31 Days...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Favorite People

   This afternoon one of my favorite people came to visit me. Turns out he even drove out of his way to come see me. How sweet is that. I hope the special "Irish-Italian" spaghetti made it worth his while! I met Dennis this past summer when I went on my first deployment with Rapid Response Team of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association(wow, that's a mouthful).  He was one of the team leaders - or something like that - crew leaders - I don't remember what they call it. But anyway - he quickly became one of my "Favorite People" (FP). His commitment to Samaritan's Purse(SP) and his love of the Lord were so incredibly evident to those of us blessed to get to know him. But he wouldn't like all this talk about himself...but nonetheless it's true. He spends his life (for now anyway - as he told me "Until God tells me to do something else or I fall off a roof" - I hope it's not the latter) traveling around the country mostly with SP to help with disaster recovery and rebuilds. If he isn't with SP he is out there helping someone else. To me he is a true modern day disciple. He has left most everything behind and followed The Call to serve his Lord. It means lots of time on the road, little privacy, hard work and being with strangers a great deal of the time. He doesn't seem to mind though.
   Sometimes this sounds like a great life to me. Go help where people need you, serve the Lord, little material crap to drag you down. But I don't think this is a realistic lifestyle for me at the present time - my two middle school daughters might take issue! And I would tire quickly of community living and showers! One week here and there is about all I prefer to endure! I like my own bed and my own bathroom. So his willingness to go without those things makes him a pretty amazing guy to me.
   But I've gone off topic here a  bit - because my title is Favorite People...so returning from my bunny trail...another of my FP's went away today. She's a gal I teach with at my school. She teaches art and drama and we have eaten lunch together everyday for the past year with the exception of the month in the summer we were out. She's had a tough go here recently and she has held her head up and been so strong and amazing through a very hard and dark and painful time. She is beautiful, funny, and caring and I am so sad to see her go. I had two other FP's from work leave me this past fall when one retired and the other went to another school. So now all my FP's have gone and lunch isn't the same. Now I eat with some other wonderful people, but these 3 are very special to me. 
   The FP's in our lives carry us through the tough stuff, they inspire us, they laugh with us and even sometimes at us, they encourage us, they call us on our stuff sometimes too. There are probably about 6-8 people I consider my FP's. I get incredibly excited when I know I am going to see them. They bring me joy. I know I can just jump in with them and they will follow right along with the storyline even if it's been awhile.  They accept me as I am - all lumpy and bumpy and imperfect. They tolerate my loud laugh - some even like it.
Who are your FP's? DO they know they are your FP's? I try to make sure mine know-  but I know I could do a much better job. I think I am going to work on that. Boy the list of things I need to work on sure is getting long....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Intentionally Writing, Yet Oh So Tired!

So I started my Spiritual Formation class last night at Pfeiffer University.  I get up at 5:30 or 6:00 most mornings and on class nights I have to drive 2 hours there and 2 hours back and so it is 11:00pm before I get home. That's a long day. So, needless to say - I'm tired tonight. I should have been reading for class and writing earlier rather than plopped on the couch watching the season opener of American Idol with my two girls. But I made that choice-  intentionally.
One of our tasks in this class is to keep a journal. It always amazes me how many people have NEVER kept a journal. Where do you put all those thoughts? What do you do with them? Anyway, I have kept journals on and off my entire life. They have gotten me into trouble on at least two occassions. Boyfriends should NEVER read their girlfriends' journals - I'm just saying! Guess they had it coming.
So I have decided that I am going to write mine in this blog. Now perhaps I should just start a new blog and keep it more to myself. But as I have thought about this for the past week or so, realizing that I am already behind in my own goal with this blog and my living life intentionally this year - I figured this is the way to do it. I am just going to be very bold and very courageous and really put myself out there and use my blog as my journal. Now I usually prayer journal my personal and spiritual struggles with God in a notebook. I have in the past nearly 2 years that I have had this blog shared some of that with you - whoever "you" might be. I guess there are one or two of "you" out there anyway! ;) But I am going to TRY, and I emphasize TRY, to be out there and honest for the next 14 weeks as I journey through this class and my journaling.
Here is what I hope to accomplish through the class:
1) A better understanding of my calling. I feel like I have lost touch with it, with God and quite honestly sometimes, with myself. I want to know that I know that I know what God has called me to and for. I need to know for certain that it wasn't this romantic notion I had in my head based on the events and people in my life at the time. I was certain then, so why am I no longer certain. Is it a coincidence that I have heard two sermons on "calling" this week?
2) To grow closer in my relationship with God. Period.
3) To learn skills that will help me to help others in their journey of faith.
4) To build my spiritual muscle through the classic disciplines of faith - learning new ones, trying ones I have never tried before and strengthening the ones that I find fit me best.
5) An "A". I told you I was going to be honest. I like getting "A's" and so I do - I want an "A"!
So, here we are. Sort of a take-off point. Some days I may write a lot and some very little. I may even try my hand at art and photography - assuming I can figure out how to add that stuff to my blog!
Feel free to journey with me. I would love for you to share your thoughts and comments with me.
Now - it's time for bed. Good night.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fitting In...

