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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Following God - even when it's not convenient.

Lately, I have been pondering a thought that permeates all elements of my life, I just cannot figure out how to word in a witty and concise way. Maybe some of you can help.

I coach gymnastics in the evenings and we tell our girls that they will never get stronger without conditioning. We relate it to school and any thing else that we can think of to make them understand a little better. Since I coach a younger team, they always look to the big girls and want to do what they are doing. We tell them that if their arms are not strong enough to do a pull up and a push up, then they will not be strong enough to support them in a back handspring.

I have caught myself using this thought process in other parts of my life as well. If you want to improve at anything, you must, at some point, become uncomfortable. If you want to become a black belt at martial arts, you are going to have to work through the other belts first. You will have to get some bruises in order to learn how to block. In order to learn how to dive, you will have to learn how to drive your heels up and hold your body tight. You will go through several belly flops before you become strong enough to dive correctly.

In other words, you are perfectly prepared to do exactly what you are doing right now, but nothing else.

I had the chance this last week to reaaaaaalllllllly step out of my comfort zone. I had a casual friend that was in kidney failure. I went through the testing and ended up being a good enough match to be able to donate. On Friday, my friend went from kidney failure to having normal kidney function numbers. I am so so happy for him. Everyone is making a big deal about me donating the kidney, but to me, that was not the hard part. The hard part to me is the down time, not the surgery itself. I do not like being "weak." I do not like having to depend on others. Giving up a physical part is not hard, the vulnerability that comes with that is the difficult part.

However, if there was no "uncomfortableness," then how would that be serving others? It is easy to be generous if you don't have to go out of your way to do it.

This has been quite the spiritual journey for me. I have always thought of myself as somewhat caring, but have never really had to test it before. I really have had to trust that this is what God wanted me to do, even though it was definitely NOT convenient.

I have seen amazing spiritual growth in my husband as well. I have seen him step really out of his comfort zone and take the other family under his wing as well. He has risen above and beyond anything I have ever witnessed in him before.

My hope through this journey is that I will help myself to remember that God doesn't call the equipped, but equips the called and that he will prepare you for the journey He has for you - although there are no guarantees that the journey will be an easy one. I hope that my kids will learn this lesson in their life as well.

No one wants to push beyond the comfort zone, but that is where the greatest rewards are.

I just hope that I remember this as May rolls around and it is time for the Iron Girl Triathalon that I have signed up for. Anyone want to teach me how to swim?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Never Let Go

Well, I don't know if anyone really visits here anymore, so we will see I guess.

I had visions of grandeur of writing several posts a week over the summer, but obviously that did not happen.

So, I will do a short recap of what has gone on with us since my last update.

My oldest daughter J started having some lightheadedness issues and unexplained weight loss.  We are still trying to figure out the cause, but we have eliminated heart issues.  In the interim, she found a lump in her chest that we ended up having to get removed.  Tests showed that it was benign, thank goodness.  She has started her junior year in high school, so it is going to be a tough year.  To help balance her life a little better and to help heal from 2 years of injuries back to back, she is most likely not going to compete at any gymnastics meets this year and will be cutting back on her practice hours.  Then, she will be in the best possible shape both physically and academically for her senior year.

My youngest daughter, M, has started 7th grade and is still really enjoying JH.  She is about halfway through her braces journey and will be glad to get it over with.  She is considering looking at other sports, so we will start thinking about that, although no decisions have been made either way.

My DH received a promotion at work.  Woo hoo!  He has started working on getting healthier as well.  I am so very proud of him.

I am still coaching gymnastics and working at the kids school, so nothing ever changes with me.

My main purpose in writing tonight is for therapy for myself.  While I cannot go into much detail, I do need to work some things out in my heart and soul, and writing has always helped me do that.  So, if you are reading just to catch up on the family, you can stop reading now.  :-)

My spiritual family is in a lot of pain right now.  There has been a betrayal that has affected many, many people.  The fallout from this is life-changing in a vast myriad of ways.  Anyone that has ever been through a huge life changing event - death, divorce, infidelity, violence, etc. can probably relate to what emotions are surfacing.  Anger, denial, acceptance, disappointment, confusion, hopeful, hopeless - all rotating through repeatedly.  I have no idea what I will be feeling in 10 minutes, much less in 10 days.  I do know, however, that all of us MUST remember that God is God and we are not.  Neither is anyone else.  We MUST all remember that we are the body of Christ and that while it is painful to lose a part of the body, that the body can still work and do it's job.  We all MUST remember that we have all failed and fallen short of the glory of God.

We sang this song today and I could feel God's arms holding me while saying these words by Matt Redman:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth


Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

(Chorus 2x's)

If you have never heard this song, you can listen to it here:

I will be singing this song a lot in the coming days, I'm sure.

My mom also lost her last living brother today.  So all in all, today was kind of sucky.  But, the good thing is, this heart will hold on for that light that is coming.

Thanks to any of you that still visit.

I will hope to post a happier post soon with pictures and funny stuff.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I refuse!!

For those of you that know me personally, you know that I am still child-like in some ways.  (Probably child-like in some ways as well.  :-D)  I still like to play and hang out with kids.  I usually feel more comfortable with kids than adults.  I like to be silly and play jokes.

However, this is getting harder and harder to pull off.  Mainly due to the fact that by body is not cooperating with me very well.  It is starting to be very obvious that I am not the 20 or 30 something year old that I envision myself to be.

I have blogged on this before, but only about my face and the fact that it looks like it is melting when I lean over to the side.

Now, other body parts are joining in the parade.

