11 Weeks/15 Days

So, how have YOU been?

I've been ok, I guess. Breathing. Watching. Waiting.

Things took a nosedive after the first of this year. It was unexpected, and hugged me in a funk that's been hard to shake. (see my post "hurt")

That MOJO I'm always looking for, that I once had; well--it's on an extended vacation.

 

I'm back on the saddle and trying to just stay on.

Things are good. I promise. 

Blessed in the most ridiculous way. 

There is good.

It's coming up.

 

11 Weeks/15 Days/every moment in between & after.

If you just wait. Just get through the mundane, expected, minute by minute.

It is perfectly ok to mess up. All the time. Over and over.

Its ok to fall.

And even better to get back up.

 

11 Weeks/15 Days/every moment in between & after/things will change.

I'm back on the saddle and trying to just stay on.

There is good.

It's coming up.

I'm back to blogging. I'd love you y'all to stay with me.

 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity."

Jeremiah 29:11-14

 

hurt.

I had an epiphany over Easter weekend:

I realized that I got hurt.

Like, deeply. Walking wounded. Stabbed to death--with gaping gashes that never healed. It's been nine months . . . and, I really had no idea.

I mean yes, it was painful from time to time, but I didn't realize I was crippled. You know how the world tells you to just stop crying, stop feeling sorry for yourself and slap a Band Aid on it, suck it up and move on . . . . 

Yeah, that truthfully sucks and it doesn't work. (That's the WORST thing to tell anyone, just FYI)

I spun the tale of how I got fired back in July--but really, I was crushed (And I'm tired of being "politically correct" about it, just FYI)

 

Here's the deal:

I was completely blindsided.

My boss let me "go." (I was totally fired, wrongly and even slandered behind my back-- just FYI)

And, the school board, the vestry and the Pastor said. "Ok." ('Sure, why not? Sounds good.")

So, the whole church dumped me, like a dirty shirt. Cast off. Adieu.

My former co-workers were even warned not to speak to me. (Can you believe that?)

In the blink of an eye: no more job, no more church, no more close relationships with people I adored.

Ouch.

And everyone just kept on living. Smiling, like nothing happened.

 

It's no wonder people leave the church.

It's no wonder people cry out, "Why God!?" "How could you let this happen?" It's no wonder most people don't like "Christians." It's no wonder people turn away from God.

I even wrote a letter to the Bishop . . . "Thanks so much for your letter . . . "

 

I've been bleeding for long time. Those wounds have just been there, festering. It zaps your energy and your faith. That's why this blog has been silent since December.

On days, like today, when I'm alone--I know I should be doing big things for myself. But, all I really want to do is crawl back in bed. Mildly depressed would be correct.

 

So what? Now what?

Well, even though I don't feel much like it: I'M GOING TO KEEP TURNING MY FACE TO THE SUN.

(And yes, that's also Son, just FYI)

I've never felt so far from God since I met him back in 1997. 

It's weird to feel so abandoned, yet know He's right here at the same time. (That's called faith, just FYI)

 

So, back to that epiphany:

My friend and business partner said, so wisely, "You weren't fired, so remove that word from your vocabulary. I believe you were REMOVED BY THE HAND OF GOD from that place because he had bigger things for you."

Well, when you put it like that . . . .

I couldn't imagine still being at my old job. I would be miserable. 

Although I felt dumped, God was throwing me a life preserver. He was saving my life.

 

Pain and suffering always has a purpose--even though most would argue with that. 

I mean, look at God--Jesus on that cross. He died. He was tortured. He was despised and spit on.

Hurting? Ok. 

Wounded? Alright.

Weep, wail. Cry out. Take all the time you need.

Now It's time to heal. (Just FYI)

So, pray for me, would you?

 

"From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” 

(which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)  Matthew 27:45-46

 

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  Mathew 5:1-12

an intro:

I have been MIA.

It's been so long and so much has happened to me--I feel I need to reintroduce myself to you.

Hi. I'm Meredith.

I am truly trying to see who I am. And where I am.

 

Do you ever just go dark?

Recoil from the world outside. Need to take a deep breath.

Well, I'm there. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. I needed to press pause . . .

 

So. I am working on a piece that weaves it altogether. This is an introduction. Me, meet ME.

I'm looking to Jesus and trying to communicate with God. I'm tying to order the things in my life. Prioritize. Rest. Breathe. Listen. Create. Focus. Dwell. And feed that insane rooster.

So, stay with me. Bear with me.

 

Isaiah 43

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you."

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."

the year in review: ROOSTER EDITION

So. 2016 has been quite a doozy.

I saw a gif on Facebook of Homer Simpson crossing a bridge labeled "2016" and it exploding behind him as he crossed over into the new year. Pretty accurate. We are all done with this year.

There's been a lot of loss--celebrities and musicians.

There's been a lot of change--that horrendous election.

There's been a lot of turmoil--all the police shootings and protests and bombings and strife.

Personally, I got fired, was betrayed by a lot of people and have lost a great many friends.

I agree completely that this is one year for the trash can.

 

Ok. Let's talk about my rooster:

Seriously. I cannot make this stuff up.

After Thanksgiving I heard a loud COCKADOODLE-DO on my front porch--sure enough, I open the door to see this rooster. All shining in his gleaming white cockiness. True story.

It's been what--three weeks now? Yeah. He's still just hanging around.

When I wake and hear him, I look out the window and he comes running. Yes, he's attacked me a few times but, we've come to an agreement. I'm learning how to relate to him.

I like him. My husband is not amused . . . I don't blame him: He's loud and poops everywhere. I even called animal control. But, he's still here.

I like that he trusts me. I like that he let me carry him like a baby to the garage on a freezing night this week.

 

If you really look at this year and think and focus--it's not much different than any other year, or time. There has always been hardship and heartache and terrible events--shocking events. Celebrities and musicians die all the time--normal people die all the time, too. Elections come and go. Fighting and killings and bombings and strife and war happen all the time--and they have been happening all along. 

The thing is this: OUR PERSPECTIVE. We see it so much faster, through so many channels all the time 24/7 from so many angles. We are pelted with the news and information, under a microscope and it's at the swipe of our fingers. The Internet and the World Wide Web will eventually kill us because our hearts and minds just can't take it all.

Personally, YES--there is tough stuff we are all dealing with:

The economy. Healthcare. Crappy, sucky jobs--or lack there of. People die. Relationships end. People get sick. People are mean. Life is hard.

