There has been about a week straight of storms where I live in the good ole South. Not just thunderstorms, mind you. Real, cloud-rotating, hail-spitting, street-flooding storms.
Tonight is a new round of those joyous storms; so I'm waiting it out in the closet while the hubs drives home from work. (If he were here, he would be calmly watching the news in the living room, greeting the tornadoes at the door.) The dog doesn't care where we are...just as long as she's got a soft place to sleep. The cat, on the other hand...well...he's a little upset. Not of fan of storms or confined spaces.
And so we wait. I'm not getting out just yet.
I've seen the Wizard of Oz.
The last thing I need is a herd of flying monkeys.
I've been reading a new book called "Made to Crave."
I'm not finished, but so far, it has really changed the way I think about what I eat. God wants MORE for us. He wants more than okay, more than just getting by, more than mediocre.
What I'm realizing now is that I have to want more for myself.
For too long, I have been guilty of resigning myself to being overweight. Truthfully, there are medical issues that cause weight gain for me, but my diet is poor and I don't exercise enough in addition to that. In giving up and learning to live with those things, I'm essentially saying that God cannot change my issues or me.
This simple fact is that God created us to desire him, to crave him. We should hunger for Him rather than for food. We should thirst for Him instead of water. We should desire Him more than any other thing.
My life will not improve until I desire Christ above all things. This week, I'll be praying for that desire; I'll be praying for guidance. I'll be praying for change.
Sometimes growth comes from unexpected places. Sometimes our soil must be broken so life can grow through it. Sometimes our hearts must be broken so our spirits can grow.
"But a child, so recently come into the world from the void of creation, can be more resilient than the strongest man, more strong willed than the hardiest woman. A child is like an early spring bulb that carries all the resources needed within its skin for the fist push through soil towards the sun. And just as a little bit of water can start the bulb to grow, even through fissured rock, so can a little kindness give a child the ability to push through the dark."
-Kathleen Kent, The Heretic's Daughter
Check out Trina and friends for more growth photos!
With Benchmark testing all week, I've done plenty of work. Believe me.
I didn't take a photo of the tests (because that's a. completely boring, and b. slightly illegal). Instead I wanted to focus on some "fun" work. In reality, it's probably only fun to me. ;)
I work throughout the week, but I'm also working on my Master's degree at a nearby university. One of the classes I'm taking is "British Historical Fiction." Ummm...amazing! I love to read; and I love all things British. Does it get any better?!
So I decided to take a photo of the books I've read since the class started in January.
This week, I have had a smile plastered on my face, had a helpful heart, and my feet have kept moving. Outwardly, success. Below the surface...I'm anxious, apprehensive, agitated. There is so much going on right now that I feel overwhelmed and powerless.
It's hard for me to realize that I don't have to handle everything alone. These things that are going wrong were planned by the Creator of the universe. He knows the number of hairs on my head (not many these days...I'm pulling it all out!). He knows my heart better than I do.
He knows how my heart breaks.
He knows when I cannot handle anymore.
He hears when I cry.
So why am I so panicked? Why am I wasting precious time and energy with worry? My prayer for this week is that my soul will be calm. I need a little peace. And I'm giving all my worry to the One who controls all things. He knows what to do, how to do it, when to do it.
He knows; he just knows.
"Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine."
Just before Christmas, my kitchen cabinets were painted. They were originally a yellow oak finish, and the kitchen was DARK! They look great, but something was missing. The hardware needed to be changed; so the hubs and I looked around, but new hardware is expensive. Instead, I bought a can of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint. Now my hardware looks fabulous, if I do say so myself! Here's how I did it:
1. Take off the existing hardware.
See the old color? Yuck!
2. Give the knobs a good scrub.
3. Get the knobs ready to paint. I had an old piece of styrofoam that I was able to use. I stuck the knobs through the foam. That makes them stand tall, so they're ready to paint.
