What I Have to Say Now…

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It’s been awhile since I posted anything, but it’s like I tell my friends, I write a lot.  I just don’t show anybody. I called my blog “What I Have to Say” because I’ve always wondered why anyone would want to hear what I have to say? I have been wanting to write about this for awhile, but I’ve been reluctant, and some emotional healing had to occur first, but I’m ready.  So here’s what I have to say now…

I’ve been “reading” some good articles and some not-so-good articles lately and I feel the time has come for me to publicly confess something.  I’m a headline reader. I don’t actually (truthfully) “read” most articles.  Brett will come home from work and he will ask if I heard about this or that, and I will have to admit to him, “Well…I…um…saw the  headline!”  Then I will ask, “So what happened?”  And I rely on him for the details. What’s even more fun is when I ask him if he heard about this or that and if he says no, I’m up a creek.  The headline is all I know, haha!   Not everyone’s account is objective, especially in today’s world, so we have to be careful whose account we trust.  Right now, honestly, I don’t trust anybody’s!

We are all so quick to formulate an opinion, and sadly, I sometimes form one based on a headline.  A headline!  No details, no facts, unless it says, “Man chews own foot off to get out of Congressional Sit-In.”  That is probably factual.  Haha.  But still.  We are so quick to say, “Why would Ivanka let her dad keep that orange hair?”  Or “She paid $25,000 for THAT”  Or on a more serious note, “What was that woman doing when her kid got into that gorilla enclosure?”  We all have an answer, don’t we?  Or at least most of us do anyway.  We all know what we would have done.  How we would have handled it.  And even in some cases, maybe we are right.  I mean $25,000 for a jacket?  A hideous one at that?? Nope.  I’ll buy a boat.  I’ll go to Hawaii.  Or Greece.  And I won’t dye my hair orangutan orange.  And if I do, it was accident.

Speaking of accidents, back in March, an accident occurred at my house involving one of our family dogs and my beautiful 4-year-old grandson, Grayson.  We were all here, all outside.  It was Good Friday, and we were about to hunt Easter eggs.  Don’t worry.  That’s all the details you’re getting. The only facts I will disclose.  Just a headline.  It entered my mind many times that people might wonder, “What was she doing that she let that dog bite her grandson?”  Normally, worrying about what others think would drive me into sheer panic attacks.  Isn’t it sad that in our world today, social media has created such monsters out of us?  That our first instinct is to want the details so we can form an opinion.  Or when anything happens in our lives that doesn’t portray the often “perfect” life we put out there for all to see, we are quick to feel ashamed or judged?  In all fairness, many true friends know the details.  But some were rubber-necking.  And I could tell the difference.

And quite possibly for the first time in my entire life, I truly did not give one fat, fuzzy pickle about what anyone thought. I cared about my grandson getting better, and not hurting.  I cared about 1 million and 1 other things, but that would disclose too many details, and I won’t go there.

But that’s what we want, isn’t it?  Details.  So we can form an opinion.  Maybe that’s why I am a headline reader.  I don’t want to form an opinion? (Yeah, right.)  Ignorance is bliss?  I don’t wanna know? I have bigger fish to fry?  I say we all be more careful about what we do read.  Read happy.  Read positive.  Read funny.  Read the Bible!  The world is heavy enough right now, at least for me, and the one and only infallible truth out there is the Word of God.  So I’ll stick to the headlines in the world, and try not to be of the world.  It may not help you, but it does me.  I’ve just felt personally touched by all the judgment, shaming, name-calling, and blah blah blah that I’ve been reading lately.  Maybe because of G’s accident, my hackles are up.  It’s fresh.  And I wanted to say it’s making me sad.

So here’s your happy:  My 3-tots enjoy swimming in our pool.  We do it a lot.  Every time G gets tired (after about 2 hours of swimming) he gets out of the pool, wraps himself in his Ninja Turtle hooded towel, puts on his Spiderman shoes, and tells me, “I’m done swimming.  My tummy is woggling.”  (He is hungry) So in we marched one day last week, and he pulled his swimsuit off, not two steps inside the back door, and I noticed his pearly white little booty cheeks (is there anything cuter?)  I said, “G, you’re getting so brown!”  He popped those blue/green eyes at me in utter disbelief and said, “I’m changing COLORS???”  I couldn’t answer him.  I couldn’t breathe.  Partly because I was laughing, but also because he takes my breath away…

Life has certainly taken some ridiculous, unexpected, not-great turns lately, since November really, for me and for so many of my family members.  It seems everywhere I turn, sadness looms.  So many headlines tell me immediately, “Don’t read this, it’ll depress the daylights outta ya.”  Why on earth would I want to read it?  I learned while G was recovering to focus on the good.  God had his hand in so many details of Grayson’s protection and healing, and that’s what we focused on.  I believe we ought to focus on those things, especially in times of trials, but why not also during every-day mundane, nothin’-special days (which I need more of, if anybody is listening)?  So much of what we stay in a tiz about is not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praise-worthy.  The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8 that we should think on these things.  Why, oh, why wouldn’t we?