Yes. All of it. Here in 2016 and in all of 103, 1109, 1567, 1845, 1984, 1992, 2010 and beyond.

The world will keep spinning just as it has . . .

 

Here is the thing about MY rooster: it depends on your PERSPECTIVE.

 

I see him as fun and sweet and charming. A fun gift to enjoy and take care of.

My husband only sees him as a nuisance. A nuisance that poops everywhere (and he's not wrong.)

It's a lot like that baby born in a stable. (Remember him? Yeah, that Jesus kid.)

The people were wishing and praying for a king. A king to swoop in and fix everything.

But, they got a baby.

 

A helpless infant who couldn't do anything for himself. (Who pooped in a diaper.)

That baby? That baby was God. God made flesh.

So what?

God made flesh is HOPE.

Hope. My rooster is HOPE y'all. Hope and Joy.

Hope comes in unexpected packages--just like God coming to earth as a baby.

That rooster is a reminder that blessings, love, grace, goodness and humor come wrapped in unexpected packages.

We can only have hope when we look outside the box (or past the poop.) We have to step out of ourselves and consider the possibilities. Hope.

 

So, back to 2016. . . .

Have we stopped to remember all the babies born? All the people who found love and got married? All the wonderful people who got elected? All the amazing acts of love and service people did? All the people saved? All the blessings, goodness, grace and hope that happened this year?

No. We often focus on the negative. The bad. The ugly.

What is the greatest thing I've learned this year?

It is to have hope and joy despite what's going on. That's the true meaning of Christmas. And I believe that's the true meaning of Jesus. It's not all bad. We just have to be willing to step outside the box and look around. Take a different angle. Consider a different view.

We are still here, right?

It's because God's not done with us yet.

There's a lot more love to go around. A lot more love to be seen, felt and shared. Stick around. Look up. Look down. Look all around. Sit. Stand. Breathe. And, think of my rooster.

 

Isaiah 9:5-7English Standard Version (ESV)

5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called,
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

Watch a music video I love--"Lonley Planet" by The The:  https://youtu.be/fnz-pD_bOHo

 

Y'all. This was a labor of love and this is just me and my opinion. Thank you for reading me. Really. Merry Christmas. Have a Happy New Year. I'm really glad you are here.

Love Meredith.

 

 

help.

"Help! I need somebody. Not just anybody . . . "

I've been very busy lately. Like, crazy busy.

I've been busy helping a lot of people.

 

My husband walks through the door most evenings to a noisy nut house with kids all over the place.

The food is all eaten, the trash is full to the brim and I run the dishwasher almost everyday.

You see, when I lost my job back in July, I had no idea what God cooking up for me next. I just took small little steps each day. I just made the best decisions for each day. Then, it was like the light turned on: GOD WANTS ME TO HELP.

 

Help a friend who just went back to work full-time, so I watch her kids after school.

Help a divorced couple, sorting through it all, so I let their son hang out whenever the need arises.

Help a friend, who lost her husband earlier this year, so I open my home to her and her kids, to be a listening ear and a safe haven from the cruel world outside.

I'm a chauffer, a convenience store, an arcade, an art studio, a referee, a mediator, a therapist--I'm a professional kid wrangler.

Because, That's what people need. And, I'm available to help.

 

"Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me?"

This Beatles song has been on a loop in my head while writing this . . .

People are hurting, y'all. People are dealing with stressful, tough stuff. People are lonely. 

Most days, yes, it's quite insane here. Most days, my to-do list gets scrapped and added to tomorrow's list. Most days, it can be an imposition. Most days, I get tired. Most days, I think, "My God--do you guys have tapeworms??? I just went to the store!"

Yet, amidst the crazy--I'VE NEVER BEEN SO FULL OF JOY.

I know it sounds weird. It really is true that you get what you give.

 

So, I challenge you:

Look around, listen. Who needs some help?

Look inside, listen. Do you need to ask someone for help?

 

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16


P.S. I've also learned that in the midst of helping others--don't forget to take care of your own. Don't neglect the ones God has given you to help in your own house. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

lost.

I try to post once a month. I noticed it's almost been two months. EEK!

If you glance back at the birth of this blog, I was lamenting the fact that I'd lost my mojo.

Well, it's still mostly missing. And, I'm still mostly lost.

Not sure if this is just part of growing up, or growing senile, or just a season. A very loooooooooong season.

I'm still stuck on that tilt-a-whirl (against my will) and I cannot seem to get off. (Melanie made me get on one in like, 1987, and I've been ruined ever since.)

 

The days seem to slip through my fingers like sand in the sandbox outback. My kids bounce around and off the walls and I can't get a handle on their homework and the fundraisers. The laundry, the groceries, the to-do lists, the bills.  My husband walks in and out and we barely have the energy to ask, "How was your day?" I can't seem to make my body, much less my mind, work the way I used to be able to count on. I start over every morning, hopeful to get a grip--only to realize I've lost all control by lunchtime.

Being lost means someone is missing you--you have to be found.

If no one was looking for you, then you wouldn't be lost, right?

So, the answer lies in who's looking for you.

Think lost pets: we put collars around their necks with pink hearts and information and we microchip them so we can find them when they are missing.

Think Joyce Byers. Now, if you don't know who Joyce Byers is, get thee to the TV stat and binge watch Stranger Things on Netflix. But, Joyce Byers, like most mamas, knows her son is missing, lost--but NOT DEAD. She goes to extreme lengths to find him and she doesn't care who thinks she's completely lost her marbles with all those Christmas lights.

Who's looking for you?

Is it you?

Is it someone?

Is it God?

Who?

I may complain about being lost and not knowing where I am exactly in the space time continuum, but there is something still and quiet, but fiercely concrete, deep inside the crevasses of me:

Jesus.

I may be lost--but He knows exactly where I am.

He knows what's going on and what I'm dealing with. He knows my path, and all the obstacles. He knows my thoughts, my heartbeats and my dreams. He doesn't have to look for me--he sees me. All the time. I am never lost to Him.

Thank God.

 

These are my favorite verses for the times I feel lost:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. . .   Jeremiah 29:11-14


Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
PROVERBS 3:5-6

 

 

content.

It's 4:59 am.

I'm sitting on the floor here in the dark.

Sobbing.

The dog is asleep on the bean bag, snoring. The cat is sniffing the pile of wadded up tissues and I sip my coffee.

