Tuesday, August 2, 2011

These Ordinary Adventures have moved!

To find the new and improved Adventures in the Ordinary website, click anywhere on the picture :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Message Received in Fragments

Not too long ago, I had a bad few days.

Fear and depression grabbed onto my mind and sent me plunging downward. In a moment of strength, I threw a bottle into the ocean with a message for help. My friend received the bottle and read my plea. She sent me a text message and told me I was going to go with her to her "Crossfit" class. Similar to a "boot-camp" experience, it's a new way of exercising for the insane.

She told me that she understood my choice to not use medications in my battle against my depression, but she said that she also knew that the releasing of endorphins helps with the fight. I agreed to join her and met her early the next morning.
The exercise was awful. There was running, rowing, jumping and pulling. It was as awful as I had dreaded it would be. The instructor was a beautiful woman and I liked her immediately. She pushed me and encouraged me. At one point she said, "Stop thinking about it so much and just do it". My eyes welled up and began to sting, as all of the thoughts and fears I had been holding in began to roll down my face in the form of tears.
This lovely instructor had no idea how powerful her words were to me. All of the thinking and rethinking about what I should do was pulling me further and further away from the place I longed to be. I just needed to stop thinking about my life so much, and start doing my life. 
Today, looking back at that dreadful day exercising, I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit goes with me wherever I go; ready to prompt and engage, He opens my mind to the mind and heart of the Father.  I am also thankful that the power of the Holy Spirit can use words said by anyone to accomplish the will of the Father. 
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
And now for the REST OF THE STORY...

This was FIRST written exactly 3 months ago
And yet, like a dog who returns to his vomit, I allowed myself to struggle again with these frustrations again this week. Again this week I allowed myself to feel 
And so, I go and seek the voice of the one that calms the seas. I throw my message in a bottle out once again, trusting completely that the Holy Spirit will receive my message, and make me who I need to be to receive the messages of truth.

And then I hear Your voice.

photo credit Tom Raven Photography
Fierce tides are raging all around and my boat feels very small.  My clothes are wet and my fingers are tired from gripping the side of the small craft. I take a chance and look over the side and into the raging waters:
alarm clocks, gasoline prices, college tuition, court dates, jury duty, car registrations, on-line schooling, HTML codes, status updates, follow me, dishwasher repairs, grooming bills, mortgage payments, IRS bills, job applications, orthodontist bills, mammograms....
I close my eyes and pray I am not swallowed into the ocean of it all.

And then I hear Your voice. 

"He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed." Psalm 107:29

"God is here when we are wholly unaware of it." A.W. Tozer

{Wrote it all and added the pictures and links in 5 minutes} 
{Blog Hop 5 minute Friday...this week write on the word STILL}

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hanging out in Christine's Bathroom

I was asked to Guest Post for The Collins Clan while it's author, Christine, enjoys a fabulous vacation in ARUBA! 

Now, for my non-blogging friends, Guest Posting is kinda like House sitting. Yay! I get to use their toilet, look through the medicine cabinet, watch cable TV channels we don't have at home...oh, and finish off that gallon of Rocky Road ice cream in the fridge! 

Head on over to The Collins Clan to read my post...and check out some of Christine's thoughts while you are there. She is a great writer with an incredible whit. You may want to follow her :)

Bye for now, see you in Christine's bathroom!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

72 Hour Psychiatric Hold

Okay, let's just let it all out.
"What the H-E-double hockey sticks do I have to lose?"
People say that I am unusually transparent
...I may as well live it to the fullest.

There was a time when my behavior led me through the doors of the Hospital's Emergency Room and then up to the "3rd floor" for a 72 hour hold. 

Yep, 3 days in a pink room with twin beds and bars on the window. My mirror was made of metal and there was a shared shower room with clear plastic shower curtains. Just like camp, but, completely different.

I shared my room with a dark eyed girl whose bra straps seemed to continually be trying to escape from under her shirt, landing on her upper arm. She had dirty hair and she kept all of her things in a brown paper bag and carried it with her the whole weekend. We had meals in a common room with people who were truly struggling. There was a young man in camouflage clothing who insisted on keeping one of his arms up over his head at all times. He made no attempt to talk to anyone, he just walked around looking at what the rest of us were doing.  There was another man that stood all day by the locked doors to exit. Just stood there. All day.

