Dear Anarchist Sons

Dear Anarchist Sons of Mine (age 3 and 6 respectively),

Where to start?  Your attention spans are short, so I’ll begin by saying the important: I’ll love you in and out, through and through till the day I die.  This, however, is because my love isn’t a book or a toy or a paper…that you can shred and destroy like a pack of vindictive lions.

I don’t actually love things being destroyed.  (Surprise!)  So let’s just cover a few examples of situations I don’t like, shall we?

Do you remember when we made that “fruits of the Spirit” tree for our wall?  You know…the one with fruits of “love”, “joy”, “peace”.  I suspect you remember because you stripped that tree, probably while I was in the bathroom.  And I don’t really take it personally, but I do find it more than coincidental that the fruits you unceremoniously ripped off were “joy” and “gentleness”. Could we not rip all things paper…including books and cards?  Ahem.  Moving on.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk broken toys and Christmas presents.  I’m not even so surprised that you break them…but don’t have the decency in your little hearts to wait till the New Year at least?  By the way, you don’t need to turn your whoopie cushion into a “frisbee”…if you want a frisbee we can get you something made surprisingly exactly for that purpose.

Then there’s the messes and so many smells.  You know who you are.  I mean, it should be enough for you that the bathroom is perpetually vaguely scented of urine and the massive amounts of soap you use.  (One squirt, really…it’s quite effective.)  But on top of that, I’m finding gifts of partially processed foods:

…writing on the wall and table (as though we don’t buy you reams of paper):

 

…and whatever paint/glitter love child this is:

Also…I’m not sure if this is a boundary line or security measure, but in either case there’s a more effective and less gluey method here…I’m 98% positive.

 

 

 

 

 

Then there’s a few simple…let’s call them “etiquette” matters.  For one, your diaper isn’t an appropriate holster for your toy gun.

Two, thought I appreciate your budding artistic skills, please save your anatomically awkward “naked sunburnt man” pictures for home and not for your teacher at school. Please. For the love.

Third: Sweet boy, I know that you are just showing me the two fingers that are particularly messy, but the world simply won’t understand.  Let’s work on getting non-middle fingers messy next time.

Finally, I love your building and creativity.  You guys amaze me with those brains.  But you and I both know that behind those brilliant designs and charming smiles are two boys with no intentions of cleaning up anything.  Except for those random moments when you do clean and I’m tempted to take you to the ER for brain scans.

So…I hope this letter has been informative and convincing.  Next time remind me to talk to you about 101 ways to NOT torture your sister.

With Greatest Love,

You Worn-out Mom

 

 

 

 

Wait. Remain. Rest.

Why has it taken me so long to post in the new year?  I could blame it on all the transition around me, a post for another time, but the truth is I’ve simply been a bit stuck.  Kind of in a funk.  2016 felt like such a big year for me, finally publishing my first book, being asked to speak on multiple occasions, and attending my first writer’s conference.  Then 2017 rolled around, a blank canvas…and perhaps for the first time in my life I saw that empty calendar as a threat instead of a challenge.

Instead of my imagination soaring through endless possibilities I looked at my baby steps of “success” last year and wondered, “What if that was it?  What if that was my season of living bold, my grand hurrah, and now God is saying, ‘Hey, Kid, really great effort back there.  That was your season.  So, yeeeaaah….I guess we’ll be in touch…(*awkward cough*)’ ” 

I’m hearing and I’m reading a great blog here and an inspiring message there about going and doing what God wants and having spiritual goals and it all sounds so wonderful…but I’m wrestling.  I’m not seeing the plan; I want to “go” but I feel a bit reckless without a map.  I’m not so much afraid that I’m bringing my baggage from 2016 with me into the future, I’m afraid my best self is stuck back there.  And I can yell pretty loud, but I’m just not sure I can get that me to follow me alllll the way to now.

And suddenly I’m keenly aware of everyone else around me who seems to be running wild and free with their dreams, like those pictures of jubilant youth scampering with abandon through open fields of wheat or daisies or…OK I’m not great with plant names I’ll just stop before I embarrass myself.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you ever feel that way?  Do you ever have that suspicion that you’re missing out on something vague and distant that you don’t even know how to get to?  Whether it’s weight loss or financial planning or a dream job or a more organized house…someone else has figured it out, but you’re not sure how to?