There was an earthquake last night that practically wiped an Italian town off the map. New studies show Zika is worse than we thought. An EpiPen now costs like $500. More blah, blah, blah, about Hill and the Donald.

I saw a post of a sweet 15-year old cat on his last visit to the vet holding his owners hand and gazing into his eyes. That sweet cat knew it was his time.

That's what started my waterworks this morning. (Stupid Dodo posts.)


And, all the changes.

And the insufficient fund notification from the bank and the checking account with $0.70 in it.
And that school started and I didn't get to start with it. And this new little dog who poops and pees in the house. And a kindergartner who really doesn't like this school thing very much.
And--all the changes.

I miss so much.
I miss my dogs-- both of them passed this winter. The comfort in unconditional comraderie.
I miss my children as babies--toddlers. The innocence, before they could really talk back.
I miss our old houses. The way they were so cozy and it fit us perfectly at the time. I miss when it was just me and my husband. Before the walls of time, age, stress and strife were erected. I miss the United States, far from perfect, but so much gentler. I miss having leaders in power that we trusted. I miss when we knew so little about the world around us and it was quieter. I miss when it was just me and God. There was just so much less. . . less stuff and people. Just me to take care of worry about.

As I left to pick the boys up from school yesterday, I thought to myself, "Meredith, why are you in such a state of discontent?"


Content.

That word has many meanings

CONTENT--Adjective: in a state of peaceful happiness. Verb: to satisfy, to accept as adequate despite wanting more or better. Noun: the things that are held or included in something, a list of chapters or sections in a book, the substance of material dealt with in a speech or literary work, etc.


I miss feeling really content with the content of my life. 



I glance at Facebook. It's unavoidable. So much stuff. People I know near and people I see from far away. It's actually, ridiculously quite selfish to compare my "content" with their content. There is no comparison. "We are all fighting a battle no ones knows about, so be kind."

The people of that Italian town. Dirty, bloody, sweet, precious Omran Daqneesh--The entire nation of Syria. Rain soaked Louisiana. Babies born with Zika. The Keltners who have to buy $500 EpiPens for their son. The USofA that seems to be destroying itself. People in prison. People in the hospital. People on the street.

 

The thing is, beyond anything I could experience, see, and hear--beyond anything that could happen to me, or those I love--There was a man. He spoke the truth. He didn't argue. He didn't defend himself. He turned the other cheek when beaten. He was tortured. He was hated and betrayed. He didn't fight back. He willingly allowed them to nail his hands and feet to that crucifix and he willingly died. When he died, I believe he whispered my name to God. Just as he whispered your name and the name of every human being that has ever and will ever live on earth.

My content really doesn't matter. What matters is that HE is the content of my life. And minute by minute, my job is to keep digging HIM out from under all the stupid, insignificant stuff that gets piled on top of him. The bills. The worries. The world. Every morning, I unearth my Lord Jesus Christ. My savior. I have to strip back my thick skin and tear down the high walls I build everyday in vain.

That's all I can do. That's my job right now. I can call out to him this morning with tears streaming down my face. Help me! Help me find you LORD! I can't handle this!

Help me follow you. Show me which way to go. Help me love my husband today. Help me love my children today. Help me be a better parent today. Help me be a better wife. Help me help someone in need today. Help me get done what you need me to get done today. Help us with the bills--you know what we need. Help those who are struggling--you (only you) have the power to help them.

ARE YOU CONTENT WITH YOUR CONTENT TODAY?

 


Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
PSALM 42:11


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
JOHN 3:16-18

 

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
PHILIPPIANS 4:11-12


“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
    do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God."
PROVERBS 30:7-9


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
Wendy Mass from The Candymakers; originally attributed to Ian MacLaren
 

(You, too, can cry at sweet, sad videos about animals at: www.thedodo.com)

 

NO.

I have spent roughly 120,960 minutes with my three boys this summer in a small house. It's either been humid and raining, or too freaking hot to step outside. That's Texas for you.

We are so over each other.

My voice, my commands, my requests, my reprimands--I know that I pretty much started to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher.

They started to ignore me. Completely tune me out.

Now--let's be real here: I do NOT have the energy to press into every single infraction or issue. I have to pick my battles. And, I have to let them figure out conflict on their own sometimes.

But, there are times when I have to put my foot down. I have to balance out the "yeses" and the "nos."

"MY NO MEANS NO." I pull this card when they trample on one of my non negotiables. Or when they push me over the edge.

No, means NO.

(I wrote another blog post titled YES. You'll have to check it out.)

 

No's on the receiving end are not fun. They suck.

But they're necessary. They're just as important to our development as human beings as the yeses. We need boundaries. We need limits. We need (constructive) criticism. We need DISCIPLINE. We need to learn that the world doesn't revolve around us and we can't have everything we want.

This morning my oldest son tagged along with me to the grocery store. He asked to go look at the toys (Shocker.) We were actually looking for a birthday present for a friend. He, being seven, forgot about the mission and got a case of the "I wants!" He wanted a $2.50 piece of junk Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figure.

I said no. (Shocker.)

I told him: I'd already treated him to a donut. We didn't have a lot of money to spend and instead of that cheap, crappy toy, I'd rather buy him and his brothers popsicles--something that every one enjoys.

He got angry. He shut down and pouted. In his brain I was the meanest Mom in the whole wide world and I was totally trampling on his right as a human being to get everything he ever wanted on impulse. Gosh!

See? No's suck. My son is not wrong.

 

When was the last time you were told, "No?"

 

Your contract is not being renewed.

You were not chosen.

You are too drunk to drive.

I don't want to be friends anymore.

We've decided to go with someone else.

You can't have children.

The cancer has come back.

You're just not right for the part.

I think we should see other people.

I'm sorry, there was no heartbeat.

We didn't get the house.

I didn't get the promotion.

Your card has been declined.

 

What do you do when you're told NO?

Do you pout? Do you shut down? Do you huff and puff? Do you curse the one who told you "No?"

Or, do you look to the one who put the NO in place?

"God, you must know best."

I cannot see the big picture. It hurts and I don't like it one bit, but I will trust you.

 

The NO.

It's just as important was the YES.

It should not stunt us. It should not cause us to recoil. We should look to it as safety net. No's and Yeses are all blessings. Often in disguise.

