America – We missed the mark on Remembrance

Remembrance does strange things to people. It makes them intolerant. It makes them violent. It takes a day that is already bad enough and makes it worse.

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that left America scattered and scared. The 12th anniversary of the deaths of thousands at the hands of 19 individuals whose moral compass had become so extreme that they were willing to die to make us pay for…I don’t know exactly.

I never understood the why’s of 9/11. I won’t share in the conspiracy theory there is tons of that online and in life. The point is that this was a tragedy that has become a religious and racist argument that will never be won.

The Devil has already won if we continue to fight about whose God is right.

We are all humans. We live on a planet we call Earth. We all bleed red. We all eat and drink and procreate. The things that set us apart from the animals are – murder and mind.

We have the ability to cognitively process everything that happens to us and around us. There are theories as to evolution, but we don’t know why we became so evolved. We just are.

So, why do we kill each other for any reason?

Is it humanity’s fatal flaw to be violent in the face of power, passion, or religion?

Is religion a fatal flaw?

We are all people after all and we all want to live long full lives, so it doesn’t make sense to take someone else’s life from them. At least it doesn’t to me. We live on a huge planet. Go live somewhere else if you can’t stand where you are and who you are with.

If you can’t stand someone ELSE’s religion then don’t practice it.

Yesterday there was a plan for a “Million Muslim March” on the Mall in Washington, D.C. It happened but more like a fraction of a percent of Muslims participated in the event. Reasoning being unclear as to why there were not more people. Perhaps they knew the backlash that could have resulted from this or perhaps it was the 2 million bikers that thought to show up and interrupt this event.

I’d be scared if 2 million bikers promised to end my march…as it was there was no violence just a bunch of bikers driving through DC. The police blocked them from doing anything else and wouldn’t give them a permit for a march of their own.

Yesterday should have been a day of Peace and Remembrance. We should have pondered those who lost their lives. We should have spent the day reaching out to our loved ones and friends telling them we love them and appreciate them.

A gathering of Muslims for Peace on a day that produced violence by Muslims seems like a way for that community to come full circle. It was meant to be an olive branch in the religious inconsistencies of our national character.

Want religious freedom? Well that doesn’t just mean your religion. Religious freedom is meant to be for everyone.

Want to be able to meet and assemble? That doesn’t mean just for causes you find worthy.

Want to be able to complain about it? Freedom of speech is for everyone.

Those are your first amendment rights. They are for everyone. Anyone on American soil has these freedoms. This is what the Revolutionary War was fought for and what our soldiers continue to believe as they fight for us. There are so many differing views on religion, politics, heredity, and social standing that these have become unimportant in light of someone’s character and interaction with the rest of the world.

What if starting today we lived without prejudice?

What if starting today we lived fully compassionate lives?

What if starting today we began to trust again?

What if starting today we showed respect for everyone?

What if starting today we chose to live as God intended?

To begin with you need to stop grouping a set of strangers together calling all of them bad people who want to kill us all without actually knowing anything about them. A sad state of American society is that we automatically classify people of the Muslim religion as extremists who want to murder us and take over the country.

Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but this is profoundly untrue. The Muslim religion is not to blame, no more than the Christian religion is to blame for the Holocaust or the Spanish Inquisition. Those things happened because of the thoughts and actions of a small group of people, not because of their religion. Step one someone else’s religion is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is your faith, your path, your choice of religion.

As a Christian I believe that at the end of my life I will be placed before God and judged. He will not judge me on my works; He will judge me on my faith and my obedience in accepting Jesus Christ as my eternal Savior. What part does anything to do with someone else’s religion? Nada.

Another part of my walk as a Christian is more of a universal rule that I live by and would appreciate others to do as well. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” I know I didn’t quote the scripture or verse, but you know what I mean. This fully encapsulates how to live compassionately. If you see someone who is hungry try to feed him. If you see someone that needs a home, show him where to get the help to get a home.

Living compassionately is not a life in the mission field, it should simply be life.

If you claim to be Christian the rule we are taught is to live a “Christ-like Life.” Who was Christ? Jesus. How did he live? He was self-sacrificing and lived to make the lives of those around him better than his own. We cannot save the world, but we can show each other mercy.

What do you think the world would be like if more Christians lived that way?

I think it would be easier to trust if you knew that the people who claimed to be good, peace-loving, wholesome individuals really were. There is nothing more troubling than believing in others and having them shatter that belief. Perhaps my trust in others is my fatal flaw, because I trust everyone until they’ve given me a reason not to and that is dangerous. Because you can’t actually trust anyone these days until they have proven their worth.

If you can’t trust simply try to respect others. Everyone.