So where do you put your foot first?  (Out of bed helps, anyway.)

And I feel like God is whispering into my stubbornness… “Come back to me…rest…just enjoy being with me, your first love.  If you find your full satisfaction in ME then you’ll never have a reason to be dissatisfied.  No circumstance or success or failure can define your significance because you are simply Mine. Be strong, and take heart, and wait on me.  Just where do you think you’re running on your little hamster wheel?  Remain in me, because outside of me you’ll only find striving with empty results, but even the little you do in me will bear fruit.  I’m not finished with you yet…and whatever plans I have for you I will continue to accomplish. Do you trust me enough to stay close and obey?”

Wait. Remain. Rest.  Although they’re not my favorite, my Christmas tree reminded me why I desperately need those words.  See, my tree this year just wasn’t very full at the bottom.  Lots of gaps. Awkward and off-putting.  So I thought I’d just shove some of the extra branches we’d cut off into the tree stand to fill out the base.  My husband suggested we twist tie them on to the other branches, which worked wonderfully…and I basked in my DIY tree-hack bliss.  Until I noticed a few weeks later how my lower branches were looking a bit sparser than the others. Hm…

My hacked branches were no longer attached to the tree, no longer getting any water from the trunk.  They were dying quickly and shedding needles at an upsetting rate.  And yet this is the picture of what happens to me when I try to hop off the Vine and do my own thing, seek my own dream or glory apart from Him.  When I become more focused on how significant my life and dreams appear than on the One who alone breathes life and significance into me…I fall apart.

But if I Rest. Wait. Remain.  They don’t sound like the most productive words for the new year, but if everything we do, every dream we pursue, every passion we act boldly on flows out of those words…then watch out because the Kingdom is advancing.  I believe God is not done with us yet!

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Psalm 27:14: Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

John 15:4 NIV  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“’In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.'”

Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Reality Redo)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, And all through the house,

Of course there was “stirring”, but it wasn’t the mouse,

(On a side note, we think there’s a mouse in the basement,

Because of the droppings in obvious placement).

The children won’t “nestle”, they don’t know that word,

They’re poking and squabbling like two angry birds,

The sir watching football and I with my wine glass,

Had just settled down to wrap gifts and relax…

When up in my head there arose such a clatter,

Of failed mother moments and Christmas disaster:

Like the time that my son squirted windex of blue,

On the floor and his brother and then sister too.

The moon shining bright on the trees bare and brown,

Remind me of Christmas tree needles knocked down,

And that sad small fir tree that I bought as a gift,

That promptly flopped over, it’s branches won’t lift.

The sound from the screen brought my mind to the games,

Where the players from each of the teams would be named,

Now Bengals!  Now Texans! Then Broncos and Chiefs

Would be playing for all of our late Christmas feasts.

For a moment I breathed an unusual calm,

But then dash away, dash away, dash away all!

For then in a twinkling I heard on the “roof”,

The prancing and pawing of each little “hoof”.

Before I could act, as my head turned around,

Down the stairs came the kids with their least quiet sounds,

All dressed cute in their pjs, from heads to their feet,

They needed to pee or more drink or more heat.

They didn’t find Momma kissing “Santa Clause”,

Instead with arms crossed I laid down the house laws,

Their droll little mouths swiftly turned to a pout,

With no more excuses they turned and went out,

And I wondered if Santa, with his round little belly,

Could make my kids eat more than pb and jelly?

If perhaps he’d leave Rudolph with the kids just to play,

So they’d sleep from exhaustion at the end of the day.

But my husband he winked and then nodded his head,

At the sounds of the giggling up in their beds.

He spoke not a word, but I realized with joy,

That despite all the chaos, my girl and my boys

Are a gift, yes a blessing, an endless new wonder,

To hold and to love both in growing and blunder,

Then, snap! Went the football, the ref blew a whistle,

And we sat there in awe, our mirth now official.

And so I exclaim as we savor this night,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all…better sleep in the future.”

 

 

10 Useless Fantasy Football Tips

This year I made my Fantasy Football debut in our church league.  My husband is a football aficionado junky fanatic (yes I’ll leave that one) who knows more players and stats than I know things about coffee.  So I thought this year, instead of being annoyed at him checking FF stats, I’d join up myself and maybe bond over football.  Now that I’m officially knocked out of the champion game, I just thought I’d share my useless rookie advice with all of you.