 

When I tell my children NO, this is what I am saying: "MY NO means NO. It may mean never. It may mean no, not right now. It's not that I don't want you to have fun. I don't want you to hurt yourself or hurt anyone else. I don't want you to be spoiled or feel entitled. I want you to learn it's not always all about you. My no is good for you in the long run. Trust me. I love you. This NO now may be teaching you to appreciate the YES that's coming up next."

 

The Bible says:

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  HEBREWS 12:5-11

 

And, my favorite PROVERB of all time: "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid." (Proverbs 12:1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink slime.

People.

Remember that Depeche Mode song People Are People?

"People are people, so why should it be--that you and I should get along so awfully?"

I've lived in a small town for almost 4 years now, aside from the INSANELY CRAZY, MEAN people who blow up the news and our Facebook feed, I'm finding more and more that people don't respect people anymore. We are as unappreciated and disposable as toilet paper.

You would think, living in a small Texas town (think sheltered, Bible belt) where everyone claims to love Jesus, that love would ABOUND. Ummm, not so much.

It's as crazy as that notification from CNN that popped up on your phone.

I just read about a friend (Lord, thank you that I can call her my friend, because she's all sorts of AWESOME) and her stepping in to lend a kind word, understanding, and aid to a homeless couple being accosted at the local grocery store.

 

God has given me a heart for the homeless. Call it the transient. The down and out. I can't NOT see them.

It began about 10 years ago when I worked for Montblanc. You know the pen company? Yeah, I was the visual merchandiser. I had to waltz in and out of fancy, hoity-toidy stores and peddle overpriced writing utensils. It was fun for a while, but my heart just wasn't in it. I was more concerned about the homeless guy in Houston who held the door open for me at Starbucks. The same guy. Every single time I went there. They were everywhere. It's like God was saying, "LOOK."

My next job I worked at a homeless shelter. In the kids area. I was a teacher.

It was my favorite job to date. Probably ever. (besides being a mom.)

 

Sometimes I offer help. Sometimes I give them money. Sometimes, all I can do is drive by and pray. (I have plenty of stories to tell you, but I'm going to focus on the most recent.)

Friday night, my husband came home late. He just wanted some comfort food. I ran to Taco Bell.

As I paid and left the drive thru, I saw a man sitting there in the warmth of the convenience store light.

I had $20 bucks cash in my wallet. Purposely pulsed to help someone. I never carry cash. I just forget. At my last transaction I had got money to help someone in need.

I hopped out of my minivan and spoke to the man. I handed him the $20. "Hi, I thought you might need this." His face brightened and he opened up. His name was Timothy. He's 56. He used to work construction before falling off a roof and breaking his back. He gets a disability check of about $740 a month. So, he could work, he could find a place, with low rent, but has no idea where to start. Where to turn.

For someone who has nothing, it's all pretty daunting.

What do you need right now? "I would love a shower and a new pair of jeans from Walmart."

"Ok. Hop in."

I took him to Walmart and bought him jeans. I brought him to my home, explained to my husband that I was helping a "stray"--which he completely understood--he has lived with me long enough to just smile and nod. I am educating my children on helping people in need. I told them to address him as Mr. Tim.

Before he showered, I offered to wash his clothes. I made him a sandwich. After his shower we sat at my dining room table and talked . . . until midnight.

I took him back to the Exxon and promised to return his clothes and backpack at 8:00 am . . . .

 

Has your Facebook feed been making your heart hurt lately?

From the violence and destruction, murder and rape, to the hopelessness and despair--it's fueled by so much hate, anger and rage.  I mean honestly. are you not affected? It's crazy, right?

And, it's increasing.

 

I just saw a post where homeless people were reading mean tweets about being homeless. Y'all. Awful. Just awful. Every single person was driven to tears. So. Mean. And, why? Why do we hate people so much?

My family had a Ghostbusters marathon the other night. Ghostbusters 1 was awesome. Still so good. My kids ask to listen to Ray Parker Jr. in the car over and over. Ghostbusters 2 is by far the lesser movie. Not as good as the first. But, do you remember all that pink slime?

In Ghostbusters 2 the evil dead were channeling themselves through pink slime flowing in the sewers under NYC. It responded to human emotion. If you yelled at it, it would get angry and destroy everything in its path. If you sang Jackie Wilson's Your Love to it, it would dance. And be full of brotherly love. Cue the Statue of Liberty.

I think Ivan Reitman was onto something: There is a nasty, smelly pink evil slime running under our country, our cities and towns and dare I say it: through our veins???

This is our problem: We don't love people.

Just for the fact that they are people.

People are more important that animals. People are more important than stuff and things. People are more important that money.

Why are people important?

BECAUSE THEY WERE MADE IN THE IMAGE OF THE LIVING GOD.

That's why.

 

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:35-40

 

 

 

Fired.

yep. (Can you hear Donald Trump's voice from the Apprentice???)

Canned. Axed. Let go. Expelled. Sacked. Released. Laid off. Replaced.

Rejected.

I got fired two weeks ago. Sounds horrible. Feels horrible.

This is not my first rodeo. I know that ultimately I will look back and this will be THE BEST THING EVER to happen to me, but it takes a while to work through the muck.

Feels about as horrible as the headlines.

Trump. Hillary. Baton Rouge. Dallas. Turkey. Nice. Orlando. I could go on and on and on. . .

The world is spinning out of control. Like CRAZYTOWN spinning.

As of two weeks ago, my life, my world is now spinning. Yes, I got fired. (No, I'm not the only one who's ever been let go.) But, the ramifications of this particular firing run deep and wide. It's going to be a MAJOR change for me and my family. I'm currently a little preoccupied with it. Yet, I glance at the headlines on my phone early in the morning and I'm humbled--it pales in comparison to what other people are dealing with.

The thing that ties all these events--these people (including me)--together is this: they BELIEVED they were right. They BELIEVED that were doing the right thing. They believed killing people would solve the problem. They believed using brute force to achieve a desired outcome was the best choice. They believed lying, cheating, covering up, speaking without a filter was the best way to go. The person who fired me thought it was the best course of action.

Unfortunately, what they believed was a lie.

When we believe lies, what we believe is wrong. And wrong is wrong.

That's a very unpopular notion in the world today. "Don't tell me I'm wrong!" "You can't tell me what to do!" "I know what I'm doing" "I can handle this!" No one wants to be wrong. No one wants to be held accountable for being wrong, thinking wrong, acting wrong or believing wrong.

What I know is this: Jesus is the truth.

HE IS IT.

Everything else is wrong--because everything else is built on a lie.

