Act Your Age

 

050d337f78b2af662959ccccb8086736e1c0ea-wmLast week was a bad week.  After making progress on some plans we were making for my 18-year-old son with RAD, he started to backslide. He stole money and food from us and the neighbors, he lied so many times that even he couldn’t keep them straight and finally he packed a bag and left on foot….barefoot at that.

Once again I had the “What am I supposed to do with this Lord?” conversation with God. “You created him wise enough to scheme and manipulate and simple enough to run away from home in his bare feet?! Is tough love appropriate when we are never sure of his level of understanding?”

Well, he ran to his biological grandmother’s which gave me five days to stew. Five days to be angry at him, angry at God, angry at the world. I wallowed in a vat of, guilt anger and despair. I treated myself to yet another pity party and entertained myself with not cooking meals, not making my bed and sleeping during the day. I even tried cursing a bit to show how angry I was.  Take that!

George and I attended a therapy session for ourselves. (Imagine that. Years and years of therapy with a RAD kid and now we need to attend without him.) The therapist agreed that I was the angriest she’s ever seen me and that as I suggested, I was a victim of chronic abuse and PTSD. It was pretty obvious.  However, the session ended with my making the statement, “When this is all over and we come back and everything is fine, I’ll share…”

BrrrrZzzzLeeeap. (Make that sound of a needle on a record player sliding across the record to get to the beginning again.)  Did you hear that? “When everything is fine.” I knew it would be fine again, I just didn’t know when.

The following day, I had my nails done (since I had chewed them off the day before in therapy!) and though my appointment was at 10:00 no one saw me until 10:20, the color the manicurist picked was not flattering and the chatter of other clients about drove me through the roof.  My husband picked me up and asked how I made out.  I burst into tears. Not yet.  It wasn’t fine yet.

My faith was so challenged. Why wasn’t God fixing this? It’s been a chronic problem for 17 years and there’s no resolution. So painful. Wait. Maybe God was saying “no.” We Christians know God says, “Yes, No and In my own time” but have you heard anyone talk about a “no” they got prior to death? Nope. Because that is where hope comes in. We keep hoping, our hope is in the Lord who is able to do more than we can imagine…so why isn’t He doing it? I recognized that maybe I was getting a “no.” Should I learn to accept that? I became like a child whose parent had said, “No.” I read my Bible because I didn’t want to be disobedient but I wasn’t happy about it. I threw the party I mentioned earlier and I went to bed saying to God, “You can hold me if you want, but I’m not speaking to you.”

Well, as they always do, things have returned to our “normal,” kid has returned home and we are “fine” as predicted.

Today I read Phil 3:13-16

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

All of us who are mature? OUCH! Only let us live up to what we have already attained? OOOOOH! So my kid spent a week not doing all the things he’s been taught. He spent days not recalling all the lessons he should’ve learned years ago. I did the same. Looks like we both need to grow up, mature and act our age and live up to what we’ve already attained.

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A Dictionary, My Date Book, The Bible & The Yellow Pages

IMG_1661A dictionary, my date book, the Bible, the Yellow Pages,…..Things that no one uses? Things that are obsolete? Things that we don’t need? Things that have been replaced by smart phones?

Seriously, today I looked up a word in the dictionary. I still do this often, maybe once or twice a week. I still find the dictionary amazing, full of so many words with the meanings right beside them! Oftentimes when I read a word in a book, I guess at its meaning and move onto the rest of the sentence, but a dictionary….aaaaah….there is no mystery, the meaning is right there. Amazing.

The Bible. Also another book I use often. I read it daily and there are many words I do not know in it and frequently I go to the dictionary for help. The dictionary aids me some and can define words, but the true mystery of the meaning may not become evident to me immediately. Actually, for the true meaning, I have to consult the author and not the dictionary.

I mentioned my date book, and the yellow pages too.  Books that my millennial children see of no value whatsoever.  They have apps for all of that! They also could or may have apps for the dictionary and Bible too, so all of these books can be removed from your bookshelf and put onto your phone and placed in the palm of your hand.  Could using them be made any easier? And yet, it seems that the ease and accessibility have not made most people read the Bible more.