  1. Before you begin your draft, read lots of articles geared for Rookie Fantasy players, including expert tips on who to draft first.  Do you need to know what the terms “PPR”, “waivers”, and “Tom Brady” mean?  No.  But you should at least be able to use them in complete sentences.  (Note: All your research will dangerously inflate your confidence, but will only help you in approximately 1.3 of your draft rounds.)
  2. Ask your husband alllllllll the questions.  You’ll need to be redundant because he will tell you things that you should have listened to the first time.  (Don’t read that last part too closely.)
  3. When you go to a live draft party, make sure you bring a reliable mobile device.  Apparently, when it’s “your turn” to choose a player, the draft doesn’t pause just because you got kicked offline.  However, you may auto-draft a half-way decent defense this way….which will probably save you from some humiliating draft pick (like a third kicker or something).
  4.   Always play Aaron Rodgers.  Always play Aaron Rodgers except when he’s on a BYE.  Still, your backup QB will score more points than him at least once and you’ll want to drive to Green Bay to shame him.  I don’t recommend this. 
  5. Learn how to spell Aaron Rodgers.  (Don’t be fooled…there’s a “d” in there.)  Learn how to pronounce Bilal Powell.  Familiarize yourself with nicknames of players like J.J. Watt.  This way you just seem mildly incompetent.
  6. Be ridiculously on top of this fantasy football thing for the first few weeks.  Then, when you get discouraged because of an inevitable loss, stop trying for a couple weeks.  Hope that your husband is kind enough to be checking on your team periodically to switch our your BYE players during your emotional slump.
  7. Marvel that your team is doing marginally better than you hoped, and renew your enthusiasm.  YAY FANTASY FOOTBALL!!  BEST HOBBY EVER!!! (stuff like that.)
  8. Start using fantasy football language in your everyday conversations: “Can’t believe my RB scored over 25 points this week!”  “My backup QB got a passing yard bonus.”   “Hey look! A football!”  Things like that.
  9. When/If you make the playoffs, act completely natural.  Blend right in.  Every morning of the playoff weeks, look at yourself in the mirror and say: “Well hello there, Fantasy Football Genius!” Pretending to put “eye black” on and making intimidating faces is optional.  (Looking up the phrase “eye black” before blogging about it is not optional.)
  10. You’ll probably tank before the championship game, so keep a running list of excuses in your back pocket as to why this happened, so as to divert from the obvious issue of your massive ineptitude.  (Ideas: Blame the loss on your opponent’s unusually high defensive points, on your inexplicably high percentage of player injuries, and if nothing else, remind everyone of the injustice of your auto-draft from day 1.

If you follow these simple rules, you’ll end up 7-6-0 losing in the last round before the championship game with a stupid score that looks like this.  (I’m blaming Aaron. And also J.J. Watt for the excuse of needing “surgery”.)

 

If You’re Broken Too…

I won’t keep you…it’s late but for most of us our thoughts have a short shelf life, so I’m getting it out now while its fresh.

I’m not always OK.  Here on my blog I share some of my vulnerable self.  But even here, I manage my vulnerable.  I want you to know I’m real, that I’m screwed up, but at the same time I don’t want you to think any less of me.  Right?  Some amount of mess is relate-able…endearing even.  But aren’t there things that all of us have done that would make someone else’s mouth drop just a little bit?  Yeah.  I don’t like handing those details out like candy.

Maybe I manage for my own sake too.  I grew up trying so hard to never make a mistake, and that trying followed me right into adulthood.  I tell myself “nobody’s perfect” and that I so fall short of my idea of glory, let alone God’s.  But then those moments of complete and utter brokenness in my life take me by surprise almost.  How could I screw up?

I was trying so hard.  I was trying so hard not to disappoint him, her, them.  I was trying so hard to be a good mom.  I was trying so hard not to be late, not to spend too much, not to say the wrong thing.  I intended so well, but didn’t follow through.  But I was trying so hard, and this guilt just follows me around no matter what…sometimes because I think I messed up…but worse are the times I know for a fact I face planted.  Dropped the ball.  Intentionally cut someone down.  Yelled so loud.  Absolutely failed.

Why am I just. so. human?