My latest fixation is on my knees.  I know have the dreaded elephant knee syndrome.  Have you ever seen elephant knees?  How they are pudgy and wrinkly just above the knee?  How in the world do you make that go away?  I coach gymnastics part time and wear shorts in the summer.  I cannot figure out how I am going to deal with these knees out in public.  I already have to make sure my triceps are flexed the entire time that I coach so that I don't injure anyone with the flapping that occurs there when I move my arms.

Also, my eyes are becoming squishy.  You know when you rub under your eye?  Well, know when I do that, the skin squishes up and stays distorted for a bit.

As a matter of fact, a lot of my skin looks different now.  It is almost like I lost a ton of weight and was left with a lot of loose skin.  Or it is a size too big for my body.

Never mind the spider veins and the grey hair.

It looks like I am gonna have to give in and accept the fact that I am getting older.  I am going to have to change my thought process on the whole thing.  I always thought that I would age gracefully.  I thought that I would be a mature adult with it all together.  Boy, was I mistaken.  I do NOT have it together, I am NOT mature, and I am definitely NOT graceful.

I am trying really really hard to remember that we are all made in the image of God and that he loves who we are on the inside and not what we look at on the inside.  I hope that I do a much better job of instilling that ideal in my daughter's than I did in myself.

Do any of you struggle with self-acceptance?

***Prayer requests:

Travis Shumard just started his first round of chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  He is 15 years old.

Becky Smith just had a double mastectomy and is starting her treatment for breast cancer.

Please visit and leave them a note of encouragement.

As always, let me know you were here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blessings of multi-generationalism

I have been very remiss in posting anything lately.  Mainly because I got so many awesome comments on my last entry that I knew that I could never come up with another topic that would generate such great feedback.

We just finished up a much enjoyed spring break.  It was awesome to not have to work either job for several days in a row.  As much as I enjoy both of my jobs, I enjoy my husband and kids more.  We went up to the mountains and spent a few days at the cabin.  It was warm enough to hike and play in the creek, but cool enough that there were no mosquitos or chiggers or poison ivy yet - perfect weather.

We also had Grandparents Day at school.  It is always the last day of school before spring break.  There is a special program just for the kids and grandparents, and then the kids get to leave at noon.  My hubby and I are blessed that we both adore our inlaws.  Our kids are blessed to have 3 full sets of grandparents that all get along with each other.

I have tried to make a point of making sure that my kids appreciate their grandparents.  Neither my husband nor myself have any living grandparents - and haven't for a while.  It is kind of an empty feeling.

My oldest, J., and I were talking about this while hiking at the cabin.  She had a neat way of putting it.  She said that you have your friends to be your friends, your parents to be your parents, and your grandparents are like your friendly parents.  Friends, parents, and grandparents all fill a different role and meet a different need, and none can fill the space of another.  I thought that was a neat way of looking at it.

My grandparents were awesome people and I was so blessed to know them.  In a way, they remind me of my children.  My oldest daughter, while funny and fun-loving, is a nurturer.  She is always careful of others feelings.  My maternal grandparents were the same way.  My youngest daughter, while a nurturer as well, is very up-front and no-nonsense, the same as my paternal grandparents.  While she, and they, would do anything for you, they will also let you know where you stand and did not waste time on stressing about pleasing everyone.  I think this is the best mix in the world as they balance perfectly.  You need both personalities in your life in order to make your life complete.

I think this is why my husband and I work so well together - we balance each other.  If you have two personalities that are completely alike or so completely opposite, you have nothing to use to complete each other.

Well, this was another one of my posts about nothing, so if you are still reading - congrats and thank you.

Please sign the guestbook and let me know you were here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Would you like me to bubble wrap you?

This is a pretty pointless entry, but I am posting it out of curiosity.

What do you think/feel when someone tells you that they will pray for you? Do you feel thankful, blessed, or comforted? Or do you feel empty, puzzled, or awkward?

Do you really feel like it makes any difference? I mean, everything is in God's hands, right? So, will praying actually do anything? Will it change God's mind? Will it make him mad when you ask for things?

I will tell you my take on it, because, after all, that is why I blog. :-)

I feel like prayer is almost like bubble wrap. Whether prayer changes your circumstances or not, I feel it will at least make things easier to deal with. If you had to fall down a flight of stairs, wouldn't you prefer it to happen while wrapped up in bubble wrap? Will it still hurt? Probably, but maybe not as much.

Let me know your thoughts, please.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Never, EVER, assume! AKA - Object lesson

Everyone has heard that you should never assume anything.

I just want to give you quick proof that this is very good advice - in a purely hypothetical setting, of course.

If you assume, that once you and your children get home from dropping one of the vehicles off at a service center, that you can outrun the children to the closest bathroom, you would be wrong.

If you assume that maybe if you bring everything in from the car, that the child that made it to the closest bathroom would be done by the time you got inside, you would be wrong again.

If, when you screech out the words, 'You are still in there?' to the child in the preferred bathroom, you assume that they won't giggle at your predicament, then, you would be wrong.

If, in your panic as you realize that said child is still in the bathroom and that you will not trip running up the stairs to the next closest bathroom, you would, again, be wrong.

If, in the midst of finally getting to go to the restroom and your phone rings and the caller i.d. shows it is the daughter from the preferred bathroom, and you assume it is her calling you to gloat over getting the closest bathroom, you would, believe it or not, be mistaken.

If you ever find yourself in this predicament - please, please do NOT make that final assumption above. Because, chances are, if you answer that phone call and make a comment about 'talking while peeing' because you assumed it was your child on the other end, it could possibly be someone saying that they just found a cell phone and called the contact listed as "mom" in it to hopefully find out who it belonged to. This person could also be calling from the car service center that you just dropped the car off at. The same place you have to go BACK to in a short while.

So, you see, assumption is bad!! Purely hypothetical situation, of course.