Don't agree with me? Don't believe me? That's fine. I completely respect that.

LISTEN: I'm a sinner. I get it wrong OFTEN. Let's just say I'm a professional.

But, when I get it wrong, I hightail it to the ONE who is right, and that's God. Yep, the Good Lord Jesus Christ. I go to him and confess that I messed up. I ask Him to forgive me and ask His help to repent and make what I've done wrong right again. Because, all that matters to me is to be right with HIM. (And, my family and friends, of course--but it begins with HIM.)

I got fired because I told the truth. I knew it in my heart and I acted on it.

I will never be ashamed of that.

It came out of genuine love for the people and the organization I loved to be better.

I'm sorry there are several people out there acting out of hate and anger instead of love. People saying awful things and doing awful things because of their pride and need to be in control and have the power.

Again, don't agree with me?

Well, all I can say is: If you have any desire to find the truth--no app on your phone, no degree, no paycheck, no person on earth will be able to give you what you're searching for.

You're going to have to get alone and get real quiet and maybe crack open that dusty Bible and get toe to toe with God and say, "Lord, I wanna know. Show me."

Another synonym for FIRED is FREED.

I am free indeed.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

Half.

It's July the 6th.

Six months ago my good friend suddenly lost her husband. It's crazy to think it has been half a year.

HALF a year.

I had so much hope that this year was going to be different and drama free--but actually, just more challenges have continued to pile up. Spring got here and it was way heavy.

The end of the school year was very stressful. I was wiped out. Completely pooped. I figured--it's perfectly acceptable to just DO NOTHING for a spell. You know, catch my breath. It's summer, man.

Hence, this blog has been silent this summer.

 

What I failed to realize, though, is when we let our guard down--even for a second--it leaves a crack, a space, a window, or door wide open for the dark side to slither in.

I've allowed The Sloth, The Glutton and The Distraction to enter my home and set up camp in the living room.

Without even blinking, I've wasted the summer away sleeping, sitting, drinking and drinking and eating and eyes glued to a screen. Now, doing those things in moderation--with a forcible grip on the reigns isn't so bad. It's when you let go completely of the reigns. . . when you relinquish the control. That's where I am.

I'm out of control. My kids are out of control. (Not in a terribly bad way to most on the outside looking in, but to this God-fearing Mama--I'm way out of line.)

 

So. What's the next step?

Well, it begins with remembering that all is not lost. All is not ruined. You know, that glass half full thing: half empty or half full? There is still HALF a year. There is still HALF of the summer left. My God--the ONE I cling to--is in the business of making all things new. Turning it all around. Fill up my glass God!!!

And the most glorious thing: it can start anytime. Like 5:47 on July the 6th.

 

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."  ISAIAH 43:18-19

 

hungry.

I've been rather quiet here.

Struggling to write--to write what I need to. To write something good.

Truth be told, all is well. Truly.

But--really good stuff is missing.

Tell me something good.

 

We are always trying to better our little cosmos of family life and friends.

But out there--out in expanse of the universe and public space--how we treat outside people, our workspace and environment, where we shop and congregate, where we spend time apart from those closely tied to us--how do we act? Are we being good?

In our work, neighborhoods and community--that's where we are called to be good. Like, it's expected that we are good. We hope we are doing good. We hope that others are striving to be good.

Yes. Good. I'm all over that.

But, what happens when it's so NOT GOOD.

(Why is there so much ugly bad out there?)

 

I have found myself watching way too many videos on The Dodo of animal rescues. Animals are neglected, or rejected; and observant, loving people step in to help. Find me a mangy dog that gets a makeover and I'm jelly and weeping.

Or stories of homeless people, where good people are trying to intervene and change their future. Kids raising money to help kids with cancer. Really old people running marathons. People banding together to recuse and offer help to others when tragedy strikes. Countless stories of unwanted pets finding forever homes. I'm a sappy mess.

MAN, I AM SO UNBELIVABLY HUNGRY FOR GOOD.

(Aren't you?) (Like, famished?)

Just good. Good stuff. Good people. Good hearts who take action. Good people that take the time. People that put others first. People looking out for others and looking to see the best in this crazy world.

Right?

Yes, please.

 

I've been really preoccupied with the yucky stuff. (Hence, the blog silence)

YUCKY PEOPLE STUFF.

People thinking badly. People behaving badly. People not taking the time to find the good. HUNGRY PEOPLE. Who act out when they are hungry.

I'm praying. Like, really praying. IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.

Trying to take action. Trying to keep my view above and beyond myself.

I'm so hungry. Starving.

With all my might I'm trying to point people to the buffet. The freaking FREE buffet.

 

It's there. Here. Can you see it?

FOOD. SATISFACTION. FULLNESS. For your soul. For your body and mind. For you. It's good. It's really good.

Good food.

Won't you come along side me to find the good???

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6


How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103


“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:34-40

 

 

 

 

bent low.

I did not intend to take the entire week off.

But, it happened.

I was forced.

Sunday, we decided to forgo church. It was a beautiful day, the boys were getting along--it was delightful. "I'll just tidy up a bit." I began to sweep and saw some dust bunnies beneath a small side table. I bent low to scoot the table over.

*#@*%@#$*&*@#!&*#!!!!!!!

(translation: I killed my lower back and made it very angry with me) I've never felt pain like this. Having three babies was a walk in the park.

A slightly OCD, ADHD, neat freak mom with three little boys doesn't do well being forced to sit.

Sit and stay and not move and not pick up those Legos and cars and half eaten crackers and rumpled socks and that stick laying on the floor. Not clear surfaces and get snacks and make beds and fold laundry and clean coffee grinds out of the sink. Not walk, not bend, not anything.

This was not on my to-do list for the week.

 

My first thoughts were all about me: Really? How stupid! Who is going to care of everything? What about the kids? What about work? How am I going to pee?!? How is the world going to survive with out me?!?!?!?!

Me, me me. As it should be--pain usually turns our focus inward.

But now, four days later--my focus has settled on where it should be. Not on me--but outward. On God. On my husband--who bathed me, helped me on and off the potty and didn't blow up the house. On my children--who are more than capable. On others--who stepped in and up to help, for which I am so grateful.

It's hard to remember, and to accept, that everything happens for a reason.

Have you ever been bent low?