All trust starts with respect. If someone can’t respect other people they can’t be trusted. Of all the definitions of respect I think the one most closely resembling what we view as respect is thoughtfulness or consideration. By being considerate of others we can earn their trust and compassion, which could bring them to a non-judgmental state regardless of your chosen lifestyle or religion…which are none of their business anyway.

I for one like my rights as an American and I would hate to see them further sullied because of some extreme belief in the supremacy of one religion over another.

Every time you act and react is a characteristic of yourself, not your religion, not your hometown, not even your family. We are all on this planet. We won’t all agree. We won’t all get along.

Tolerance isn’t about conformity it’s about life.

Pulled from a Facebook Share

Pulled from a Facebook Share

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Fly

Click the photo for a link to the lovely blog I pulled this photo from 🙂

Today I am at the edge…preparing to fly.

I have steadied my gaze and readied my mind.

Today I am leaping…into the unknown,

I am hoping and praying for each of my boys.

Today I am leaving…the dulldrums are done!

I am running and jumping for joy all alone.

Today I am whole…ever constant in God.

I have thought and I’ve pondered with each little nod.

Today I am happy…He’s answering my prayers.

Can’t you see?!

I have an ending today and a new beginning, just me.

Love, hope, peace, joy, and home

I’m flying

I’m singing

I’m praising the Lord.

~Written by: Meg

—————–

It doesn’t rhyme much, but I am not much of a rhyming poet. I have never written a poem for you all, so I thought I would change that up today.

Today is my last day at the most boring job ever. I will miss it. I will miss the freedom of hours upon hours of time to think and to write. I have spent the last seven months plugging away at this little blog, and joining blog groups and reading wonderful blogs. I have made some fabulous bloggy friends and I can’t wait to see what is next.

I feel like I am jumping of a cliff, but instead of falling into the depths below, I feel I am soaring high above in the clouds. Like an eagle or pheonix, graceful in their flight. Giant wings spread, looking around, I see the world below and my home on a rock. Back to the Llano Estacado with me…a giant rock in the middle of Texas.

I’m hoping for the excitement that I am sure is to come…the butterflies in my belly tell me it’s there. Waiting and coming when the time is just right.

I rest in the hands of God, His will for me is all I can do. I pray ceaselessly to hear the right voice. Discerning His choice for me and my life is not easy. I wonder if He offers me things here where I am to tempt me to stay somewhere I have known so much pain.

There was a sermon at church last Sunday that said you won’t grow if you don’t allow yourself to root. What if your roots were transplaneted and they want to go home? I can fully understand what the pastor was saying, but some trees died when they are transplanted. I know I have not been what I could be in the last ten years here in this place. I have longed for home since the day I got here, and kicked myself everytime I haven’t moved back when I had the chance.

Sometimes a chance is nothing more than a whisper…sometimes these chances are solid in form and life. I can’t wait. I am excited. I am ready to take flight.

I am ready to get back on track, to swoop and to soar to the highest of lifes.

What are you doing for yourself in this year’s fearless challenge? Are you challenging yourself to live the highest life possible? Creating change for yourself? Or simply creating!?

“Create yourself a great day!”

Revised Christmas Letter 2011

The cynic in me wrote yesterday’s Christmas Letter, thus a revision is necessary.

Dear Friends and Family,

2011 has been a trying year, but I am grateful for it. There are some things I learned and some people I am eternally grateful to have in my life all because of 2011.

I am stronger than I think I am. There, I said it. You never know what you can face until you face it and progress in life.

I can survive a week with no money. Ask me how…I share trade secrets.

I have it so much better than so many other people…in the grand scheme of things as bad as my year was it could have been worse. It actually was worse for plenty of people in the world. For plenty of people that I know.

I think it is important to accept your circumstance whatever it is. I figured out how to do that this year. I think it has to happen as we grow as people because if you can’t accept yourself who else should?

January taught me that I can drive in a blizzard.

February taught me how to put faith in other people.

March taught me not to trust all landlords at their word.

April taught me to take it one day at a time.

May taught me that settling isn’t always the best road to take.

June taught me that I can do anything I have to do whether I want to or not.

July taught me that I really should have spent a little more time in the sun, day-glow legs…wow.

August taught me that I know absolutely nothing about the public school system, but that’s okay.

September taught me how to have respect for myself. I am not the same person I used to be.

October taught me how broken feels…I don’t have a good lesson from October.

November taught me that I can express compassion to someone I loath simply because I should.

December…December has taught me about the strength of friends. When you have people by your side you can feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof.

On the whole there are a few people who I need to recognize for making this year better, because really without them I would be so lost…and these are in no particular order.

Simmoni – You guys may have read about Sim in my periodic series Phenomenal Female Friday. She really is the most amazing friend and has helped me keep perspective over the last year.

My Mom – She was the first in the PFF series, and she has helped me in many, many ways. I hope as the years pass our relationship continues to grow.