I think it comes down to making reading your Bible an intentional daily act. Whether you grab a cup of tea and your leather bound bible off the shelf or if you have your phone sound a daily alarm to alert you to follow your daily reading plan (yes it will even do that for you,) you must be intentional.

You may have heard the story about if we treated our Bibles like our cell phones how much better the world would be…I will share it below…but I bet if you held your Bible in your hand all day, you’d eventually open it and read.

The dictionary, my Bible, my date book and the Yellow Pages – Things I value and refer to often, (except for the Yellow Pages….who needs it?)

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Attitude is Everything

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I’m sitting in my car in the empty cinema parking lot enjoying the morning.  Crazy right?  The radio announcers were talking about the oppressive heat today and I know it’s early and I may complain later but right now…it is well with my soul.  I have the windows down, the breeze is blowing, I’m in the shade of one of the five trees in this parking lot next to a concrete island filled with mulch.  A paradise? No. A parking lot? Yes. I wonder why it is that we can sometimes find contentment and joy in a parking lot when other times we can’t find it in a celebration or typical happy place? We can spend a ton of money to travel to a destination to not feel as I do right now. I’ve done it. At one time, I made my family matching T-shirts that said AIE – Attitude is Everything and I believe that’s true, but I also think expectations may be even more important than attitude.  There’s a joke I’ve seen that says “Happiness is found lowering your expectations…lower….lower than that….even lower…ok, right there is good.”  Laugh, but recognize the truth. We may all be happier if we lower our expectations.  When I dropped my daughter off at music lessons for two hours and decided to pull into this parking lot, did I expect it to be this haven? This place of peace with birdsong filling the air? I did not and yet that’s what I got. A beautiful morning and a beautiful place to sit and read. Attitude IS everything and I feel blessed.decorative-line-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-ezxo3g-clipart

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
–Psalm 29:11

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Stuffing Balls – A Recipe

recipe-575434_960_720We are about to enter our final summer holiday weekend at our River House.  School is back in session and the days of boating and swimming are soon going to be in our past, but we have one weekend left to enjoy.  We also have one more weekend this summer to return home at weekend’s end with a car full of buns.  The “too many buns saga” continues.  Everyone brings buns and yet, no one chooses to eat them.  I’ve shared my recipe for French Toast Casserole before and now I’d like to share my Aunt Martha’s Stuffing Ball recipe.  Another great use for leftover bread and buns!

STUFFING BALLS

1/4 C Butter

1/4 C Chopped Onions

1 C Chopped Celery

Saute butter, onion and celery until soft.  Beat one egg. Add 1/2 can of Cream of Chicken soup, 1/2 C Water, Salt and Pepper and add to above mixture.  Pour mixture over 8-10 C of bread cubes (or ripped up pieces of buns!) Form Balls.  (Makes about 20 balls.)  Put in 9×13 Casserole dish.  Mix 1/2 Can Cream of Chicken soup and 1/4 C melted butter.  Pour over stuffing balls.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

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The Sound of Sweet Music

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I retreated upstairs after dinner to do some reading.  It was so nice to have time to just relax.  The sound of beautiful music drifted from the living room as Kaylee played her instrument.  Not the violin that she has been practicing for a few years and not even the piano which she also takes lessons for.  Today I am listening to the sweet sound of the first day with her new clarinet.

Yes, today we rented a clarinet for her to learn to play.  She brought it home, assembled it and began to play.  She was immediately able to make music with it. (Sing a long with me to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.)  “E, D, C, D, Squeak, squeak, squeak, D, D, Screech, E, Squawk, Squeal,” you get the idea. After that imagine Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Hot Cross Buns and some other early band favorites in a similar fashion.

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Though the technique is a bit lacking, I wasn’t being sarcastic when I said that I was relaxing listening to the sound of beautiful music.  What is beautiful about this music?  It is made by her.  What is also beautiful about this music? It is original.  It is not recorded and it is not being played on an electronic device.  This sound is music to my ears because it is not the sound of silence I hear when she is plugged into her iPod.  Her face is buried in a music book and not glued to a screen.  There is no music sweeter than that and I am grateful.

You may remember, though, that I did say that I retreated upstairs, the door is shut and maybe tomorrow I’ll even recommend she practice outside….just to get some fresh air, of course.