 

Let me tell you a story: Way back in 1991, I tore my ACL playing high school softball. I had orthoscopic surgery, but as time went on, my knee was still giving me problems. So, in 1997, the doctor said it was probably time for reconstructive surgery. Since I was in college, the best time to schedule it was during the Christmas break. I could stay with my parents during my recovery and they could give me the help I would require to heal properly.

I was on crutches for two weeks, physical therapy for another two. My mom had to help me in and out of the shower. Quite humbling. My life was on pause for a month. No biggie, let's watch lots of movies. Plus, my mom is a great cook.

So, I had been bent low, yet, I didn't know the real reason.

It was Christmastime, so I went to church with my parents, a lot. I had no choice--I was on crutches, remember? There were carols, it was dark and it smelled like pine. A man got up to speak and tell his story. I cannot tell you what was on my mind just before, but what happened after he spoke, changed my life forever. He was all blah, blah, blah, and then I heard, loud and crisp and clear, "Jesus died for me and he died for YOU."

*@#!&%$#@!*!#$%@*!! There is was again. That sharp pain. This time it was in my heart. I heard. I understood. I wept. I believed. I was born again that moment. Forced down low. Unable to take care of myself. I hobbled out of that church a new, different person.

It took a while to shed the skin of my old self. I'm still shedding. Sloughing off the old bits and dust that keeps me from being the best I can be. And every now and then, God helps that shedding process--ushers it in--forces us to become low.

I was born and raised in the Episcopal church. My home town church was the Good Shepherd. I remember seeing images on a banner of a shepherd with a little lamb draped atop his shoulders. I read once, not sure where: A shepherd's job was to protect his flock. He would use any means necessary to help keep them safe. If there was a wayward lamb that constantly strayed, the shepherd would gently break its leg. The shepherd would hoist the lamb upon his shoulders and carry him. The lamb was forced to give up his will and depend on his master.

I was that lamb. The Creator of the universe forced me to bend low. Whoa.

Are you being forced to bend low?

Is it physical? Emotional? Financial? Relational?

It's tough. I know. I had plans for this week. A husband and kids and a household to run. A job and errands and stuff that needed to be done.

When the pain subsides, stop and look. Listen. Why?

There's a reason you've been forced to bend low.

Hang on. Hold on.

Sit and stay.

I'm right there with you

Love, Meredith

 

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”  JOHN 10:1-18

 

 

Three for Three. Or otherwise known as, MAN: my three year old is doing things and saying things and being things that won't happen in our lives again. This ain't so bad.

My titles thus far have been relatively short. So, it's ok that this one was really long, obtuse and all over the place.

It's Easter y'all.

We had a man down today. My oldest had fever. So, I woke up my husband, told him he was going to church with the two littles. I'm still in my pajamas and haven't showered. I took a two-hour nap. I sewed on a button. Folded a load of laundry. Made a proper brunch: pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Threw away candy my kids just won't eat. I put unfinished homework in my 1st grader's folder--with a sticky note that said,  "Sorry, we'll try better next week."

Days that seem like nothing much happened.

But, folks: something always happens.

There is never a day where nothing happens.

My children are growing right before my eyes. We are done, three is enough. They are all walking the steps to adulthood, and then, there are no more.

I say: It's perfectly acceptable that I have no clue what I'm doing. I go in with a plan and completely wing it.

That's why Jesus came, I think. To show us that THE END is never really the THE END.

We think it is, but it's not.

 

Yes. This life is incredibly hard. I find myself saying more and more to God: "Really? That's what you're going with?"

My oldest can read, handle himself out and about in the neighborhood and already knows all the dirty words.

My middle can dress himself and pretty much take care of himself.

My little needs to get our of diapers. But, in all other areas--we're good.

My husband. Well, I need to focus on him more. In my defense: there are three little boys who kinda rule the roost.

All is well.

Really.

It is.
 

So, close your eyes. Be quiet and thank someone. There is so much to be thankful for.

 

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

Luke 24: 1-8

 

Broken.

Broken.

What pops into your mind?

Ruined? No good? Trash? Not useful? Need to buy a new one?

 

I had a mini epiphany this morning: the most broken people I know have been teaching me the most valuable life lessons.

They have been challenging my luke-warm salvation and forcing me to answer hard questions about myself.

A four year old with maybe ADHD and somewhere on the autism spectrum.

A young widow.

A friend with extensive health issues.

A vibrant divorcee trying to pick up the pieces.

Little boys who are the victims of their parent's drug abuse.

A single mom who drives an awesome 70's van and works her fingers to the bone.

A stray feline with a missing ear tip.

A mother watching her child die.

 

It's not the perfect people who teach me. The ones who look like they have it all together. The ones with the makeup and clothes and hair done. The ones who say, "Oh, we're good! How are you?"

It's the ones who ask me to help them button their pants and put on their backpack. The ones who call me, sobbing needing solace. The ones with slept on, gray showing, messy hair and dirty clothes. It's little boys who smell and want to eat me out of house and home. A cat who has me at her beckoned call. It's people who need me when I'm not ready. People who challenge me to drop everything. Challenge me to think differently. To see things in a different way.

 

My most favorite thing about God's economy is the backwardness.

Up is down. Left is right. First is last. Broken is best.

God can only use people and situations that are broken.

I heard a saying once: Your heart must break, so that God can fall in.

I am proudly broken. I'm so blessed by my broken friends and acquaintances.

 

As we ponder Jesus's death and RESURRECTION this Easter--will you pray for a precious mother tonight who has lost her 12 year old daughter? Please lift up this family in your prayers.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

 

 

 

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

PSALM 51:1-17

 

I just realized that I am in a funk.

Call it a little depressed, a little lonely, a little out of sync, a lot lazy, a lot of questioning my current trajectory.

I have three boys. One 3 and clingy. One 5 and just plain mean, most of the time. One 7 going on 14. And he's already so broooooooody. (Why such angst at seven years old?)

I'm married, teach preschool, attempt to exercise, pine to make art, run the household, feed everyone, pay the bills, do all the laundry, the dishes and wait on the cat hand and foot. Mildly busy. Not overscheduled. Just the day to day groundhog day.

After work and school, we walk in the door. Home. I should feel great. GREAT, right?

But, for a long while now, the 3 o'clock hour has haunted me. I basically have anxiety attacks. At 3 o'clock. I'm serious. Serious anxiety.

(and, yes, I'm already taking "something for that.")


Life for us in general has been pretty messy. And, it's nothing big, just stuff. I've not been my best. I'm a sub-par wife and mother these days. Too many days. Being dragged by the waves of normal, everyday life. I have not been using my manners. I have not been on my best behavior.