Yes, I’m still being vague.  Because the truth is, a blog can inspire but we need blood and flesh relationships for vulnerability, not a screen.  Odds are, if you’ve allowed me to see you unravel, I know you’re a safe place to unravel myself.  And if you’ve loved me, frayed ends and all…I know there’s hope in the mess somewhere. 20160813_112045-copy

And love is what I…we…so desperately need.20160817_123706

At the end of the day, the falling and the mess and the guilt and the pain…it’s covered.  Love has covered a multitude of sin, and the God who loves me chose me at the worst of my broken.  When it looked like I might never become anything more than shattered glass on the floor.  And maybe He doesn’t actually expect me to become perfect, but to become surrendered to that love.  Maybe those unraveling moments are where I’m meant to experience the depths of God’s love..because I’m aware of my deepest failing. need. The vast chasm that His love spans to reach me.

Perhaps at once the most beautiful and terrifying thing is letting go of my belief that I CAN be good enough and letting myself be loved anyway.

And letting others be loved that way too.

Don’t look around at the sea of people in your church or your school or your workplace or your homeschool co-op or your playdate group and think that you’re the unraveliest.  You’re not alone, and unless we tell each other from time to time how broken we are, we’ll walk a guilty isolated road.  Be vulnerable with someone…embrace being human…and may you know somehow that you are simply loved anyway.

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Warning: High Maintenance Areas

I’m not high maintenance.  Pff.  Absolutely not.  Yes, I’ve been buying more clothes from for-real stores and from fair trade/wages organizations like Imagine Goods and Amani Ya Juu20161110_212757

but I’m still a thrift shop girl at heart.  My long hair means I don’t have a “salon” so much as some friends with haircutting abilities that I occasionally pay to keep me within the realm of acceptable split-ends.  I don’t require expensive jewelry; I admire fancy nails, but I can’t seem to maintain them myself; it doesn’t cripple me to have an imperfect house.

So I’m not high maintenance. Nope.  Not a smidge.  Um.  Except for when I am.

This holiday season I’ve been mulling over the idea of “joy”, mostly because I’m supposed to teach on joy this month.  Drat.  It’s more fun teaching something than learning it myself.

My joy seems to be wrapped up in my expectations.  I can sit here and look at all the other people with their “high-maintenance” whatevers who seem to require more of this or more of that than I need to be happy.  Or their personality is wired so that they really can’t function without a fully cleaned house…or they find an honest-to-goodness happiness in a really great manicure and monthly hair-styling.  And it’s easy for me to think that those things are a wee bit unnecessary- definitely not something to set your joy on.

Yet I set my joy on some high-maintenance expectations of my own.

Let’s start with coffee.  A friend recently told me she only buys coffee out a couple times a year.  Excuse me?  In a YEAR?  That might cover your birthday and anniversary, but what about Valentine’s Day and Groundhog Day?  What about the Starbucks monthly double-stars day?  What about days when the kids are going crazy or you feel hormonal?  What about the “I-happen-to-be-driving-within-10-miles-of-my-favorite-coffee-place” days?  What about RAINY days for heaven’s sake??!!

And then let’s get down to the actual coffee.  I, thrift shopper that I am, have somehow convinced myself that it’s OK to drop 5 dollars a pop on coffee. I’m quite a smooth talker to myself.

” Why, yes self, you DO have diabetes…you DO have a two year old who punched you in the face today…you DO feel a bit tired and YES if you miss this two minute window to buy coffee you’ll probably go into a catatonic state of lethargy from which there’s no return.  What kind of mother would you be if you DIDN’T buy coffee?”

And my joy is suddenly based on the latte-ness of the day, or whether the store has my favorite sugar free syrups, or how often I’m able to escape in java bliss.

Then Christmas tree shopping revealed more high maintenance areas.  We got a wonderful tree but we didn’t get our usual wagon ride and hot chocolate amenities.  A bit of joy deflated.  And even though I “let” my kids pick out a tree, I’m a master of getting them to ultimately pick one I approve of.  Because Christmas just might fall apart (for me) if I let the kids pick out the tree.

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So my gracious husband dragged in our fresh-over-priced tree, patiently stood it up and screwed it into the stand only for me to look at it with an overwhelming sense of discontent. (loss of joy).  The trunk was too tall…the lowest branches were dismally far away from the floor.  Dismally.  Yes I said it. I awkwardly asked if he could re-do it.  If he could possibly take the whole thing down, cut a bit of trunk here, a branch or two there.  Only because my joy hinged on it.