 

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Am I the Only One Who…

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Sometimes I think about silly stuff.  Have you ever wondered whether you’re the only one in the world who does a certain thing or feels a certain way?  I do that a lot, and even though I know I can’t possibly be the ONLY one, it’s sometimes embarrassing, these things upon which I dwell!

Am I the only one who…

1.  Looks at women my age (48) and thinks to myself, “Oh, she’s probably mid-fifties or so.  I look younger than her…don’t I?”  Remember…these are women my age.  Or so I assume… 

2.  Watches beauty pageants and finds fault in the contestants!  “She’s a little on the hippy side!”  “Her face is kind of masculine,” or “I could have done a better solo than THAT!”  Or…”Those aren’t real!”  Be honest! ??

3.  Clips coupons and never uses them, and then gets really impatient when I get behind a “couponer” at Wal-Mart?

4. Sometimes lets the hair on my legs get so long it’s soft?

5.  Hears the conversations of strangers and has to bite my tongue to keep from interjecting some witticism or opinion?

6.  Has to go through Walgreen’s, oh, once a month or so, to buy deodorant because I’m pretty sure I put mine on at the house, but I honestly can’t remember?

7.  Waits to do the night-before’s dishes the next morning?  Sometimes two nights’ worth.  Sad face.

8.  Groups M&Ms by color and then eats them down to an even number, and then eats them till they are all equal in number?  And then I get really confused as to what to eat next so I pop all of what’s left into my mouth at once.

9.  Calls both my granddaughter and my dog by my daughter’s name?

10.  Is terrified of frogs?

11.  Hates purple?

12.  Buys a box of Whoppers and eats the whole box in one afternoon and then wonders why my blood sugar is off? 

13.  Completely relates to the word, “hangry?”

14.  Wishes I’d asked my grandparents more questions?

15.  Knows more about sports than many men?

16.  Tumbles the same load of clothes 6+ times before I finally fold it?  Then…lets it sit on the chair in my bedroom for a few more days before putting it away?

17.  Wonders what’s going on in far-away places while I sit in my porch swing in Oklahoma?  What must the seals in Antarctica be doing right at this very minute?  How about the children in Africa?

18.  Has texted someone and then answered myself?

19.  Doesn’t drink enough water because I hate taking the time to potty?

20.  Uses several dishes if I have to because I hate when my foods touch?

21.  Freaks out when spell-check corrects me and they’re wrong but I’m in such a hurry I hit “send” before I realize it?

22.  Gets mad at reality shows and swears I’ll never watch them again?

23.  Loves to root for any underdog team in any sport?

24.  Says I’m going to order something different at certain restaurants and then I order the same ol’ thing?

25.  Realizes way too often that I’m holding my breath?

I wanted to be light-hearted in the blog, as my first two were pretty serious!  And because I saved #25 for last, as it has been an issue with me lately, I’m going to breathe today.  Slow, in and out, full-belly breaths.  Life is beautiful! 