There were others who seemed more like me and we sat together and made paper collages for craft time. For years, my son would keep one of my collages hanging on the bulletin board in his room. I don't know what it meant to him, but it was a constant reminder to me of where I had been. There was a TV in the common room that played music videos and, ironically, one of the videos that played a couple times during my weekend stay was Matchbox Twenty's song, Unwell.

I remember knowing the whole time that I was there, that I didn't belong there and I was fully aware that that I had made many small decisions that had led me to this place.  I remember being incredibly fearful that my being there was going to cost my husband and my children greatly. I remember holding onto the guilt of those 72 hours for a long time.  Even now, I am getting tears in my brown eyes for the pain that I caused.  

My selfish thoughts and behavior led me to a place where my obsessive nature took root. I became completely overwhelmed with my environment and I had a strong, strong sense of needing to accomplish MORE. I felt failure in just being me, I had to be more in order to matter. I longed for a way out of my situation--and a way to find joy.  Peace eluded me even in my sleep.

Pretty ugly, huh?

The good news is...they didn't keep me. 
The other good news is...I don't reside in that place emotionally either. 
The bad news is...I could.

I could go back to that state of emotional crisis in a New York minute. I could become completely drawn into competition and allow that to guide me down the path of obsession. I could fixate on things of the world and not on things of the Cross and become so absorbed with how others are "seeing" me that I wouldn't be able to see anything clearly. 

Even with this outlet of blogging...

I could become driven. 
I could become desirous. 
I could become determined.

I could allow the disappointments in what I lack to dictate how I respond to what I have.

And it could happen in one quick click.

So, how do I avoid another 72 hour hold in a Psychiatric Hospital? I have to keep pulling back from certain things that I naturally am drawn to. I have to pull back on the reigns of competition and self promotion. I have to find JOY in my now. Not, joy in what might happen one day, but, joy in my today as it truly is.

Deciding to see the Beauty in Simple things...
  • when a text message, from my daughter, wakes me to say that she has created a blog
  • when the conditioner for my hair falls into my palm-- in the shape of a heart
  • when my kitten chases a lizard under the patio table {go baby lizard!}
  • when the wind walks with us down the street, as we go to buy ice cream
  • when a cup of coffee is delivered to me as I write
  • when the one delivering the coffee is a son, who has turned into a man

And Deciding to discover Joy through Disciplines...
  • with a bible verse to meditate on..read it in my shower, read it on my mirror, engrave it on my heart.
  • with a book, written before I was born, that requires me to "think"
  • with a walk up the steep hill near my house--to the top? To the top!
  • with a friendly timer to call me away from my computer. Enough is enough.

    But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 
    We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; 
    perplexed, but not in despair; 
    persecuted, but not abandoned; 
    struck down, but not destroyed.
    2 Corinthians 4:7-9 

    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell.  
    I know right now you can't tell but stay awhile maybe then you'll see
    a different side of me.
    I'm not crazy I'm just a little impaired 
    I know right now you don't care
    But soon enough you're gonna think of me and how I used to be...me.
    --Unwell by Matchbox Twenty


    Picture Perfect {food}

    When is food not picture perfect? 

    When you don't have it 
              and you don't know how you're going to get it  for
              the ones you love. 

    One of my most favorite memories this year came in November, when I got to be involved in collecting all the fixings for Home-cooked Thanksgiving Dinners. We passed them along to people in our community who might not have been able to afford such an extravagance

    We were collecting frozen turkeys, veggies, rolls and pies and I was overwhelmed with complete joy at the unselfishness of others. 

    Their unselfishness was truly picture perfect! 

    gobble gobble...

    a girl, a boy, and a blog

    Introducing the brand new blog of my daughter, Emily Jean. 
    Follow the newlyweds at Just Us Two...for now,  
    as they purge through the mundane 
    to find pleasure in the simple things.