I sometimes like my husband. He's a good guy. Really he is. Really. He is. I mostly like my kids. They are funny, smart, creative and cute. But, they drive me insane. Cray cray. Nutso. Hearing the word, "Mom" makes me want to run and hide. I love my cat. But, she's crazy too. There is truly no earthly reason for me to be blue. No reason for despair. No real reason for the funk. I'm ridiculously blessed.

I love who I used to be. The different ages and stages. I loved where I lived. Where I was born and raised. I love how I used to look. My body, face and hair--from seasons and past time and . . . I love what I used to do: Girl Scout. Artist. Middle school art teacher. Pet sitter. Girlfriend. Friend. Sister. Volunteer. Intern. Visual merchandiser. The things I've done for money. The things I've done for experience and knowledge. The things I've done where I took awesome risks. The things I regret.

And that's it: it's me. I cannot place the blame with a person or thing.

I AM WHAT IS WRONG.

(ever felt that way?)

 

Here's the deal: I have strayed. Since I've known God, I've gotten real complacent in my life with Him. I didn't mean to. Totally didn't intend to. Never thought I would.

I think it seems a lot farther to me than it does God. In church yesterday, I truly saw how huge the gap for me was. So, therefore, I go back to Psalm 51. I'm looking at what's wrong and putting a name to it. I'm intentionally going to make different choices, take a different path. I have to. Or, the 3 o'clock hour will just get darker. Uglier.

Lord, I really don't like where I'm headed.

I'm returning to your promises.

All I really want to do is please you. My husband. My children. My family and friends. I just want to be the ME you have always desired. And, I'm realizing that I'm not me lately. You know what is wrong with me. I give it all to you--because YOU know what to do with it all. Help me. Please help me, Lord.

Please forgive me. I don't know who I really am anymore. Complete mistake. But, I know that you know. And that's alright. I know you know how to get me pointed back in the right direction.

It takes just a sip and a prayer.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

 

 

 


 

Heartburn.

It's been over a month since I've written a post.

I keep waiting for the right moment. The inspiration.

It's almost peaked, several times. I jot down notes on sticky notes. Attempt to sit down and life goes off.

I feel the pressure to write all the time. I just pause for discernment and want everything to be genuine, so I try not to rush the process.

Is it too much about me? Does it need to be more about God? More focused on motherhood and marriage? Ugh. Seriously, what should I write about?

I haven't been blogging long. 

 

I do know that I'm looking at this calendar year so far and I'm like: what? Really? 

Things are so odd. My children are changing so rapidly--I'm caught off guard. My marriage feels like I look over and see myself and my husband: stuck on a boat. We've got on our life jackets and we're paddling. But, the rapids keep coming, so there's not much time for chit chat. He's over there manning his side of the boat. And I'm maning my side. 

My job is the tire on my car: there's a hole in it. With the changing pressure of the weather, it starts to deflate. I just pump it back full of air. It's fine, gets me where I need to be. Only to see it lose air, again and again. The outside world is a circus. You know there is a net to catch the trapeze artist when she falls--but you gasp anyway. I'm clinging to that life jacket.

I get heartburn. 

I take medicine for it everyday.

When I don't take it, I can totally tell the difference. 

When I bend over i feel the burn. Hot. In my throat.

It catches me off guard. Uncomfortable. 

 

I pine for things.

Financial security. Weight loss and athleticism.

A passionate marriage. Enthusiastic parenting.

Artistic release. God's providence and the feeling of "knowing it."

I make resolutions. Restitutions. Lists. Write journal entries and blog posts and monologues and statuses on Facebook.

I pray and breathe and wish for the same things over and over and keep the same habits and can't slay my dragons and the tire is still flat and the paints and brushes sit in the closet and my kids watch way too much Kid's YouTube and I'm trying to figure out what makes my husband happy--really happy, and I have no clue and the waves are spraying and I'm totally soaked and I'm looking at my friends and family and I'm dreaming into the distance: be still.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  Romans 7:15-20

I, like Paul, have heartburn.

I must change. To reach my perceived state of happiness--I must change. But, I know that if I fail, there is grace. God knows what's inside me. He knows my heart. So, whatever I do: fail or otherwise, I am still loved. 

 

It's ridiculous.

So. I am trying to change--those things that won't let go. Those things I know I need to conquor. To be truly happy. Yes?

I've already got joy, so I'm good.

But, what level is above that? I want that.

God's ultimate. Uber. Me. Doing things. Changing things.

Yes, me.

 

 

 

 

 

new.

I used to love thrifting and going to garage sales.

My favorite store in Dallas was called Junkadoodle. Think vintage, funky finds meets flea market meets estate sale. Most of my pre-kid disposable income was spent there.

New to me. Trash to treasure.

There's something to finding something broken and making it new. Or better yet--transforming it into something you never knew it could be.

I have a friend who is living this--and I'm so inspired by her.

Like my last post on change, she is being forced to adapt to an extreme shift in her life. She just got divorced. She didn't see it coming. She didn't want it. And, it was totally not her fault.

Instead of becoming bitter and sullen and all that negative stuff, she is reinventing herself. Making something beautiful out of something very broken.

It's awesome to witness.

 

The year is still very new. I'm combing through what is broken, or dead, or dusty, or used in my life. What do I need to drop? What do I need to take on? What needs attention?

I read somewhere that if you write down your goals, plans and intentions--they are more likely to come to fruition . . . So, this is my offering.

 

Living in a world with three young boys--life moves pretty fast. For the last seven years, there's been little breathing room. I have gotten lost. Who I was, what I did, what I wanted to be. Now that they are getting older and slowly becoming more self-reliant and self-sufficient, I've noticed moments lately where I'm actually--dare I say BORED. Time to fill. But, with what?

Oh, my gosh! I have a moment! How should I fill it? Should I do chores? Should I relax? Should I do something I've been meaning to do for years and years? Read a book? Empty the dishwasher? Work on the baby books that have been sitting in the closet? Paint a picture? Clean out a closet? Go scoop poop in the yard? Write a blog post? Fold the laundry? Give myself a pedicure? Exercise? Have a snack? Floss my teeth? Read the Bible? Maybe I'll just take a gander at Facebook? Oh. Ah. Yeah, the moment is gone.