My Sisters – They are also my friends. They keep me entertained, watch my kids, and Malorie feeds me and saves me when I need it. I have AAA now, but there have been some days when I didn’t. 🙂

Dana – She has let me sleep on her couch, use her house as my house, store my belongings in various rooms and driven me around to simply pass the time. She is a sister, even if I have divorced her brother. I am blessed to have you.

My family – As a whole and on their own my entire family has been a blessing to me this year. I have gotten to catch up with most and can’t wait to see how we all grow in the next year.

My Church – Without my church I know that I wouldn’t have made it through this year. They have provided food when I had none, money when I needed gas, and support when I felt hopeless. They have even provided me with my own Christmas miracle, because of them I get to actually give my boys a few gifts. Fewer after the car debacle, but they get gifts none the less!

My Friends – All you guys are amazing. You are encouraging. You are helpful. You are the ones that see me cry and give me hugs. Thank you.

My Scary Mommies – If you don’t know what those are it is okay. We know who we are. We know the power of the Scary Mommy Army. Because of these women and our network I have seen amazing things happen in the lives of women and children across the nation. Over Thanksgiving you guys may have seen the piece ABC ran on Jill Smokler, Scary Mommy #1. Because of Jill and SM’s across the nation we fed 14,000 families Thanksgiving dinner. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendships and your support, Meg.

Mike – You know who you are. You know how you helped. Thank you. You’re an incredible human being and I pray for much success for you.

Tricia and Tori – You ladies have supported the bloggy journey I have been on this year and are always encouraging and commenting. Thank you!

One I’d like to name, but ever (eye roll) vigilant of your privacy I won’t. 😛 I miss talking to you, but such is life, one of us hurt the other and I am still not sure who.

I know I am leaving people out. It is not that I don’t remember your kindness. I am grateful to you. I appreciate you and I’m glad you’re in my life.

To surmise 2011, I have to say it’s been crazy, but I have felt blessed the whole time. I have felt prayers and God’s hand in every thing. I know that some how life will be amazing in the days and years to come.

Much love and many blessings to you all this Christmas season.

~Meg

Christmas Letter 2011

Generally at the end of the year mom’s across the planet send their annual wrap up letter telling you all about their fabulous lives and they are meant to make you feel jealous. If you even THINK about sending one to me. Let me save you a stamp DON’T…I warn you I will send a seething letter in response indicating that you suck.

This is not one of those letters, but at the same time it is.

Dear Friends and Family,

As we end 2011, I wanted to send out a little wrap up of my year…it’s been a journey. It’s been a roller coaster…it’s been a test.

Can you hear? beep – beeeeep – beeeeep – this is a test of the emergency alert system?! REPEAT – This is ONLY A TEST!

Should your life actually fall apart your pants will end up backwards and your children will look at you with disdain.

Alas guys, my boys love me. They look at me with kindness and run to me whenever I walk through the door. There are times when I take too long to cook dinner or spend too much time on the phone, but they love me just the same. They vocalize the fact that dinner needed to be an hour ago, but they eat when it is presented to them.

My pants haven’t ended up backwards…yet…there is still 11 days left until the New Year though, so perhaps there is time.

December 2010 – I lost my job December 16th. That was fun. Thank you husband for proving what an imbecile you were so that I had to stay home and eventually end a fun job. Honestly that was a fun time. (not!)

January 2011 – I was in New York dreaming about life in the warmth of Texas. I was able to spend a lot of time with my friends at Helping Hands, Caring Heart. Also I spent some time getting unemployment, because of the events that occurred in December. I had to attend special classes about “how to get a job” and dedicate hours and hours to finding a job. Oh – State of New York, the problem with this is THAT THERE WERE NO JOBS! I felt much like a monkey chasing a tail. OH – OH – and I also attempted to get financial assistance from the state. NYS made us take a class for that as well, turns out that if you get financial assistance you have to work for the state. I think every state needs to implement a program like that.

February 2011 – Taxes filed by Feb. 6. Wait for direct deposit to bank because I did not want to lose a huge percentage just because I felt greedy. Husband has flu that last for days and decides the only way to conquer flu is to drink vodka…he spends month in a drunken coma…meanwhile…the baby is teething and crying and generally fussy. Older son gets what the doc decides is flu and never gets well. Around the 17th of that month take him to the emergency room for a swollen hand to go with the flu like symptoms turns out he has had MRSA for about 2 weeks and could die. We are in the hospital for 10 days. During that time he has a sedated MRI, then surgery, I start this blog, and husband generally acts like a lecherous scumbag. I seeth thinking about his behavior during this time period. My youngest spends the 10 days with friends and family as I take care of my oldest who is terrified of everything that is happening to him. February 27 are discharged from the hospital having set up all follow up appointments in TX and depart for warmer regions that night.