    So click on the LINK or click on the picture above :)

    The Way I See it WEDNESDAY Blog Hop

    The Way I See it WEDNESDAY is a Blog Hop designed for those who want to share their thoughts in either WoRDs or PiCTuReS

    Life can feel like a Ferris wheel, as we go round and round, sometimes exciting sometimes mundane. Through the days of pleasure and grief many of us have found that when we pour ourselves into our craft, we feel more whole and more fulfilled, but, part of the JOY of expressing ourselves is the way it touches others. We have a desire for community and a desire to "be heard". 

    The link will open on Tuesday evenings for all the California girls to get linked up with the Midwest Farmer's wives and the New York City Folk. The Way I See it Link will stay open until Sunday. So link up and then visit other lovelies like yourself. {leaving comments is always appreciated}

    There are no rules, 
    if you want to follow--thank you. 
    If you don't--that's okay.

    I would LOVE IT if you used the button that you'll see on sidebar! 
    {but I won't delete you if you don't}
    Buttons are just an eye-catching way to keep it going...plus, can you imagine a world without buttons?! Good Grief...that's a lot of chest hair I wouldn't want to see!

    So... I shall see you AT THE HOP!
    It's Wordless or Wordy.
    It's Wonderful. 
    It's Wednesday.

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Life's a Beach when You're a Female Dog

    GUEST BLOGGER! Lucy of Narnia

    I am Lucy and I am continuing in the count of the 1000 Gifts from God. There is so much to be thankful for in this little life that I have. 
    84:: I have a great yard with grass and a few trees. There are plenty of lizards and birds to help me get the exercise I need. 

    85:: My bark is powerful enough to keep both racoons and airplanes out of my yard. I protect because I love. I love because I am loved. 
    86:: The Alpha Male and the woman took me to the beach. They told people that I was a good dog. I heard them say it over and over and that made the puppy in me want to leap. But, I remained still so as to not embarrass them.

    87:: On the way home, they gave me ice cream. Don't tell the cat about this. 
    88:: Some of the canines I tried to introduce myself to were shy. This is okay, because I remembered that even shyness is a gift. Being shy just means that maybe the person is being careful with their words. In my opinion most people are not careful enough. Most of the world just barks out what they think without enough thought. 
    89:: This is Gloria. Gloria didn't want to go to the beach on this day. She wanted to go to the mall and get a new collar for a party she is going to next month. I realized that I could count Gloria as one of my 1000 Gifts, because she brought out the encourager in ME! Because she didn't want to be there--I worked hard to be a better friend. That is a gift. 
    90:: Then there was that magical moment when I met Justin. Justin was just amazin'...I loved everything about him. I was really sad when we had to say goodbye. And I wondered if it was a curse. But, then I remember the Dylan Thomas quote:
    "Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion."
    And I remembered that this love is a gift--even if it didn't end the way I had hoped. Love rarely ends as we would hope. 
    91:: When I think of the things I learned from the time I spent with new friends and sea salted air, I know that there are more things to be learned and more gifts to be counted. And, just knowing this is another gift.

      Oh, and if you would like to read the guest post from The Cat (Luna Lovegood) follow this link to C is for Crazy Cat Lady

    friday favorite things | finding joy

    Tools for the Trade

    When I was 19 years old and a student in Acting School, I worked with my Dad, who was a carpenter by trade, on a building project. On weekends he was repairing and rebuilding a fire damaged duplex he owned. He would pay me (more generously than I deserved) to pound nails and spread stucco. It was during that time that my Dad taught me how to use a hammer correctly. I had used a hammer many times before, but it was then that I learned to hold it in a manner that the hammer would do the work--and not my arm.
    As a wedding gift my Dad gave me a tool kit made up of a hammer, tape measure, a level, a wrench and other handy gadgets--all with traces of the color pink. I guess he knew that in my new home I would need tools, and that I would no longer have the unlimited resources of the garage of a Licensed Contractor. 

    Tools for the trade. Not the blueprints. And not the finished product. Simply the tools to get me to where I was going. 