I have about three posts running in my head right now...but as I was getting ready for bed tonight, after putting my two vastly different daughters to bed..this one came to me...we'll see where it goes.

My youngest was hit with a nasty stomach bug Sunday night, was diSTRESSed that she was going to miss school not only Monday, but obviously today too. Thankfully today ended up being a snow day  -so she only missed school one day. My oldest I think secretly wanted to get the bug or some form of it so she COULD stay home. So anyway, as I was tucking my youngest in she was in tears because she thought she wasn't prepared for tomorrow. This kid is more organized than most adults - and it is painful to see her get so upset over stuff all the time. Whereas my oldest - who is extremely smart and hasn't had to work hard through school - unlike her sister - seems to care less lately. I can't seem to get her to care! One needs to care less and the other just needs to care more than she currently does which seems like NONE!

Now - the oldest seems cool with her group of nerdy friends - they pride themselves in being nerds or geeks - whichever it is. Different girlfriends come and go and she never seems bothered by it. She just does her thing and SEEMS to be fine with it all  The youngest is really having a tough time finding her niche of friends this year. Sixth grade has been a big transition friend-wise for her-she doesn't seem to know where she fits in, her best friend of 5 years seems to have found new best friends and it is killing her. It is all causing her great STRESS.  I'm pretty sure she is well on her way to an ulcer at the ripe old age of 11!

All that to get to where I was going in the first place - fitting in. So lately I can relate to Daughter 2(D2). I just haven't been sure where I fit in these days. I keep telling myself I'm okay with it - but it does sort of get to me sometimes. I don't feel like I fit in at my church any longer - funny how starting seminary got in between me and church. I don't feel like I fit in with my usual group of girlfriends - they are all married and I don't know - it's just different lately. I love them, but I just feel like an outlier. (Is that the right word? You know in math when something is way out there from the rest of the group?)  I know I don't fit into my job - enough said on that. So, why am I at this point? Why has God brought me here? (Yes, I believe God is responsible!)

Well - I think I get it - or I hope I do anyway! I am an outlier because God needs me to be. He is moving me away from the familiar and what I am comfortable with and towards a new direction. Fitting in (which is part of our human condition - we want to belong) isn't  what will take us to the new and exciting places we want to go. Just think of all the great men and women who seemed odd or crazy in history...did they fit in? (I'd name some examples but the only one that comes to mind is Einstein!) So I'm trying to learn to accept that this phase is just part of the journey to what God has in store for me next. Jesus certainly didn't fit in to his culture. I wish I could somehow explain that to D2 - to learn to embrace being different and not always fitting in. To be BOLD and COURAGEOUS in who she is (who I am) and what she believes (and what I believe) and what is important to her (and what is important to me)...

I think D1 has embraced it.
She likes it when I tell her she is weird!
Now if I could just get her to care...

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year - A New Life

I've been lurking around many amazing blogs lately. I had no idea what all was out there until just a few months ago. One blog lead to another and then another! I am still completely clueless about the whole linking thing, and one of my goals is to figure it out. But you have to have something to link first - right? And there are people out there making money just through their blogging! Women are publishing books as a result of their blogs! Amazing to me!
So, my goals for the new year -although I haven't worked through them specifically yet...are summed up by two words. LIVING INTENTIONALLY!
One of my favorite bloggers used this in one of her posts a while back - I would link you to it if a) I knew how and b) I could remember exactly which one it was! But anyway...it really resonated with me then and then this morning another gal - who blogs and used to teach computer technology and I would love to meet cause she seems so incredibly cool...used it on this really cool poster thing she made with all her resolutions on it! Seems to be a theme!
So, I am going to begin my New Year trying to live intentionally. Funny how right off the bat - as I was way ready to get up do my devotional, lunch already packed - life showed up in the form of my 11 year old daughter with a wicked stomach bug! LOL! The irony of it all!
But I will work to intentionally live up to my blog title...Living Bold and Courageous. The only one stopping me is ME!
It means I will have to get up and be ready to go. It means I will have to make myself move. It means I will have to make better choices of what I eat. It means I will have to plan ahead. It means I will have to say "no", but it might mean I have to say "yes" as well. It means I put God first. It means I focus on my daughters more than anyone else. It means I do the hard work still to be done. It means I play more and laugh more. It means I clean out the crap - physically and emotionally. It means I see God, seek God, EXPECT God and TRUST God. It means I let go of MY expectations and allow God to lead me. It means giving every red cent that I earn a name for what it is doing. It means sometimes having to tell my girls "no, not right now". It means teaching them the value of every red cent. It means giving all that we can give to those who need it way more than we do. It means showing those I love how much I really do love them. It means speaking positive and encouraging words. It means seeing the grace, giving thanks and living the joy.
Maybe my resolution should be "Living Eucharisteo" to borrow from my favorite book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. ThanksLIVING...as I think she or one of the other bloggers who knows her calls it.
So, in the midst of an unplanned day off, with stomach bug ridden daughter, I begin my year of living eucharisteo intentionally.