5. Give the hardware a generous coat of paint. (It may take 2-3 coats.)
6. Finished! And now my hardware looks brand new...for only about $5!
Have you read Sense and Sensibility? Without giving away the plot, the story involves a family of a widowed mother and three daughters. Two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, are polar opposites. Elinor, the eldest, is very composed, reserved, and polite. Marianne is spirited, tempestuous, and passionate. Throughout the novel, we see the benefits and disadvantages of both sisters' dispositions.
I'm a little more Marianne-ish. Sometimes my passion rears its ugly head takes over. When something upsets me, I'm more inclined to yell, to have fits of emotion. The hubs...he's a saint. He's the male version of Elinor. He sits patiently and waits for my frenzy to subside.
Passion is needed in life.
Passion is what moves us.
Passion is what makes us feel valued.
Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless. ~Honoré de Balzac
I missed last week's entry...whoops! Time just got away from me.
This week's theme is excitement.
Over spring break, I got to spend some time with my precious niece and nephew. We went to Lokomotion, a small fun park for kids and families. We rode go-karts, played laser tag, and a bunch of other games.
Sweet girl...she came in first!
Poor boy...he felt sick, but he drove like a champ!
Do you ever feel that the people around you really don't know you at all? Sometimes, I put up walls that make it hard to know my true feelings. Sometimes, people don't even try to really know me. This week, Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop inspired me to write about what others would realize if they truly knew me.
If you know me, you know that my favorite color is blue.
If you really knew me, you would say that my favorite color is the gray of the ocean after a storm.
If you know me, you know that I want to travel the world, to see the sights.
If you really knew me, you would see that I'm comfortable in my little house, in the safety of its walls.
If you know me, you know that I have a gift for scathing sarcasm.
If you really knew me, you would hear insecurity rising in the intonations of my voice.
If you know me, you know that I've got my whole life planned from now to forever.
If you really knew me, you would realize I'm terrified to make the wrong choice, to fail.
If you know me, you know that I'm an introvert.
If you really knew me, you would hear the neediness in my silences.
If you know me, you know that I'm trying to grow up.
If you really knew me, you would see that I need my momma just like everyone else.
If you know me, you know that I don't like to stand out in the crowd.
If you really knew me, you would hear me shouting, "Here I am! Notice me!"
If you really knew me, you would know that I want it all.
Have you heard the statistic that 50% of all marriages end in divorce?
Normally, I don't say anything about it. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, especially if they've been divorced or are having marital issues. Today, however, I'm letting it all out.
I am not an expert, by any means. My parents have been married for almost 29 years. I was lucky enough to grow up seeing a strong, happy marriage. I've been married for 4 years now. The hubs and I have had our share of obstacles to work through, and we've learned more about God's plan for us through those obstacles. I'm really passionate about marriage and helping others learn how to make it work.
Over the past couple of months, the hubs and I have been working with two different couples who are struggling to make their marriages better. When I talk to these people, I just want to scream, "STOP BEING SO SELFISH!" Egocentric behavior is the most damaging thing in a marriage. When we focus more on our own needs rather than the needs of our spouse, we're essentially saying, "I love myself more than I love you. What I want matters; your opinion doesn't count."
Unfortunately, our culture is highly self-serving, but we can change our way of thinking. We have to focus on the needs of others as much as our own. The Message translation of the Bible says that we should "love others as well as" we love ourselves. In order to love someone as well as I love myself, I have to make sacrifices. Marriages have no chance of survival without sacrifice.
Quite often, I see couples who say they love each other, but their actions do not support that statement. We all want to love our husbands and wives the best way possible, right? We cannot do that without loving God first. God is love; He created love. He knows what it is and what means more than we can ever understand. We have to learn to love from the Creator of love. Until we learn to love the way that God loves, we will not love our spouses as well as we should. By loving God and growing closer to Him, we love and grow closer to our spouses.
Marriages don't last unless you're willing to work for them. With some soul-searching, a little faith, and a lot of hard work, all marriages can have a happy ending.