    Today, our lives and the lives of our children have been inundated with new tools--media tools. Everywhere we look we see the big blue f, we catch a glimpse of a blue bird as she goes twittering by, and we are encouraged to "get an app for that". Each generation has a new frontier to navigate--and this land of technology and social media seems to be theirs. And so, the way that I parent has had to find ways to incorporate that which they are drawn to, that which is just a normal part of their lives, into the things I want them to discover about themselves and the call that God has on their lives. 

    In my church's worship service this week, our Pastor shared a quote from Dr. W Edward Deming, from a time Deming was speaking to top management leaders in Japan during the 1950's--he was encouraging them on how to improve design, product quality and testing. At one point in the lengthy quote, Deming says, "Improve something every single day!" And when I heard that, I was reminded of my children and the goals they are trying to achieve in their own lives. And the strides that I want to see them make in achieving their goals. 

    We are called to use this tool of media to get our children to stretch and strain--to grow little by little. By doing this, the tools REMAIN tools and the children become better equipped to use them correctly

    Last night, my married daughter and I were discussing her starting a blog. Well, actually, I was telling her that I thought she should. She just got a fabulous camera and I have some great photo editing tools. I know how much blogging has inspired me, and I would love to see that creativity EXPLODE from inside of her. I would love to see her develop an interest she has into a creative passion that the Lord can use in exciting ways. How do I know the passion will explode? 

    I guess I don't. But, I still need to hand her the hammer and show her how to use it. And if the blog is the tool--then great! We are already a bit of a blogging family. And I encourage it all.
    My older son has one blog called Sill on Life, where he shares his thoughts and sometimes writes poetry. He has another blog titled Sill on Film --where he sometimes reviews movies. It doesn't define him, but it is there for him when he wants to express.

    My youngest child, also a son, has three blogs. He has one, that he writes on most frequently called Curiously Bizarre--where he practices his writing skills with both fiction and non-fiction. And he has two fiction sites--one is the story of a Superhero, Knight Phoenix, that my son created in Elementary school. The blog is titled, Angel of Fire and the other is the journey of the Biblical characters David and Saul, in a turn of the century American Western setting--called The Chronicles of Samuel. You can visit them if you are so inclined. Honestly, it doesn't matter to me if you do or you don't. Whether people read what my sons are writing or not doesn't matter, what matters to me is that they are using their gifts. 
    Through the time that we have been "playing" with our blogs, I have watched as my sons have been discovering new passions. Passion for poetry, passion for expression, passion for writing. Through these passions their lives will unfold as they discover ways to use their gifts to serve the Lord and further his kingdom.

    So, as I hammer away at these keys on my keyboard I ask my Heavenly Father each day, "Am I doing it right?" And, in the times that I feel His encouragement, I do all that I can to pass that along to my children--no matter how old.

    "Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, 
    and my fingers for battle" 
    Psalm 144:1

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    Six Word Ordinary Saturday Adventure

    Okay, well, if you don't know me...maybe that is a little misleading. I am not a "sister wife" nor, am I a jilted lover. I am, by the grace of God and for reasons I don't always understand, a Pastor's wife. 

    It 's a good life. 


    Actually, it has been a good life the whole time. It was just that there were a few years where my perspective was a bit off. Somewhere in the closet of guilt and grief, I allowed boxes of bitterness and selfishness to pile up. These were ugly boxes full of spiders and snakes, and every once in a while one of the creatures would crawl out of the closet and into the place that could have been pleasant. 

    But, long story short--the boxes aren't there anymore.
    And, today, my man, my husband of almost 24 years, is performing a wedding ceremony for a young couple at a beautiful venue in Newport Beach, California. And, I get to watch without any spiders or snakes to ruin my day.

    Happy Six Word Saturday. Happy me. 

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Just Have a Taste

    "This is so good... just have a taste!" 

    And then my life changes forever. I am 20-years-old and I am sitting in Angels Stadium at a Billy Graham Crusade and the Lord nudges me to make the trip to the bottom of the stairs and across the grassy field.

    A new fullness is coming my way that I had never known before. A new way to see myself and a new understanding of the world around me. And in this moment, I don't fully understand that this craving I have to be filled with the presence of the Lord will not go away completely. I will have many days where I wake up with a longing to be filled. And while I may wish that I could feel full all the time--this feeling is actually a gift from God. The needing to feel full is what will drive me to Him--to make me full. In order to be filled with His Spirit I have to draw near to Him. 