March 2011 – We arrive in TX. I drop of husband at his grandmothers and depart for my hometown. I had arranged a house and (nearly) a job during the last month and was ready to settle into life in the hill country again. House turns out to be a dump that the landlord did not repair. He has my $1500, but I don’t have heat and there is a hole in the roof above the door. Job gives me the run around for 3.5 weeks as we process paperwork and I take an in depth physical/drug test. Pass with flying colors, but they still need time to work on the paperwork. Future boss takes a vacation during this time. I drive around the state a lot and visit lots of family. Family in Houston convinces me to stay in Houston. Alas…

April 2011 – Not much happened…stayed at home and applied for jobs and lived off $150 a week from unemployment…should not listen to newspapers when they tell you where the jobs are.

May 2011 – Apply for two jobs at a university, hope for one, interview for the other. May 18th start the other job at the university. (Sigh) I know it doesn’t pay enough but I will persevere! I continue to apply to other jobs and hope something comes to fruition. By months end…nada…

June 2011 – Finally get first pay check $300…sign back of check and hand it over to the babysitter. I learn a lot of cool stuff about my job and working for the university system. I like everyone at my new job and can’t wait for the fall semester to start. In private I cry because Miggy turns one in July and I can’t do the things that I wanted to do for his birthday. That’s okay…it’s just his first birthday. No biggy…but to me it was. Oh and this is the month that since I was working I had to move, so whether I could afford it or not…I had until July 1st to be out. Great…that didn’t happen.

July 2011 – Miggy is 1! We have three kids over for cupcakes and I do battle to try and do something for his birthday, but in the end we did nothing…I start slipping into a mild depression. Problems of July – Evil babysitter, Don’t get to celebrate birthday, and I was pissing off uncle because I couldn’t get the money together to move fast enough. Sorry – I’m poor…but we have all covered that. July 17th – finally move. Okay really my stuff moved into my new apartment, but my lights weren’t coming on until the 19th, so I stayed at my sister in law’s house for a few days.

August 2011 – As rent is due the first of each month…I sign yet another check over to someone else. I am broke…I think I blog about being broke. It is this month that I lose the first of my old friends. Tammy was found dead in her home. I still don’t know if it was ruled a homicide, overdose or combination of the two. In lighter news, I am sleeping on my bed in my living room because at this point I have no furniture to go in the apartment that I can’t really afford. Although I have a really old 32 inch box tv in the corner does work there is no coax to bring the cable from the wall. So, I post on FB that I need coax. My buddy John who has taken care of me repeatedly over the years with things like fixing cars, houses, and short segments of coax, he called and gave me the coax! We watch a lot of movies on FX to fill our evenings. Thank you John, you were a blessing. I catch up with an old friend from high school, and I think I blog about that too.

September 2011 – Register for school, get all my ducks in a row to continue with life. This is one of the reasons I accepted a job that was beneath me – right? So that I could finish school? Yes! Sadly, I lost two more friends this month. First, Big John, he is the one who gifted me the coax in August. He ended up dying of heart failure complications due to kidney disease. Then Pop or Ol’ Man Rudy. He went naturally as he was nearly 98 years old. He was the fiestiest person I have ever known and I have only known him for 11 years. I can’t imagine what he would have been like 60 years ago. Inevitably September ended with a bang. Just as a “non-relationship” relationship was ending…actually the same day…a ghost of a soul mate emails out of the blue. Soul mate? Yes, there are few people in the world as compatible as Troy and I. We email for the next few days and then he disappears as quickly as he came back.

October 2011 – This month is a bit of a blur. I was in the midst of a massive depression. Wondered why men treat me badly and couldn’t see past my own struggles…I was such a moron. Honestly. They are guys they are basically programmed to break hearts. October 17th…I get an email from a former co-worker. Troy was dead. As details emerged I found out from his ex that he had actually been hit by a vehicle on October 11th. I blogged about this too. Everything else that was important in October disappears into the fog that was the rest of October. That was like a death-blow to my heart (pun not intended).

November 2011 – Trying to talk myself back to reality. Troy’s memorial was on the 12th, as he was cremated, we waited until his family could come from Wisconsin. I couldn’t attend. It was too heartbreaking so I found a reason to be out of town. I blogged about many different and varied things…I put the school books away because well…after all of the mess that was October I never opened them. Who can read about marriage and family after all of that?! I couldn’t. I went to my mom’s a lot during this month, just about every weekend. During this month my ex husband’s grandmother fell. She refused to go to the hospital to get checked out until she woke up with a distended belly. She knew she was ill. By month’s end she knew she had cancer and she had stopped eating.

