Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blessed... Blast!

What does being "blessed" really mean?
Okay, i'm moseying along, minding my own business, raising my children, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, cooking for my family, giving to the poor, reading my Bible, commiserating with friends, praying for healing, and BAM!  I get knocked down.

Yeah, yeah, like the song, "i get up again."  I dust myself off, look around for where that slam came from, take stock, and head down the road again... washing, teaching, cooking, reading, praying... BAM!  There it goes again!

Okay, so i get up. Again.  But now i'm starting to wonder what in blazes is going on?

I look around again, see nothing out of the ordinary.... But i sense the presence of evil just as surely as i sense God's presence in church on Sundays.  I know it's there, but i can't see it.  I know it just knocked me down, but i can't tell where it's coming from.

Eventually, i figure out the evil is coming from within.  From within me, from within my family network, from within my home.  That gets my attention.  My Home???

Now, i'm angry.  How have i let this happen?  How has the enemy managed to infiltrate my private quarters, my haven?  What do i do now?

As i pray, seek, and read my Bible, God shows me how "blessed" i am...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."

i am poor in spirit because i recognize i am nothing without the Lord.
"Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted."

i mourn for my sin and the sin of others because God mourns our sin.
"Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth."

 i claim no rights to any good deed, for all Good comes from God.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled."

 i despise injustice; i yearn and strive for righteousness with the power of the Holy Spirit.

"Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy."

 How can we not show mercy to a dying world? Compassion, forgiveness, love... God helps us show these things to others in His name.

"Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God."

 i pray for pureness of heart... for darkness to flee... for God's desires for my life to be manifest in my desires.

"Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God."

 Strife is energy-depleting, soul-wrenching, and spiritually annihilating.  It is exhausting because it is not of God.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."

This part has always been where i start to wonder, "Why, Jesus, did you ruin a perfectly good list of Beatitudes with the last few lines??" (don't shake your finger at me: He knows i feel this way! LOL)  So i'll get Heaven when i am persecuted for the righteousness i so desire... and...

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." 
[all Scripture lines ~ Matthew 5:1-12 NIV]

Blast! (yes, Buzz Lightyear)

That is the one i always disliked.  Who wants to be insulted?  Persecuted?  Lied about??  Not me.  Remember, i despise injustice!

But... God says i'll be blessed.
Well, from the midst of the persecuting, insulting, lying and scheming, i can tell you that God is blessing me.  I am feeling His peace - if i just stop focusing on the people, the lies, the injustice of it all, and if i keep my eyes locked firmly on His.

The price is high.
But the rewards are great.
i. am. blessed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Recipe for Weight Loss

Okay, first off, i am not a dieter by nature.
Second, no, it isn't because i am a toothpick who can eat 2 Whoppers with fries and sit in front of the computer all day sipping calorie-laden soda and never gain an ounce. (those women should be force-fed carrot sticks until they turn orange... just sayin')

Finally, i have not EVER in my life been on a diet that was a true diet in the sense that i was dieting to lose a certain amount of weight.

Still tracking??

Okay, that said... i have found the P-E-R-F-E-C-T recipe for weight loss, quite by mistake.

First, let your house get really messy.  I mean messy, folks, not 20-minutes-to-good-as-new!  I'm talking, we had a nuclear bomb go off in the house, followed by a small tornado, then the closets all barfed their contents... messy.

Next, schedule an appraiser to come estimate your home's current market value... in a sink-hole-of-a-housing-market era... so that you can take advantage of the astronomically-low interest rates (did i mention the housing market was crashing??)