    But, on this day, I know none of that. I only know that I want a taste.

    Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Two Men and a Window

    This is an old story of two old men who were living out their days in a hospital, confined to their beds. As I thought of this fable today, I knew that I was supposed to share it with you. I had to write it from memory...I hope you enjoy!

    The beds were uncomfortable. The sheets were scratchy. The white walls were barren. It was one of the poorest hospitals in the bustling city. People who worked in the hospital were underpaid and over-worked and there were very few volunteers who came to the give of their time.  The old people in this hospital knew that they had been put there like a book on a shelf. After finishing a book, you no longer need it, but you cannot throw it away.

    On the 3rd floor, there was a room on the west side of the building where two old men lived. The room was actually much too small to accommodate two beds, but, due to the over crowding and underfunding of the hospital's budgetary needs--the two men had to share the room. It was easier for the nurses this way, as well. For they were so busy, they didn't need to come and check on the men. If something happened to one of them, the men would simply holler for help until a nurse on the ward heard them and came.

    In this small room, there was but one window and you could only see out of the window if you were in the bed that was nearest to its opening. The man who had been in the room first was closest to the window--and so his bed remained there when the second bed was added. The first man could see the street, the second man could only see the first man.

    The first man would think of his life and remember it well and he would say, "I am so blessed. I lived many years with my wife and though we never had children, we had each other. I am so blessed because even though she has gone on to Glory, I know that she does not suffer that and one day I will join her."

    The second man would answer the first man and say, "I am not blessed. My life has been hard. I worked day after day to build my home and to take care of my family. My children are too busy for me, and when they used to bring my Grandchildren to see me--the kids were too loud. Now my wife has died and I am alone. And one day...I will die all alone."

    And, so they lived together, but saw the world quite differently. And the only time that the second man ever felt a twinge of happiness was when the first man would share his window. For, although they could not move the beds, the first man would look out the window and share with the second man all the events that were happening outside on the street.

    The first man described the park, with its sparkling green grass, winding walkways, and its wooden benches. And most of all, its people
    "...the trees have leaves that have turned dark purple. And near the sweetest tree, there is a bench. Today on the bench, I see two young lovers. He is wearing a baseball cap and she has on an orange flower print skirt. Oh, my! He is getting down on one knee. Well...I'll be...he is asking for her to marry him. She is crying now and hugging him! Well, I guess she said yes."

    The first man described the people he would see with such detail, that soon the two men had nicknames for the people in their park--the people so busy with life. 
    "...well, it looks like Harry the Hurried is late again, he's trying to tie that tie while he rushes through the park. The darn fool doesn't even notice Linda the Lonely Lovely Wallflower is wearing a new dress and has been watching him everyday for the last two weeks. She sits on the same bench day after day watching him go by. If he would just slow down, he could find such happiness..."
    Day after day, for hours, the first man would tell the second man what he saw out the window. Then one day, a thought occurred to the second man, "Why do I have to only see the world through his eyes? Why can't I look out the window? If only he were gone then I could sit in his bed. If only he were gone then I would get to enjoy the view for myself."

    And the second man allowed these thoughts to grow. And grow. And it wasn't too many days later that the first man had a difficult time breathing during the night. He called out to his roommate, "Friend, I cannot breathe very well...help me, my friend, call for me a nurse..."

    And even though the second man heard the pleas of the first man, he turned his head to the wall and pretended to sleep. He closed his eyes tighter than ever and imagined the park with its sparkling green grass, winding walkways, and its wooden benches. He imagined the people walking thought the edge of the park and thought of how nice it would be to finally be able to see them for himself.

    Morning came and the nurses came around and found that the first man had died in the night. They quickly moved him from the room and left his bed empty. The second man called to them a few hours later and asked, "Can I be moved to the bed near the window? Can you do it today? Can you do it now, so that I might enjoy the view while I grieve for my friend?"