And then I almost started crying, because once he had trimmed the darn thing, the tree was closer to the ground but the branches he was forced to cut off left gaps all around the base of the tree.  Not one sad little gap that you can turn towards the wall so no one sees it.  Gaps everywhere!  And I panicked because we had already bought this tree and there was no going back and now Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas unless I could JAM some extra tree branches into the tree stand to fill out the bottom.  Seriously, I sat there like a mad-woman trying to wedge tree branches until my husband gently asked if I’d like him to tie the branch onto the tree instead.  Yes…we twist tied branches onto my tree this year like the equivalent of tree hair transplant.

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So our tree is complete now and it fills me with joy and it should.  That’s OK.  But it’s also symbolic this year of my expectations for joy.  Maybe I do have some areas of high maintenance that can threaten to steal my joy if I’m not careful, if I don’t own them and tame them through a little letting go.  Maybe we all have those places in our lives…maybe the things or people that give us the greatest joy, when lost or broken, are also the places where we have the potential to lose the greatest joy.

Is there a deeper anchor for my joy than my own high-maintenance places?  Is there a well of joy that runs deeper than my broken expectations?  Is there a source of joy that outlasts my temporary fixes?

I’m finding that a joy bigger than my circumstances must come from outside of myself.  For me, Jesus is more and more becoming that source of joy for me.  He’s becoming more than just a plastic figure or a pat answer and is soaking into the very fiber of who I am.  I’m not fully there yet…but my soul reminds me whenever I’m disappointed in this life that there’s a far deeper joy in the One I can’t see than in the things that I can.

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Where are you tempted to lose joy this year?  How do you refocus yourself when joy seems far away?

 

But Let Me Be Moved

God,

In the face of election results that grate on my soul, let me be moved.

In the footsteps of those fearless ones who dared to pick up the crushing burden of freedom for all, let me be moved.

In the midst of terror, injustice, and darkness, let me be moved.

The way is unknown, the task is immense, the voice of dissension is thundering and the lies are pervasive- but away with excuse, away with our hate, and away with the dark…and LET ME BE MOVED.

You are a Father to the fatherless, a Defender of the widow and the weak; I didn’t invent justice, it has always been YOUR cause first, so Let me be moved.

You are a Breaker of chains, a Freer of captives, a Champion of love, so let me be moved.

Yet don’t let me move without you.  Don’t let me run in human wisdom that perverts your wisdom, that shrinks your plan to a program or mere politics.

My anger will not bring about your righteousness, so give me righteous anger.

You say “have no fear” for You are with me- so change my panic to urgency for your will to be done.

My knowledge and life will pass like grass, so if I speak give me YOUR words which stand forever.

Your eyes are already open to injustice and brokenness, so please open MINE to see not only what’s wrong but also your solution.

I’m weak, but You’re stronger; I’m small, but You’re greater; I’m selfish, but You. are. LOVE.

So let me be moved to action, let me be moved to passion, let me be moved to unity…

But let me be moved…by You.

Photo Credit: Sam Burr

 

 

Call it Creativity?

It was Tuesday morning, circa 8:50am: homeschool co-op day was upon us, where I’ve been entrusted with an hour of activities and playtime for the boisterous toddler set.  Except I had no activity planned.

My fully-adult baby brother and sister came to visit the night before which meant I’d stayed up late talking about all the things.  Sibling time is soul food, and therefore worth shirking other obligations for occasionally.  Right?  So there was simply no time to squeeze out to prepare for class. Not a drop.  (This is where you all smile and nod your head and pretend like it was grossly unreasonable for me to carve out a twenty minute slice of prep time in the two weeks between co-op classes.  Ahem.)

But honorable and brave woman that I am, I became fully committed to preparing for class 20 minutes before I had to leave for said class.  Procrastination calls for nothing more than a healthy dose of creativity.

