Saturday, April 19, 2014

Springing Forth

I haven't written in a long time and I've missed my time away from this space. 

It's such a weird paradox, both wanting people to read what I write and yet freaking out when they do!

Part of me wants to be read - to be validated.  I want people to comment and interact with me.  To tell me if something I've shared was of benefit to them.

On the other hand, I started this whole process for myself, as sort of a journal.  I would never want someone I write about to be hurt or offended by something I said.

Like I said - such a strange paradox.  My journey to be more real and authentic is supposed to help me and potentially others, so I just want to make sure the opposite doesn't happen.

A very smart blogger friend told me before I started my blog, something like this: "it's easy to get caught up in the comments.  To yearn for that validation or to be hurt by criticism."

She was so right!

After I had been writing for awhile, it also became about accountability for me.
I was striving for authenticity because I feel so much like we walk around behind facades all day.  It seems often we say, "I'm fine," when really we aren't.  It seems so many issues could be easier to bear if we were honest and shared them with our friends, rather than putting on a pretty front that says we have it all together.

In fact someone said to me not to long ago, "you look so put together."
I almost fell out of my chair! It had been a long day, I was dead-tired, and certainly didn't feel "put together."

It's amazing what other people see, versus what we see, isn't it?

I've had a lot of time to think these past few weeks.

I've been sick (twice), as has my daughter, and my son also had the never-ending cold before I got it.  

I can't stand being sick; really I can't stand being anything less than 100% well.  I don't like to feel hindered.
If you don't already know, I'm a bit of a control freak by nature, so being "down and out" is just not cool!

In the meantime, though, Spring has SPRUNG in my neck of the woods.

In early March, I realized my live Christmas wreathe (well not alive anymore) was still on my front door.
When I went to take it down, I saw a nest - empty at the time - but I didn't want to move the newly built birdie home.

Good thing I didn't, because just a day or two later when I checked the nest contained 5 beautiful little blue eggs.
In a week or so, we had 5 little hatchlings! Not very attractive in my opinion, but it certainly is cute how they constantly have their mouths open for food.

And more recently, the birdies are growing, have more feathers, and are even singing in the nest each morning.  I'm pretty sure they are also learning to fly since I saw 2 birds fly away this morning when I approached the front door from inside.

And, yes, that is bird poop all over my front door!

You know, as a woman, wife, and mother, I get inspiration from other bloggers.  Some days, my spiritual cup is empty and I go read a favorite blog.  I get a real life, authentic story and scripture to go with it.

I need that!

Just like those hungry little baby birds, I think we should always be open to receiving inspiration, life lessons, and grace from other believers.

That's my hope with this blog; not that I can gain recognition but that someone might be filled by something that I share.

Not that I might be given glory, but that He would be glorified through me.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Would you rather...?

I like thought-provoking things: questions, conversations, Bible Verses, you name it!  If it makes me think, and even better, if it keeps me thinking, I love it!

A week or two ago, I attended a training event for leaders.
The ice breaker for the session included a fun game, one whose name you may recognize: "Would You Rather?"
Only these choices were a little more intense than some of the versions I've played before.

Some were things I've never thought about...

If you could have either of these superpowers, would you pick Invisibility or Reading Minds?

 {I chose invisibility}

Would you rather be really hairy or completely bald?

{I chose hairy, because there are more solutions for removing unwanted hair than adding back hair :-)}

Some were just hard to pick:

Would you rather ALWAYS have to say what YOU think or hear what other people are thinking but NOT saying? 
{Hmmm...still thinking on that one}

Some were easy:
Beach or Mountains? {Mountains for me!}

And then there was this one:
If you had to give up your sight or your hearing, which would you choose?

And I chose sight.

Why? Because without my hearing, I couldn't sing and I couldn't hear music.

And if it happened to me tomorrow, I would give up my sight in order to keep my hearing.  Does that make me weird? I don't know...

It's hard to imagine losing either of those senses.  I'm an artsy person.  I love pretty pictures, I like to draw, I love nature and sunsets and the colors of fall leaves.

But music speaks to me so deeply, that I can't imagine not having it and not being able to make it with my voice.

I spent a lot of time singing so far this weekend and I enjoyed it immensely.  If no one else ever wants to hear me sing, I choose to keep singing anyway.