December 2011 – The end of a tumultuous year…on the 3rd Nanny passed. On the 6th we buried her along side her husband. I stress over the inability to buy Christmas for my children. I pray and seek God’s comfort in knowing that somehow we will find a miracle. Sunday we received our own Christmas miracle from my church. They gave me a gift so that I would be able to buy my kids something for Christmas. I went ever practical and bought things like pants, underwear, and socks, but that is what they need. Today…or soon…I will have to get a new car. Mine died, or is dying. After the loss of the year, it is the least in my mind, but the greatest when it comes to providing for my children. I applied for and interviewed for a position with the county back home…I hear about it Thursday and I pray for good news. Please say a little prayer for me.

On the whole this year has sucked. The last few months have been bad. Decidedly not the worst in my life, but they are in the top three.  I know that God is in these trials. I know that life is just a series of events, but sometimes it can be too much. 2011 will forever leave a sour note on my psyche, but I hold to this that depression is a choice and so is happiness. I choose to not let this get me down. I choose to rise above and conquer the tumult about me. I don’t know how exactly I will make everything work, but I will make it work.

Sincerely,

Meg, a little bruised, but healing.

Does Consumerism really equal Happy Holidays?

You could probably guess that I am a “Merry Christmas” kind of girl. I tell everyone I see about this time of year, Merry Christmas, at least if I don’t expect to see them again before the big day. A subtle reminder at the symbolism of the day and the celebration of the life that blesses us with salvation. (If you don’t believe that’s between you and God, not you and me.)

Anyway, I have been thinking lately (every time I pile the toys in the bins) how much we (communal we as in anyone in the western world) waste at Christmas time. It’s maddening.

I am not trying to bring anyone down off their Christmas high. So, if you don’t want to hear something that might do that, then close the blog now please.

Kinda, sorta, but really it's - Merry Christmas!

Here’s the thing…

I am an American girl. I grew up with the big Christmas’. We had lots of gifts under the tree. We baked cookies. We went caroling. We had a fabulous Christmas!

This is not MY childhood Christmas tree, but this is how I felt

At least I think I did…then I grew up.

I don’t think I am wrong in wondering what happened to Christmas. These days it seems as though we are concerned more with the latest gadgets then the palpable feeling of community. The giving spirit. The love for our fellow man.

I’m dumbfounded.

Yesterday, while watching a Christmas movie on one of the family channels I was physically sickened by an Amazon commercial. I love Amazon, but the commercial – in light of the financial situation of many in the world – was disgusting.

I am pretty sure it was Amazon, anyway, it was an ad for one of the e-readers. It goes something like this…a guy is talking to the screen and a girl walks up and says look what I got so and so for just $79. That was all well and good, but she had 2 of them. He asked about the second one, she said something along the lines of “What? It was only $79!”

Granted that is true…it is only $79.

Many people have the ability to spend like that. Especially around Christmas time. But what would that same $79 (I’m not including taxes and shipping) mean to someone else?

  • A weeks worth of groceries.
  • A paid electric bill.
  • Gas to get to work for a week or two.
  • Clothes to replace the ones that are tattered and torn.
  • That could be enough to have a Christmas dinner.
  • It would be enough to buy the gifts to make Christmas brighter for a child.
  • That could buy three boxes of Angel Food for someone in need.

The reality of life is that while some people’s life situations are fantastic and they are able to pump hundreds (and even thousands of dollars) into the economy this time of year, many are struggling. Many can’t afford groceries for next week. Many don’t have a tree because that would increase their light bill so they just tell there kids that we are going to have a less traditional Christmas this year.

People across the United States are struggling to make it to their next paycheck, and they are faced with the constant murmur of BUY, BUY, BUY! Did you finish your Christmas shopping this year? Have you started? HOW much did you spend?

NONE OF THIS SHOULD MATTER!

Why do we as a group seem to make how much we spend matter? Why do we always have to one up the next guy or ourselves? Why does each year have to be better than the last? What would happen if while your children were young they learned the importance of the simple things?

What would happen if Santa brought them ONE present a year?

What would happen?

Would the world end because you saw to the importance of their character, more than the importance of items? No, but I think the world would evolve into a better place. More grounded.

Planting your feet firmly on the ground and realizing that racking up credit card debt or taking out a loan for Christmas gifts is just not worth it. What do you gain in this? What does your child gain? Do they get more time with you or do you have to get a second job or request overtime to pay the bill back?

What do we gain with the waste from the unused toys that eventually get tossed out?

As a minimalist I don’t think we should have so much stuff. You don’t need a room full of new stuff if you already have a room full of stuff that you don’t use. I try to point this out to my son, but even he doesn’t understand. He has learned from somewhere that to be cool you must have this, or this, or this.

Not every parent can afford those things. Not every parent that can afford them is willing to buy them. Not every parent spoils their child the same way.