 

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No Purse, No Bag, No Sandals

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I woke this morning full of anxiety.  We have so much to do.  So many fun events on the schedule and so much planning to make them happen.  I tried to rest my mind and journal, read, and meditate, but my mind kept speeding along and always returning to the stress involved in preparing to go to Creation Festival Northeast.  I have never attended this festival and camping with 70,000 people could prove to be a big stretch for me.  I don’t camp.  We have a house on the river and sometimes we refer to it as “going to camp,” but the truth is it is carpeted and has all the modern conveniences necessary.  Not truly a “camp.”  So, I’m planning on going camping.  I need to pack sunscreen, rain gear and …even forks?!  So much to think about.

I don’t think I worry much about my appearance and the fact that I will probably camp sans makeup is not a concern, but this morning while trying to quiet my soul to pray, I remembered that I won’t have a hair dryer.  My hair is a mess without a hair dryer.  I won’t need to curl it or straighten it, but I do need a hair dryer.  OK, so that is another challenge I will have to face.  In addition to remembering to pack toilet paper, bug spray and a pan to boil water for my morning cup of tea, I now have to consider a hat!

Oh Lord, how can I focus on my devotions with all of this reeling through my mind?! Because of the habit of rising each morning and doing it, I sit at the table and begin.  My heart’s not in it, but I will be disciplined and seek peace through scripture.  Today I am on Day #22 of a Summer Bible Reading Challenge and I am reading through the New Testament in 3 months.  It is scheduled and each day I know which chapters to read.  Today’s selection was Luke 22, 23 and 24.  As I mentioned, I wasn’t really in a very good place to be comprehending, but I kept reading.  I laughed out loud when I got to Luke 22:35:

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered.

Oh Lord, what a sense of humor you have!  So, if you sent them out without purse, bag or sandals, I guess I can go without a hair dryer!

 

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Dear Friend,

IMG_0585I’ve been writing and re-writing this Thank You note in my mind for days and the truth is, I can’t quite figure out how to write it yet. You see, there is no way I can explain what your kind deeds have meant to me without first telling you all the negative things that have been going on in my life and I think you know me well enough to know that I’m not a negative person. So, in the interest of trying to explain and in the hopes of being vague enough to not cause more grief, I thought I’d let you know how important your kind acts have been!
This spring there has been a war raging in our home. Nothing big enough to make the papers, but it has been a constant deluge of bad situations. Every day, I was confronted with something, figured out a way to handle it, and the next day it was a new surprising event. God is good and continued to show me grace and favor in the midst of the chaos. (Note: I said “in the midst” He did not shield me from the chaos but was beside me!) My son had some major trauma that was not in his control. No one should have to deal with what that boy had to deal with and all of it during his senior year. You know, that year that is supposed to be full of rainbows and dreams? His was full of doubt, trauma and an ugliness that I can’t even begin to imagine. Not knowing how to cope, he acted out with bad behaviors of his own which caused him even more pain. And, as his pain increased, his parents’ pain increased. And though his trauma took center stage there was a lot of other things going on in our lives too that we had to contend with.
That’s where you come in. You will never know what your kind words meant to me. The note, the card, the meal, the call, the hug, the plant, the text, the shoulder to cry on, the idea,  and the desire to lessen our pain in any way did not go unnoticed. Now, if you friend, were unaware of the struggles we were facing, you helped simply by being you. You made me smile, you encouraged me by assuming that everything was “normal.” You went for a walk with me, sewed a costume, mentioned mimosas, rolled your eyes, gave me a pedicure, shared an empathetic nod, and changed back into clothes to go out with me after you had already put on your PJ’s. You showed up for no reason and just were there for me. You asked me to do something and thought I was capable when I didn’t feel like I was capable of anything. If I eluded to some struggles you lifted me up in prayer. (I know you did, because I could feel it!)
I desperately want to share more with you. I want you to know how bad the details are so that I can then tell you how good my God is, but I don’t think that would serve Him well. I want to tell my side of the story to counter what may be being shared around town, but I won’t. I’ll simply thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my lifeline and helping me celebrate spring and all of it’s successes. I refer to this time as the season of Blessings and Burdens and I’ve had my share of both! You have been a blessing.  Thanks again!

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Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.      

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.                                                                         –1 Kings 19:3-7

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