As a side-this is probably why my home is in the state it is: The theme is basically “functional chaos”.  While I’ve gotten more organized over the years (I can literally hear some of you snickering right now), I’ve mostly learned the art of “creative cleaning” which is more focused on appearance than legitimate clean.  For instance, I still have papers everywhere, some stuck on the wall, some stuck in “planners” (some good they do me), but mostly I stick them in baskets now.  That’s better.  To actually sort the papers, well, that’s asking me to exert a great deal of my limited decision-making ability.  (How does anyone decide the destination of one more financial paper or half-scribbled coloring page and remain sane?) And when it comes to “cleaning” my kitchen, well…I’m much better at artistically stacking the dishes in such a way that the counter appears clean.  Ta-da! (If you want a further window into my home, read this blog post by my friend about HER HOME. It was scarily relateable and will give you a chuckle!)

But where was I? Yes.  8:50am.  Nothing planned.  So my mind played this out: “It’s fall- we’ll just print out some tree coloring pages.  Yes.  Oh! Here we go…this one is  great (clicking print)..and I can totally have them glue on the extra tissue paper I have cut up from 2 classes ago.  Um…except what are we going to do for glue? I don’t think I have time to find all the glue-y things.  Um…wait…I do however have an excessive number of alphabet stickers.  Alphabet…tree-…the Book!  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!  

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We’ll make a fall themed Alphabet tree and I’ll bring my book if I can find it.  Hallelujah, it’s on the shelf.  What are the odds?  Aaaand…let’s go!”  

So out I ran, probably reminding my kids that they should know enough to get in the car and get buckled without me asking, and probably blaming them somewhat for why we’re always late, when in reality my last-minuteness is killing us.

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When my class started 10 or so kiddos filed in, and the territorial squishy-block wars began as usual, with a couple quieter ones on the fringes playing with magnet dolls or trains.  But then, miracle to behold, my most active boys were totally engaged in the story- kids were chanting “Boom! Boom!” in adorable disunity, and most of the kids sat patiently for the craft as well.  My heart swelled almost as much as my pride as I confidently proclaimed myself “brilliant” and beyond gifted at the art of creative procrastination.  You know what, let’s just call it creativity.

Later that day, I pulled a similar creativity stunt for our non-existent dinner plans- I whipped together some concoction of stew that I believe to be one of my best ever, and which I’ll never be able to duplicate because I, um, just used whatever popped into my head.  Go me.

Except I started thinking…creativity is a blessing, yes…it’s a strength of mine.  But do I sometimes rely on it to avoid actually working?  Yes, sometimes I come up with things on the spot and they are AMAZING.  But other times, my kids suffer from my lack of planning and wonder what on earth the schedule is going to be today?  Sometimes, my spontaneity actually takes up MORE time. Sometimes I think that if I just planned a bit better, I might actually save more money on food and feed my kids less PB&J.  (not that I’m knocking that!)  Maybe what I’d like to call creativity is a cover up for weaknesses I’m less thrilled to admit- being late to things, feeling overwhelmed simply because I didn’t sort out my week, not giving myself FULLY to a task or following through completely on things because I’m creatively bandaiding it for now.

For the life of me, if I knew how to insert an emoticon, I’d put a sad little questioning face right here.

I’ve been thinking about how our strengths can often be part of our weaknesses…  About what it means to acknowledge what I’m good at and what I’m not and surrender it all to God to be used in His way.  And that probably means I need to wake up a little and do some housecleaning of my heart and stop making excuses for the parts of myself that need work.

What about you?  Where have you found that your strengths and weaknesses collide?  What practical steps have you taken to address your weaknesses?  How have you found yourself surrendering it all to God?  I’d love to hear your story!

Quiz!: Who’s Your Ideal Pastor?

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Our church is in the process of adding an additional pastor to our leadership team, which got me thinking about the sheer variety of people that are represented in our congregation.  It’s a beautiful thing to me that people with such different perspectives and even preferences can lay those aside and meet together even when their “ideals” aren’t totally met…that is really the definition of sacrificial family love.  Still, my friend and I joked about a “pastor quiz” to find out what different pastor types people in a church might prefer, and it seemed a bit too whimsical to pass up…so enjoy!

WHO’S YOUR IDEAL PASTOR?

Question 1: When it comes to your pastor’s speaking Style, you’d prefer:

  • A) the louder and angrier the better
  • B) Upbeat; frequently use of pop-culture references
  • C) Intellectual; Frequent use of Greek/Hebrew language (You expect to have to look up at least three vocabulary words/message that you didn’t know the meaning to.)
  • D) A Suave presentation, preferably in an Irish or British accent

Question 2: What is the ideal appearance of your pastor?