The realization is that the moments for JUST ME are happening more often and for longer periods of time. Usually. (I know I've just completely jinxed myself.)

I can't tell you how many times I've had an HOUR or more to myself and started hyperventilating trying to figure out what to do and get it all done in the allotted amount of time. . . . It's almost too stressful to HAVE time.

 

Knowing that this year has gifted me with a little more time, this is what I'm working on:

Washing my face on a regular basis.

I know, I know. Most of you are like, DUDE. Ew. That's gross. But, in the last seven years, I've barely worn makeup, (because who had the time?) much less washed my face at night. Unless I had on mascara, not washing my face allowed me to go to sleep 5 minutes early. And, trust me, once my littles are down for the count, I am too.

Doing more art.

I'm a former middle school art teacher. Doing art, just for the sake of doing it, just because it makes me happy--has been drowned out by lack of time and space and money. Having to work, having kids, having to do art for other people--it can suck out every ounce of creativity.

Reading books.

Sounds silly for someone who is WRITING. But, as a child I hated to read. Especially when there were no pictures, geez! I am almost too ADD for reading sometimes--still today. It's hard to slow my focus and read each word. I didn't learn to like reading until almost post-college. And then, having kids made the reading stop all together. I like to read at night before bed and you can't do that with an infant sleeping in the room. Plus, my husband knows that I am able to read exactly 1.5 pages before zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. . . .

Exercising and eating better.

I've been trying to this for God knows how long. Lack of money has been the major factor. Face it: healthier food costs more. It just does. And I'm feeding a whole house-load of picky boys. We had to cancel our membership at the YMCA for various reasons so, having time to workout UNINTERRUPTED BY LITTLE BOYS is hard. I've tried for almost a whole year--waking up at 4:30am to go walk/run the neighborhood in the dark alone just isn't all that appealing. So, I'm attempting to change the way I think about fitness and eating and instead of trying to make myself into something I'm just not, I'm trying to see what I can do to meet my fitness goals while being completely me, enhancing the good I already do. I'm trying to see my post-three-children-forty-something body in a new way too.

Be nicer to my husband.

I will fully admit it: my husband has received the bottom of my barrel (of monkeys.) For the past seven years it's been all about the kids, my job, the house, the laundry, the this, the that and whathaveyou. When I don't have a child pulling on my leg, I'm going to intentionally try to be with my husband when he is home. Sit near him. Talk to him. Hold his hand. Hug him. Let him know he's still really important to me. It's hard to ignore the circus, but I'm sure gonna try. (As I'm in the office typing this, the boys have turned on the vacuum cleaner and I'm hearing screams of delight and "Oh man! You have got to try this!" I'm scared to go see what they are doing.) (I'm not kidding.)

So. Amy, this is for you, my friend. Let's direct our attention to the already good things in us and make them better. Let's stretch ourselves and take some risks. Let's turn some trash into treasure!

Carpe Diem. Seize the day! Capture the moment. Seize it and make it yours. Make it count.

 

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  Revelation 21:5

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43: 1, 18-19

 

 

I totally forgot where I was going with this.

This post has undergone a complete metamorphosis the more I put it off . .

So, I was on track to write a poignant little ditty about the new year and the musings of Pee Wee Herman, but like most well intentioned things--LIFE got in the way.

Plans changed in the blink of an eye.

Forgive me for the silence.

Just when I caught my breath from all that was 2015 . . .

 

Six days into this new year my dear friend lost her husband. In the span of a few hours, she lost her best friend and her boys lost their dad.

Our little church is in tremendous flux. People are leaving, people are retreating and the future is quite uncertain.

Life at our home is in transition as all three boys are stepping through the door of a birthday--which ushers in growth and change. They are acting different and becoming different.

I'm here trying to roll with the punches.

And here I wake up and David Bowie died? What!?

Trying to figure out my response and responsibility in it all . . .

 

Change. Why is it so dang hard? I mean, we know it's coming. It's inevitable. It can happen in a nano-second or slowly, right before our eyes. Change causes us suffer. We hate it. It's painful. The outside change, whatever it is; forces US to adapt.

If you think about it, change happens EVERY SINGLE time things don't go as planned. And that's often.

We must change our mindset, our perspective, our direction.

I just watched A Year In Burgundy with my husband. It was lovely. The way those winemakers love their lives, their craft. I've heard it said before, that one winemaker restated: "Vines have to suffer in order to produce good wines." The vines must struggle. That way they dig deeper. They are more firmly rooted.

To what are you rooted? How far? How firmly? How deep?

 

I'm taking inventory.

Who am I? Who is God? Who are my people? What should I do with all of this? What time is it?

 

Well, here's what I DO know:

1. "Good morning, I'm heeeere"--Pee Wee Herman speaking to his bike in Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

I am going to wake up every day and say, "Good morning Jesus--I'm heeeere." I am on board. I'm your girl. Help me to do what you want me to do. Help me to love my people. Help me to not make a total mess of things. (Or be an ass.)

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” and I said, “Here am I. Send me!”  Isaiah 6:8

2. I am going to trust that God is who He says He is, and that He will make good on his promises.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

3. I'm going to get rooted. It's time. I'm forty. I've aged well--a fine wine. It's time to change: so I become my real self. My best self.

Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?  Psalm 118:5-6

 

I guess I got where I was supposed to go with this. May you greet today with a smile, breathe deep and exhale the goodness of your life today. May you look heavenward and know: all is well.

Meredith

P.S. Pray for the Wyatt family for the foreseeable future: Carrie, Brayden and Colton. Thank you.

 

***Share me today with someone who might need it!

 

 

So. What do I do now?

I will be 41. It will be 2016.

I am a wife, mother to three young boys.

Republican. Mostly? Do I even really know?

Daughter, sister. Sister in Law. Daughter in Law. Cousin.

FRIEND. Worker. Servant. Model.

Teacher. Referee. Doctor. Therapist. Life coach. Cook. Supply and demand analyst.

How far must I go?

Fitness. Early. Sacrifice. Choice.

When is it wrong to ask for more?

I'm Queen of the mundane: Slayer of the Day to Day.

I am always questioning the road I'm traveling on.

Long days. Fast years. 

When will I actually get some time that is mine?

Jeremiah 29.

Trying to read. Attempting to beat the alarm.

Keeping up with it all.

The dishes are done. Fold the laundry. Vacuum it once more.

Bend down to pick up one last thing.

At least I know which direction I'm heading.

Drop it. Follow ME.