    And so the man was moved and the blinds were adjusted so that he might be able to see. And when he turned his head to see the park, he was struck to the core and filled with grief for his friend who had loved him so. For out the window there was no view--there was only a brick wall. A wall to block any view that there might have ever been. 

    And when the man faced the brick wall to grieve for his friend, he grieved also for a park that did not exist, lovers who did not sit on a bench and people who were never there. And in the end, the bitter man was right about all claims he had made for his life. He did die all alone.

    When a Chair Becomes a Throne

    One sharp act of separation. I can completely identify with this moment. I lived it, and I have the scars to prove it.

    photo credit: Rembrandt / Wikipedia.com
    A long time ago there was someone who thought he was going to have to live through "one sharp act of separation". That man was named Abraham and he had a son, late in life, named Isaac. Abraham loved his son so intensely that his son actually became an idol to him. Finally, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. God told Abraham to take his son up on a mountain and slay him as an offering to the Most Holy.There is no doubt in my mind that Abraham would have rather taken his own life than the life of his son. But, he trusted God and was ready to make the sacrifice that God wanted. And, then God spoke and the plan was revised.

    Pretty extreme, huh?

    And, I wonder, do I do what Abraham does with my children? Do they slowly creep into the place where I am allowing them to reign on the throne of my heart? Unintentionally, I can allow myself to drawn into a place where I am so fascinated by what I can see, that I don't seek that which I cannot see. 

    My daughter died 16 and a half years ago, and I long to see her again. But, the truth is simple--she cannot be the reason that I want to go to Heaven. She is not good enough for that. She is not pure enough for that. 

    There was a verse that struck me, as though it were new, about a month ago. I was taken with it, so I wrote it down and hung it in my shower. (This is a great place to meditate on scripture and keep your faith fresh...and clean ;)

     "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body."
    2 Corinthians 4:10-11

    While I was staring at the verse one morning, a thought occurred to me:
    "I cannot carry around the death of my daughter. I have to carry the death of Jesus. The death of my daughter does not profit anyone. The death of Jesus has the power to save everyone."
    I would never do it to harm anyone, and I would only be motivated out of a love for her-- yet, it would grieve the heart of God if I allowed her life, her face, her story to reign in the place reserved for the Almighty. It would distance me from God if I allowed her chair to become a throne. 

    As the days of my life unfold, I don't want my story to merely reflect a woman who lost a child and endured, I want my faith to be constantly evolving and I want the Creator to be able to use me in the life I am living, not merely in the past I survived.

    For more stories and pictures about the Rocking Bear Chair 
    {pictured above} 
    visit my family blog and see the photo shoot in The Truth about the Chair. 

    To read thought provoking posts and posts on keeping your faith fresh,
    visit these sites that I am linking with today

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Topsy Turvy YOGA...for a cause?

    photo credit: www.thiscrazyweb.com
    I love Yoga...or wait, let me say that again. I love the idea of Yoga. I can imagine myself doing Yoga and it looks awesome. But, when I look in the mirror while I attempt it, it doesn't look so great. It's the illusion that I enjoy, not the reality. The reality of me doing Yoga is painful and embarrassing. The reality of me doing Yoga is when mirrors collide. Up looks backwards and down looks insane. It becomes a topsy turvy world--and I am at the center.

    But most of the things happening in our world are topsy turvy, aren't they? Take the issue of feeding the homeless. The cities where there is greater wealth have a harder time taking care of their indigent than the cities with a lower median income. The richest nation in the world has people suffering from malnourishment. And, it's a little upside down when we have to explain to Christians that we should help. The belief that it is a political issue and that the welfare system needs to be revamped is argued as if anything that is decided in Washington DC would ever excuse what Jesus has called us to do as individuals.

    photo credit: www.giantbomb.com
    And then the Topsy Turvyness of it all assaults my senses. I open my pantry and I see my excess and I choose items to give away. But, I could do more. I could give more. I could give up things that I have and do more.  I could...give...but what?

    In my community there is a prestigious workout center that does Yoga. I would never go there--because watching me do Yoga is not a reality that I want anyone else to have to endure. And I am comfortable in my NOT going--because going would take money. 