  • A) Very intimidating and serious; formal attire
  • B) Distressed jeans, band t-shirt, and lots of visible tattoos
  • C) Mature and Scholarly, tweed jacket- bow tie optional
  • D) Muscular with Wavy hair and charming smile

Question 3: What kind of family should the pastor have?

  • A) Married to a formidable woman named Brunhilda- no kids
  • B) Married with 2 young kids (one boy, one girl) named Harlow-Grace and Maddox
  • C) Married to a professor of biophysics; has one adult son currently graduating with honors from Princeton Theological Seminary
  • D) None. He’s single.  Very single.

Question 4: If your pastor planned a Christmas message, what would he call it?

  • A) The Wreath of Wrath
  • B) E.L.F. (Emmanuel Lives Forever)
  • C) Exegetic Symposium on the Incarnate Deity
  • D) Jesus and Mary Marry Me

Question 5: How might your ideal pastor spend their free time? 

  • A) Megaphone shopping
  • B) At a Twenty-One Pilots concert after eating at that cool new sushi place
  • C) For fun, mentally sorting Jacob’s sons both alphabetically and by mother
  • D) Pining alone…

Question 6: Your Pastor’s favorite Bible Story/Passage is:

  • A) The Plagues of Egypt
  • B) The Message version of the Prodigal Son or Jesus serving wine at the wedding feast
  • C) Paul’s discussion of predestination in Romans 8:29
  • D) Song of Solomon

Question 7: If you could think of a song title to describe your pastor, it would be:

  • A) Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)
  • B) Gang of Rhythm (Walk Off the Earth)
  • C) Doxology (Hymn)
  • D) I’m Too Sexy (Right Said Fred)

Question 8: What FRIENDS quote best represents your pastor?

  • A) Ross: “You could not be any more wrong. You could try, but you would not be successful.”
  • B) Chandler: “Hi,I’m Chandler.  I make jokes when I’m uncomfortable.”  
  • C) Ross: “Of course you can defend yourself from an attack you know is coming, that’s not enough. Look, I studied karate for a long time, and there’s a concept you should really be familiar with. It’s what the Japanese call ‘unagi.’ … Maybe it means [freshwater eel] too. 
  • D) Joey: “How you doin’?”

Question 9: When your pastor greets you, he should:

  • A) Firmly grip and shake your hand while staring sternly, leaving you with an odd guilty feeling
  • B) Give you a half hand-shake half-hug combo
  • C) Nod at you respectfully while holding an enormous study Bible with concordance
  • D) Gaze at you deeply with his piercing, blue eyes

Question 10: Who is your pastor’s role model?

  • A) Jonathan Edwards
  • B) Matt Chandler
  • C) Tim Keller
  • D) A Tie Between Channing Tatum and David Bekham

RESULTS:

  • MOSTLY As) FIRE & BRIMSTONE PASTOR.  You’re looking for someone who is firm, bold, loud and angry.  You want someone who isn’t afraid to challenge you to your face, and constantly leaves you with the feeling that you’ve forgotten to repent of something.  You can count on intense sermons with no subtlety or apologies.

 

  • MOSTLY Bs) MODERN/HIP PASTOR. If the world is going modern, you pastor might as well match!  You’re looking for someone trendy and fun, who has a pulse on pop culture as well as spirituality.  With an accessible family and hip hobbies, this pastor will challenge you with humor and knowledge…and always in style!

 

  • MOSTLY Cs) THE THEOLOGIAN PASTOR. You want your pastor to be the brainiest of the bunch!  If you’re going to sit and listen to a sermon, it had better have some cutting edge, theological insight that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.  (Think college professor meets church service.)  You want someone who frequently refers to the original Greek and Hebrew in Scripture, dazzles you with his interpretations of Jesus’ parables, and leaves you with copious notes to study on your own.

 

  • MOSTLY Ds) THE DATE-ABLE PASTOR.  Your pastoral qualification are basically: tall, dark, and handsome. Umm…I hate to break it to you, but you’re more interested in a date than a pastor.  Maybe this isn’t the quiz for you.