My boys are spoiled. They are spoiled by me. I spend as much time as humanly possible with them. We watch movies together. We go to the beach. We play in mud puddles. We go to the park and ride the swings together…well they ride, I push. We go swimming and when Michael is old enough we will start camping and floating down the river on a canoe. They are spoiled by love, affection, and respect.

Christmas is a season of love and forgiveness. A season where we are supposed to look outside ourselves and see the bigger picture. A season to take a vacation and spend quality fun-filled time with our families. What will your kids learn? Will they see that Santa sees to indulging their every want or will they see that you are indulging their every need?

Good luck this season and Merry Christmas!

Phenominal Female Friday – Pearl

In a little town in south Texas, there is a little white house with brown shudders and trim. Within the little house there was always a warm cup of coffee and a place to sit. Peeking out through the front window, always mindful of the world sat Nanny. She would read, watch TV, sew, or chat on the phone, but always from her little recliner by the front window.

She has been a constant in the lives of many for the last 88 years. Several dozen spent in that house, looking out that window, the color of the recliner and the ages of the people being the only things that changed. Nanny loved people. She loved visitors. She loved to meet the new and visit with the old. Any morning of the year you would find her at home, waiting on visitors.

There is something about a pattern to life that is appealing to me. The same routine day in and day out. I found it fascinating to witness the monotony.

Nanny was up at 6:30 every morning. Coffee was on by 7. Biscuits and sausage on weekends was ready by 7:30. The friends and family that she loved so much would start popping in about that time too. The aunts came every day. Some of the uncles did too. Her grandkids all stopped in at least once a week and those that didn’t heard all about it the next. She sat in her chair, occasionally getting up to fill up her cup, and she talked to everyone that came by. She would have something for lunch ready about 11 am and it was always something hearty. Always enough to feed an army.

My son will tell you about the Honey Buns. She always had boxes of Honey Buns. She would dole them out to every grandchild and great-grandchild and great-great-grandchild. Watching their eyes light up when they tasted the yummy sweetness was ever satisfying to her. Then he would tell you about her toy cabinet and the giant legos. He has spent many a morning creating and playing and listening to the grown ups.

Wow could we talk. We talked about every thing. We talked about every one. We got filled in on who was getting married, who was getting divorced, who was having a baby or breaking up. I don’t consider it gossip if it’s all true and about family. I shared my hopes. I listened with rapt attention. I have a fondness for the older generation. There is so much to learn from them. So much history they played witness to, and I can’t help but want to hear anything they want to tell me. I loved listening to Nanny’s stories. I loved the story she wrote about her life.

She was a small town Texas girl, born a stones throw from where I grew up. She was married young and had her first child at 16. She went on to have 6 children total, 3 boys and 3 girls. She never drove a day in her life. She was a survivor. She was loving. She could teach us all a lesson in forgiveness and a few lessons on life. She was generous. She loved.

Above all Nanny loved. That was her gift. That is what made her so amazing. She loved unconditionally. She loved whether you deserved it or not. She loved through good times and bad. She loved through life and through death. It didn’t matter what was going on within her own body she still loved you and made that known in simple words and in wanting to stay involved.

There is something so simple in her love that is must surely be the lesson we are meant to learn from her. Keep your heart open, your front door unlocked, your smiles warm, your words caring and maybe, just maybe you will be a force in a life yet to be lived.

Even in death Nanny will live because she loved so many.

Family

Perhaps I am confused, but this is what I think a family should do.

Check up on each other. If you know someone is having a difficult time, show up at their house and see if they need anything. You may not be able to do anything more than wash a dish or lend an ear, but sometimes that’s all that’s needed.

Cut each other some slack. As a family you are bound to each other by blood for eternity. You will all make bad choices. Things will happen that you don’t agree with. Who cares, you’re family.

Fix each other a meal. If you live within five miles of each other and haven’t seen each other in a month, give someone an invite and feed them. Free food will always get family in the door.

Hold the guilt trips in. If for some reason you feel the need to send someone on a guilt trip by all means, reign that puppy in and bite your tongue!

We have found the mute button. As a family we don’t often consider that at some point in your siblings life they found the mute button that keeps them from listening to you blather on. When you’re speaking and someone gets the distant glazed over look in their eyes…shut up.

The only thing that matters is love. Here is something that I learned from Nanny. It doesn’t matter what happens or how much someone hurts you, you have to forgive. My ex and his cousins are the best examples I have of this and you guys don’t know them to understand. These are the guys that refer to themselves as outlaws. They are crazy. They drink too much. They know how to party. They know all about getting in trouble. They are the rowdy bunch at the honky-tonk your momma warned you about. They loved their nanny, and she loved them. It didn’t matter what insanity they got themselves wrapped up in she always had a bed for them to sleep it off, a cup of coffee to get them motivated, and a few kind words (and a switch or two.)