    But what happens when mirrors collide and it is actually a benefit to someone else for me to go to Yoga? Bikram Yoga in Covina is hosting a food drive. Bring in 5 cans of food and get a Yoga class for FREE. Yep. During the weekend of July 29-31st ~ Yoga Yourself for Families in Need. The food will be distributed through the Bumper Bag Ministry of Christ Church of the Valley in San Dimas. You can find details about the event on Facebook HERE or contact Janna Mascarin, in the CCV Food Ministry to make a food or monetary donation (jannam@ccvsocal.com)

    When we truly, truly give of ourselves, up looks backwards and down looks insane. It becomes a topsy turvy world--and Christ is at the center. And, I love the idea of that!

    Linking today with Holly to Pay It Forward :)

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    The Tweets of King Henry the VIII

    I've heard people complain that spending too much time on-line can cause problems in your marriage. Couples who were "doing just fine" suddenly have issues because he is always online playing fantasy football and she is always online adding more and more pins to her boards on Pinterest.  Before too long, she Stumbles Upon an old flame and sparks begin to fly. In the mean time, he is so busy playing with his new ipad, he doesn't notice there is a problem until she has changed her status from "Married" to "It's Complicated". 

    After considering these thoughts, I couldn't help but wonder if that is what went wrong with King Henry the Eighth. Think about it, while on the throne, King Henry VIII went through six wives, so perhaps the problem was all the time he was spending twittering Anne Boleyn when he should have been home comforting Catherine. 

    King Henry 8

    Let's face it, if King Henry had not had all the distractions that come about from the internet, surely he would have had a successful marriage with Catherine. Or at least the second time around with Anne Boleyn. Or surely in the third one with Jane, after Anne was beheaded? Right? Surely, the reason his marriages were so tumultuous was because he lived in a time of too many modern conveniences and too much temptation.

    It really is ironic when we blame a tool for the havoc that occurs in our lives. The internet, on it's own merit, doesn't have the ability to make my marriage good or bad. Just the same as my oven--on it's own accord--lacks the ability to make my dinner tasty. 

    The ingredients that I pour into my marriage are going to define how it is going to come out. If I pour into my marriage an attitude of selfishness it doesn't matter if I am blogging, knitting, or rebuilding the transmission in my car. The thing that is distracting me is merely a tool for this age. There has always been distraction. 

    Ephesians 5:15-17 was the scripture used by the Pastor in our church this morning as he was encouraging us to slow down and aim for a lifestyle that is not characterized by busyness.

    "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."

    As he was sharing the verse, I immediately began to write down "making the most of every opportunity..." and before I could even finish my scribbles, he said
    "Most people focus on the words: making the most of every opportunity. And they don't look at the words before it. " 

    Wait. What? I had to drop my pen and just stare and listen. Everything in the media, everything in the world--especially in the great big LAND OF OPPORTUNITY tells us to "seize the day!"And you want me to listen to the words before it. What the heck were the words before it!?

    "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise"

    The bottom line is this. Having more and more available to us is all in vein, if the more and more is taking us away from being the person we are supposed to be. God created me to be in a relationship with Him. That is THE MOST important relationship that exists for me. The second most important relationship is the one with my husband. So, if I am not meeting my husband's needs because I am blogging, or because I have to check in with my 6500 friends on Facebook, my priorities are out of whack. However, if I am not meeting his needs because I am spending 12 hours at the gym--the same rules apply. If I am selfishly pulling away from him to have my needs met elsewhere, that is the problem.

    It's not the media or the social networking that pulls us away from our spouses. It's selfishness. 

    Linking today to continue my count of the 1000 Gifts in my life, with a nod to the theme for today on Media Mondays: Media and our Marriages, and Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday. I leave you with this:

    76:: Time uninterrupted, used wisely

    77:: A husband who wants me to sit on the couch and watch a romantic movie

    78:: The OFF button on my computer

    79:: Post it notes, to save my thoughts for later

    80:: XXX Church, a website and an organization to help men be accountable for porn addictions. 

    81:: A husband who reads, and loves, my blogs

    82:: The days that we spend away from the house--completely unplugged

    83:: The fighting we do not do...thanks to humility and GPS.