If for no other reason, than to praise God.

And I can't give that up.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On Glancing Back but Moving Forward...

"Confession is good for the soul"
Isn't that what "they" say?

Now rest assured, I'm not about to unload a deep, dark secret on you! But I touched on something in my last post that has been on my mind ever since.

I described how a song made me feel when I sang it and I've mentioned many times that I cry easily.

I've somehow managed to hold myself together in front of my "newer" friends, especially at church.  There is definitely a FEAR attached to letting them see me cry.

I even got asked last Sunday after singing in the choir if I was ok.

And I said, "yep."

I said I was fine.

Not really a lie; not complete truth either.

Why do I do that?
Why do WE do that ('cause I know I'm not the only one)?

Somewhere along the way, I learned that when someone asks, "How are you?"

You respond with, "I'm fine; and you?"

A response which is built on assumptions:

  1. this person doesn't really care how I am; this is a custom - a nicety - a habit.  They don't really want to listen to HOW I am...tired, frustrated, upset with my kids, feeling insignificant...
  2. I can't really trust this person with the truth - MY truth.
  3. if I tell the truth and answer honestly, I'll be labeled an over-sharer or a downer. I've been accused many times of being an unhappy person. I'm a worrier, a thinker, an analyzer - but not generally unhappy.
  4. it's ok to lie because it's a little thing.   Not a good practice when you have "little people" watching your every move.  Learning from your actions as much as your words.
If we aren't living what we're teaching them, they won't respect us in the small matters, much less the big ones.

I've tried so hard to drop any and all facades.  To stop pretending. To be {REAL}.

I'm not quite there and I don't have all the answers.

Last week I used the word "NAKED" to describe to a friend how I feel standing front and center in the choir.  Trying to control my emotions with so many people watching.

This week, I've had several people comment, "like", "favorite", or simply tell me something about one of my blog posts.

And I feel naked.  And freaked out.

And a little like I want to delete every word I've ever typed here because they make me vulnerable.

But I will not.

I also said in my last post that I don't believe in coincidences.  I believe there is a reason and a purpose for everything.

Even the things I'm not so sure of.
The things that make me uncomfortable.

The mess I don't want to show...

I love this quote and pray He can turn my mess into something beneficial for someone else.  Not for my glory, but for His.

I believe He can!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Front and Center

I'm not a front-and-center kind of girl.  

Not by choice anyway.

what "HOME" looked like when we left for Atlanta last weekend...

But on Sunday mornings that's exactly where I am.  Front and center of the choir - it's sort of my assigned spot.

Yesterday, after my Pampered Chef cooking show, someone asked me if I had always been outspoken.
What I think she meant was "outgoing."

Outspoken? Yes - I am quite opinionated! Outgoing? Not at all! Shyness is definitely in my nature!

That's why Sunday mornings are such a weird place for me.

Wanting to sing, praise God, and lead the church in worship, but wanting no one to look at me while I'm doing it.  

Please know that I know that sounds crazy!

...the kind of "snow scene" we saw when we came back...

My primary form of worship is music.  Music speaks to me to more than any other medium and so I try to use it to speak to others.

I'm also a person who likes to know what's coming next.

So this morning when we sang this song, and I had no idea it was coming, well I almost lost it. Like, the ugly-cry-kind-of-lost-it.

I have LOVED this song since the first time I heard it several years ago.  Every time I hear it (or sing it), I struggle to keep from crying.

...random piles of dirty snow...

And pared with the other songs we sang and the message from the pastor, I knew it was all meant for me.

...a scene from our Atlanta stay...

I'd wanted to stay in bed this morning.

Pull the covers over my head and hide.  Definitely NOT go stand in front of a bunch of people and sing.

But I was supposed to be there.  I don't believe in accidents.

And that message had my name all over it (I'll share more about it later).

...this week? Temps in the 70's and flowers springing up! Crazy weather!

God used 4 songs, the pastor's sermon, and the Sunday school discussion to remind me of one very important thing:
My life is to be filled by, and FUL-filled by, HIM and only Him.

sweet doggie who we missed while we were away!

Not another person, not a circumstance, not a reward or an accolade. Not hugs and kisses, not snuggles with our fur-baby, not material possessions, or a pat on the back for a job well done.

HIM and HIM alone.

When am I going to get that through my head?