Finally, use toxic chemicals you have never before used in combinations never before envisioned to scrub, scour, and whisk away the dirt, all while piling, storing, shoving, hiding, stowing, ditching, and stacking your crap random belongings that do not appear to live anywhere (since they have obviously not been put away since "W" was in the Oval Office).  While using said noxious-fumes-producing agents to make your house look like you never actually lived in it, feel free to break out 3 different varieties of paint and paint roughly 500 square feet of your home in 3 days... including baseboards, door trim, and dog- and toddler-gnawed corners. (oh, and you should still teach your 3 children the 3 R's, keep up with the laundry, cook 3 squares a day, water the garden, settle sibling disputes, tend to hubby's every whim, and wash dishes every day)

Yeah, i can no longer smell anything (including the above-mentioned toxic chemicals), my head is killing me from all the allergen-colonies we disturbed in our dedicated efforts to Take Back Our Home, i cannot breathe out of my nose unless i go outside and commune with the ragweed (go figure!), and i have lost a pound each day i have been doing this.  I haven't been this low on the scale for more than a blink in... well, years.

So, all that to say, if you've got a few extra pounds you just can't shake....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spackle

So, in the midst of my already-crazy life, we are trying to refinance our house to get on a 15-year mortgage.  That means i am getting our home ready for an appraisal.

Um...
Er...
Blech.

Well, here i am, scrubbing, painting, trashing, filing, cleaning, dusting, sorting, organizing, and patching, and it hits me: Spackle. Duh.

My life can be represented by the wall in my stairwell: there are dozens of fingerprints from all the people who have touched me, making their mark on my life; there are nicks from the times something got away from me along the way; there are cracks from the settling that naturally happens as we age, threatening to expose what is hidden away; there are half a dozen or so nail pops from screws and nails that are trying to get out of the original construction, which need time and attention to restore; and there are scuffs from people getting carried away and not being aware of the damage they are doing.

The Stairwell Wall = My Life.

Okay, so my life needs a little TLC, but overall, it is a simple fix: Spackle.

The nicks, scuffs, dents, and dings can be covered up with Spackle.  Just like the nicks, scuffs, dents, and dings in our lives are covered by the blood of Jesus.  Like they were never there.  Miraculous.

The fingerprints?  They are messy but real.
The cracks?  The facade is coming away to reveal what is really underneath.

With Spackle, all things can be made new.  Thank You, Lord, for wasting Your time on me, a lowly servant undeserving of Your grace... yet You bless me immeasurably again and again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Misunderstood

Do you ever feel so misunderstood that you wonder if you're losing your mind?

I often have trouble with my memory, so it is a handy excuse for anyone who comes against me to use... and it is offensive to be told i must've "had that conversation with myself" just because the other person doesn't remember it.  It is possible that i am not the only person who forgets things... so why can we not just admit we don't remember?  Why cast blame?  Why trash someone else's character?

Because in the midst of the battle sits an enemy.  It's an enemy i have met before.  It's an enemy who has tormented me in the past.  But this enemy's got nothin' on my God... and my God's got my back.

Little things become bigger,
    Bigger things become vast.
        It gets hard to progress when
           Someone's throwing up your past.
Through Christ there is healing,
    Abundant love and hope.
        Without Him, we struggle just to
           Hold tight to the rope.
Although it feels like failure,
    Trials are often good.
        A struggle grows us better than
            Any blessing could.
So, if someone wants to take you
    Down the path of long ago,
        Look toward the Savior.
            He'll show you where to go.
~ exclusive rights to Angela Varela, original

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stickers?? Really??

How is it that i can have a child that still surprises me after nearly 11 years in the Parenting Jungle?

How is it possible to have more than one child and still be taken off guard by the next?

What does it mean that i can have a Bachelor's Degree in early child psychology and still not understand how my children tick???

Oh, i know their personalities, i understand their temperaments, i've even figured out some of their gifts and a few of their struggles.  But how is it that after a surprising 20+ years of dealing with children, i am still floored by the simplicity of their minds??

Stickers!!
STICKERS!!

Yes, for pity's sake, i finally decided to try using reward stickers for my struggling youngest children and wouldn't you know it!?  Success!!

Stickers?!?!?
REALLY?!?!?

{sigh}

Sheesh.  Someone needs to send me the men in the white coats, 'cuz i may not make it out of this Jungle with all my wits about me.

[muttering to self] ...stickers... who knew?... of all the simple...