That being said… in some cases family is the people you choose to make commitments to out of love and respect.

This is the approach of a relative

Day NINE: What makes God smile?

Life update…not much going on. The boys are getting older every day and I hate it. Soon Elijah will start school – real school, and Michael is a year old in July. Where has the time gone? Seems like yesterday I was a kid myself. I go back to school in September since this year I am broke enough to get assistance there is no time like the present to full fill dreams. On the hunt for an apartment and possibly a roommate, but I would rather not have the room mate, so I’ll see. It would be nice if someone walked up to me and said here are the keys to a place you can use until you are through school. That would solve SO many troubles…but it’s not likely to happen. Miracle, God, please? 😀

Day Nine: What makes God smile? 😀

Point to Ponder: God smiles when I trust him.

Verse to Remember: “The Lord is pleased with those who worship him and trust his love.” Psalm 147:11

Question to Consider: Since God knows what is best, in what areas of my life do I need to trust him most?

This chapter likens God to a parent, the kind of parent that just watches their children and stands in awe of what He has created. He does smile for many of the same reasons that parents dote on children. Discovery of a new talent, asking questions, telling a joke, saying “I love you,” and so many more. I smiled at myself, at my son, and said thank you to God for giving me the children he has because they have a sense of peace and love of life that comes naturally to them. Elijah will walk around and when he is truly happy he will look up at me with his big blue eyes and say “Mommy?” (What Elijah?) “This is the good life!” I can’t argue with that, even when things (to me) are bad he can look at me and say that and I know he is right. I smile and it carries me through. I think God smiles when we look around and sigh and tell him thank you for what He has provided.

Like a parent, “God smiles when we love him supremely.” What parent doesn’t love it when they just have to show up to make someone smile?! Last night the sitter called because Michael was being extremely fussy, but I drive up and all of a sudden he is all smiles. His love and immediate smile is the kind of love that we should show God, because he does show up when we are fussy and fixes what ever was wrong to begin with. Some people live fussy lives because they don’t allow God to show up. The don’t realize that He is all they are missing. Michael didn’t know how to tell the sitter he just wanted Mommy, but once I was there we all knew.

How many kids can say that they do not trust their parent completely? I know that for my kids I want them to be able to trust and have faith that I will be there for them and stand up for them no matter what. I think so far I have accepted this responsibility. Trust is a responsibility to make good choices and do whatever is necessary to provide the best for your children. I am not talking about money. I am talking rules, discipline, love, and encouragement. There is no amount of money that will pay for what your children really need. The book explains the story of Noah and how he built a boat in the middle of a desert and worked on it for 125 years just because God told him to. Our kids should be able to clean up their rooms and put away their toys just because we told them to. (haha – wishful thinking sometimes)

That thought does lend itself to the next part which is to obey him wholeheartedly. I love it when my five year old listens. I love it when I can ask him to do something in a sweet gentle voice and it gets done. Usually I have to say it 5 times minimum and then he still doesn’t seem to hear so I have to get louder. For the nay sayers on this method – I’m Italian it’s what we do. But in your own life how many times does God speak to you and you don’t hear him? How many times have you been watching the TV instead of hearing God say “Meg you really need to clean up or you won’t have time for three days?” I did last weekend…sadly I think I hurt a friend’s feelings when I chose to clean up my space instead of let the boys come play at her house, but sometimes the work just has to get done.

Isn’t it nice to be thanked when you do something extra? Isn’t it nice to be thanked for the mundane? Doesn’t a little positive reinforcement work wonders on the little ones? God loves it when we thank Him too. He loves to be acknowledged for doing exactly what he is supposed to do. He loves the little whispered thank you’s for a great parking spot and the great big thank you’s for creating life. I wonder what the world would be like if we all started saying grace at dinner again? “Dear heavenly Father, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies, may our bodies be of service. Thank you for today and for our family and thank you for our friends. Amen.” Just a little daily Our father? Isn’t that the prayer that Jesus said to pray every day to praise the Lord?
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in
Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our
trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, lead
us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for thine
is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.
(I am sure that some Biblical Scholar may slam my wording, but I am working from memory at the moment and this is the prayer I learned. I say it every day.)

The final part of the chapter is on using your abilities. I love it when my sons use their brains to figure stuff out. It may be completely wrong and backward and useless as they did it, but the point is they tried to use their own abilities. That is part of living. Learning how to use your own abilities to make the world a better place. How often do we do what we have to do instead of what we could do? Our lives are awful enough without using our talents and doing the things that we could be doing. That is why I am going back to school! I am not allowed to do the things that I would like to do (and get paid) without a series of degrees so I better get cracking! Use your talents! Do what it is that makes you unique! Even if you can’t do it as a job, use it in your life to make you happier. We are better people if we allow ourselves to feel joy. To live joyous lives and roll ourselves up in it.