Because He Said So

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Unfortunately, I’m the type of person who might try something for the first time and if I’m not good at it, I’m done.  I played softball as a kid and started playing before I really remember starting.  So I don’t remember having to actually learn to play softball.  I do remember striking out as a small kid and wanting to cry. In my mind, I had done something that felt unforgiveable to competitive little me. I took golf lessons a few years ago and it became embarrassingly clear to the instructors that I was not one bit happy at not being good at it from the first swing of the club.  I kept telling them that if someone would just toss me that little white ball, I could send it flying.  My driver and several other clubs are somewhat askew from my beating them on the ground after missing the ball completely over the past few years.  That’s not even a bad shot–missing the ball entirely.  Oooooh, I get mad just thinking about it.  The old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” is wasted on me. I’m more of the mindset, “If you don’t succeed at first, you are gonna embarrass yourself.  Sit down or pick something else.”  Fortunately for God, He can put me through something as many times as He needs to before I become good at something.  Or at least better at something.  I can walk away from a golf course or sit in the cart with my arms crossed and my eyebrows furrowed, because face it, trying to hit a tiny white ball into a hole a hundred-plus yards away, well good grief is all I’m saying. 
But God…I can’t walk away from Him. I’ve read that the Bible says “Do not fear,” 365 times, one for each day of the year.  I’ve never counted, but if that’s true, it’s beautifully ironic!  But I would rather it said, “TRY not to be afraid.”  Cuz I can’t not be afraid, but I can sure try!  And that way, I’m being obedient!  I am really, really good at being afraid but trying not to.  “TRY not to be anxious about anything.”  I try!  I do!  Every day.  But God says, “DO NOT fear,” and “DO NOT be anxious about anything,” and “Cast all your anxiety on Him.”  Not “try,” but do it.  Or don’t do it.  Shoot.
So here I am again, trying to do something that I am not good at.  So I get frustrated, and if I had an anxiety-club I’d beat it against the ground in frustration. And if there were a worry-cart, I’d sit in it with my arms crossed and my eyebrows furrowed.  But see, the difference here is, I don’t have a choice.  If I want joy, I can’t be afraid.  If I want victory, I cannot fear. If I want to be obedient, I must cast my anxiety upon Him.  And why wouldn’t I?  I mean I sure don’t want it.  It’s a real pain and steals my joy.  If I want peace, I have to pray about everything and be anxious for nothing.  I can’t just “try,” I have to do it.  The best part of that is I CAN do it!  Because if I really believe what God says, that I can do all things through His Son, then I can do it.  When I doubt myself, I doubt God.  Ouch.  I doubt what He has said about who He is and what I can do with the Holy Spirit inside me.  Ouch. I’m sure my tendency to try something and then give up so easily when things don’t go my way does not please Him.  I have to learn to be willing to work on something I’m not good at until I’m, at the very least, better at it than I was.  And as I said earlier, I want to be GOOD at it. 
Proclaiming scriptures of triumph and victory over Satan’s arrows have been the most helpful thing to get me over anxiety and fear.  Imagine that?!?!  Jesus encountered Satan when He was on earth.  What did He do?  He quoted scripture and the devil fled. For we are told…”Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” Ephesians 6:12. So I know it’s the devil who makes me anxious and makes me think I won’t be able to defeat it.  It’s Satan who makes fear well up in me. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philipians 4:6-7. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am you God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-11. Jesus is the truth and the Word is the sword. I can swing a softball bat. I can halfway swing a golf club. I’m learning to swing that sword…and I will, eventually, become good at it! And no sitting in the golf cart…

Ever Tell God He’s Crazy?

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Ever tell God He’s crazy? I mean, how often do we really do that when we say no to something He asks us to do? Daily? Guilty. I’ve been telling God He’s crazy for awhile now, when He nudges me to write (and that’s just the beginning of my list). My thoughts are always the same. “What for?” “Who would want to read what I have to say?” “When do I have time to do that?” His answers seem to be, “Yourself and don’t worry about who else.” “I would read it.” and “Do it now.” But I always answer with my unbelief. So here I sit in front a computer, #notatechie, #gottalottolearnaboutblogging, thinking about other times I have said no, and in doing so, questioning God’s “OMNI.”
This takes me to the root of what I really believe. And I mean “really.” I read the Bible, go to church, do Bible studies, go to women’s conferences, etc. But when the going gets tough, do I really believe what God says? Kasey Van Norman, a speaker I heard at one of those conferences, said something that stung me deeply. She said it all started in the Garden when Satan said to Eve, and I paraphrase, “Did God really say that?” Cuz we all know if God said it, it’s the truth. So Satan asked Eve if God really said she would die if she ate the fruit. He made her question the, pardon the pun, “core” of everything she was asked to rely on by her Creator–just don’t eat the fruit. That’s what the devil does with me. Every day, he says, “Did God really say you should write? Good grief. What for? Who would want to read what you write? When will you find to time do that?” And then he gets a foothold on my weakness. And I cower. Like Eve, I question God and His infinite wisdom, as if I know better than He does.
I praise the Lord today because I know He wins. He seeks me out and lovingly pulls me from that foothold because He is mightier and stronger than anything that will ever grab ahold of me. He wins because He really did say, in Isaiah 41:13, “…I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting you go.” He said it. I believe it. I need to live my daily life as a victor over the evil one who whispers negativity and self-doubt into my ear. I am not a coward. I am not a loser. I win! I will write. I will share. Because God wins and I’m a sore loser anyway. See how nicely that all works out?
New answers to my questions: I am writing for myself–to overcome anxiety and self-doubt through a form of expression with which I am comfortable. I firmly believe He will use this to “carry on to completion” the good work He has begun in me (Phil 1:6). I’m writing because He’s telling me there might be someone out there who does want to read what I have to say. More power to y’all and welcome. And I’m writing because He gives me time and is going to teach me to make the time to do it. Besides, He asked me to…
Thank you Aunt Patsy, Sara McD, and Mandy Steward for your encouragement/inspiration.