 

 

 

 

How (Not) to Bring Someone a Meal

Awhile back I posted about about all the ways I went wrong trying to become an author, or how not to wash your clothes. I feel you all valued my blundering so much, that maybe I should periodically grace you with more sarcastic “how-to”s.  Ergo, my latest blunder…

HOW (Not) TO BRING SOMEONE A MEAL:

Step 1: Plan a day to bring someone a meal.

Step 2: However much you’re tempted, do not grocery shop for this meal until the day you must deliver it.  This lends an element of suspense to the event.  Ooh, see?  I have chills now.

Step 3: Around 10:30am the day of, peruse pinterest for a cute-looking, festive meal you’ve never made before in your life.  (Making a tried and true crowd pleaser is something only practical people wimps do.)

Step 4: Invite a friend to join you for frozen yogurt with the kids at 1:30 AFTER you grocery shop.  (See step 5 for the full problematic ramifications of this step.)

Step 5: Load kids in the car later than you planned to, and decide last minute that because you need diapers and wipes you should grab your groceries at Walmart instead of your local Stop & Shop.  This will save you money, but is a much farther drive.  (To keep you up to speed- the combination of steps 4 and 5 means you now have a bewilderingly short amount of time to finish your shopping in before meeting your friend for froyo.)

Step 6: Realize ruefully on the way to the store that you never fed your children lunch.  Please handle this step carefully: Avoid extreme language, and fight the natural instinct to bang your head on the steering wheel as you drive.

Step 7: Once in the Walmart parking lot, grab a cart that has one of those anarchistic wheels…You know, the cart where three of the wheels are behaving and the fourth has gone completely rogue and is making a “dgzz-dgzz-dgzz-dgzz” sound while flailing about.  Yes.  You know the one.  Ask yourself if you’re the only one who always picks these?

Step 8: Ditch cart for a new one, breathe in…breathe out.

Step 9: Re-discover the Subway restaurant INSIDE Walmart.  Pull your cart over and buy your children a healthy lunch while patting yourself on the back for redeeming your previous forgetfulness. Enjoy a proud moment.

Step 10: Recall that pride comes before a fall when the lady behind you in line discretely alerts you to the fact that your skirt is tucked up in the back.  Even though you will instinctively blush because your brain doesn’t know how to play it cool, try to act completely natural- joke casually with the lady saying, “At least I’m wearing leggings underneath!”  Ha-ha…Ahem.  Move as quickly as possible to the next step.

Step 11: Make a mental note to plan your trips better, as you realize that this isn’t a superWalmart and doesn’t have all the veggie items you need.  Return to the car and text your friend that you’ll be late for Froyo.

Step 12: Drive back to town quickly and buy your kids that Frozen Yogurt you promised.  Convince your son that they do not prefer children to go up for free refills.  Once the kids are full of sugar, move onto step 13.

Step 13: Go to a second grocery store to get the rest of your supplies.

Step 14: Multi-tasking Step:  Simultaneously put your son for a nap, bring the groceries in, and start the food prep, while mildly contemplating cleaning the dishes and checking facebook.  (For bonus fun, do this while singing Elton John’s “Rocket Man” until you get to the part in the chorus where you have to make up words because you don’t actually know how the song goes. Something about a fuse?)

Step 15: Realize you’ve forgotten chicken broth- replace the two cups of chicken broth with water and a pinch of salt and nervously move on.

Step 16: Finally pull your finished product out of the oven and gaze at its sort-of-OK-ness.  Not quite the pinterest picture, but your friend won’t know that.

Step 17: This is fairly critical so you’ll want to cut some corners to ensure failure.  Instead of putting the hot food and its flimsy disposable tray into a bag for protection, try to run it to the car with just your clumsy hands.  Inexplicably lose grip on the tray at the 1 yard line…as you try to put it in the car.  Now your food should look roughly like this, give or take a couple bites of sweet potato: food-spill(I’ll spare you the pinterest vs. real life comparison pictures at this stage.)

Step 17: Salvage what you can and bring a few backup food items on the off chance that your friend takes the careless looking food as a metaphor for your friendship, and deliver the food anyway!  (Confession of the spill is optional.  But I opted for honesty, in case you’re wondering.)

Step 18:  Insert a “clean van” step between step 16 and 17…and CONGRATULATIONS!  You’ve successfully  adequately passably made and delivered a meal to someone!