cream break


all these girls were precious... but I could hardly handle R's face in this one.


get it.

how I saw her...

how she saw me.

and the world through her eyes is quite lovely.

Happy August, y'all...