So, what do I need to trust Him with? For starters…my money. I don’t know what his plan is, but he must make the money appear for me to get a place of my own, near a great school, and daycare. I need to trust that this is part of His design for my life and that this path that I have prayed long and hard over is the right one. I also need to trust him with my heart. My niece has a quote on her facebook page that goes something like, “A girl must hide her heart in the heart of God so that a man must go there to find it.” So…we will see how that one turns out. I know that he really does know what’s best because he already knows what is going to happen…if only we were all so lucky.

Many blessings and happy thoughts!

Day EIGHT: Planned for God’s Pleasure

So today is Friday, the end of my first “week” of work. I am enjoying it. I think I will enjoy it much more once students are present and there are things that need to be done. Until then…

Day Eight: Planned for God’s Pleasure

Point to Ponder: I was planned for God’s pleasure.

Verse to Remember: “The Lord takes pleasure in His people.” Psalm 149:4A

Question to Consider: What common task could I start doing as if I were doing it directly for Jesus?

How many of us feel pleasure? Luxuriate in it and feel all warm and cozy? Did you know that this is how God feels on ocassion as well? Man (and woman) were made in His image, thus He must feel deeply too. Rick Warren expresses in his book that God feels love, anger, jealousy, pain, and a whole plethora of what we consider human emotions. So me absolutely feels pleasure. Your existence gives pleasure to God, if it didn’t you wouldn’t have been created.

This chapter is about realizing how to make your existence more pleasurable to him. The question was what could I start doing…and there are some things that come to mind, like going to church EVERY Sunday – especially on days when I just don’t feel up to it or calling my family members once a week or making a definitive effort to be better at so many things. None of those seem grand enough though to be doing directly for Jesus. But I don’t think He expects granduer, that He’s got down. I think He expects us to show up when we are asked, offer a hand to a friend that needs to be picked up, provide a shoulder to cry on, and lend an ear when required. Ultimately the goal is to live in his image…if you don’t care about your fellow man and honor others with shouts of peace and good will then your ultimate pursuits are for nothing.

Day SEVEN: The Reason for Everything

Brief notes to catch you up on me with…I have a job! I started yesterday, but I am to find something to fill my time while we await the new semester. I have read through my training book three times, and there really isn’t much else to do with out actual people, so until then, I should be posting regularly. Yay! At least yay for the people reading it!

Day SEVEN: The Reason for Everything

Point to Ponder: It’s all for him.

Verse to Remember: “For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory.” Romans 11:36

Question to Consider: Where in my daily routine can I become more aware of God’s glory?

Before I consider that I wanted to share a few of the lessons in the chapter because I think they are appropriate for today.

First, the ultimate point of life is to show Glory to God. That is our ultimate purpose. It is through our thoughts and actions that we glorify His name and show others His beauty, His Kindness, His forgiveness, and His Love. It is by striving to be more Christ like that we are able to glorify God. This book, The Purpose Driven Life states that “All sin, at its root, is failing to give God glory.” Thus “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (That’s from the Bible.)

So, what do we do? How do we know what to do? What does it mean to give God the glory? Jesus brought glory to God by doing all that he was shown to do, He fulfilled his purpose. That is what we must strive to do. Find and fulfill our purpose. “We bring God glory by worshiping him.” Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, but not just the praise and worship time we have for 30 minutes on Sunday morning, but in the little everyday mundane activities. If you do it with a joyful heart and praise God for being able to do just that, then you glorify him.

We also give God glory by loving others. Remember the Golden Rule? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is remembering that we are all human and we all make mistakes. Many people, make many mistakes, but our goal as believers is to forgive them. Forgive, forget, and try to learn from these mistakes and hope that they learn from them. Obviously not everyone does learn from them. Also, there are also people that you just have to love because otherwise you would want to beat them. When you start to feel that urge to verbally charge at them…then take a deep breath and hand it over to God. As I am now…

Then as you grow in faith and occassionally as a means to faith, you tell others about God and you use your talents to glorify him in name. No this is not the door to door preaching done by some of the sects, but it is telling someone about your faith. If they seem interested tell them to come with you to church or to check out your favorite writer, or if they are not interested…at least on the outside. Keep going back to them and gently explain the whys, whats, and hows. God makes a way for us all, there are none that he has left to founder.

Finally on our point to ponder…where can I become more aware of God in my daily routine? Everywhere. There is so much in life that if you just take a moment you will be a visual message to everyone around you that God is real. That God is present in every situation and trial. Being able to wake up in a world with your children and family everyday is a miracle. A miracle shared by all.

Have a blessed Day and I hope you are able to find your way to express God’s glory.