Friday, November 20, 2009

I’m A Fan

I’m a fan of Tylenol P.M.

Just a half a dose.  It’s non habit forming. 

Especially when I am trying to get back on the exercise routine and can barely walk.

Except when my kids are getting sick and get in bed with you.  I might be in such a fog that I can't tell my kids apart.  Even if the one that is potty training says she needs to go to the bathroom, I might be too tired and just tell her to use her diaper. 


I’m a fan of inviting friends over for dinner.

Except when we have to cancel. 


I’m a fan of a nice quiet day at home.

Except when it’s due to body fluids of any nature. And it’s never actually quiet.


I’m a fan of an unseasonably, beautiful warm day.

Except when I can’t be out to enjoy it.


I’m a fan of saying no.

Especially when it means our schedule will be less chaotic.


I’m a fan of McDonald’s.

Especially when the kids think they really have to beg me to go there. 


I’m a fan of doing things with my kids. 

Except when it involves them watching me exercise and telling me what I could be doing better at 6:00 a.m.  Or when they eat their food very loudly in my ear.


I’m a fan of people watching.

Except when it’s in the pharmacy line at Wal-Mart.  Seriously, you see things you do not want to see there.  I may have tried to gauge my eyes out if I had a sharp instrument and didn’t have to drive home.


I’m a fan of Pepto Bismol.

Except some people think it can cure the stomach flu.  It can’t


I’m a fan of clean carpet.

Except when it has to be cleaned because someone puked Pepto Bismol on it.


I’m a fan of the doctor’s office.

Except when everyone there is coughing and wearing masks.

Especially when your kids are sick and they give you medicine.  And suckers.


I’m not a fan of buying movies. 

Hello, that’s what the library is for.

Except when waiting for a prescription for a really long time and looking for things to do to stay away from the pharmacy. 


I’m a fan of cuddling up to watch a short, funny Christmas movie.

Especially when no one notices I’m  asleep and they all think I’m enjoying it along with them.


I’m a fan of making cookies.

Except when they are peanut butter.  I don’t like those.  Oh wait, yes I do.  Rats.


I’m a fan of letting a sick child sleep with me.

Except my husband does not agree.


I’m not a fan of sleeping on the couch.

Except when I’m a little psychotic about my child’s breathing.


I’m a fan of night time.

Especially the quiet at the end of a long day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Hundred Miles an Hour

I’m taking a little break from The Details of Discontent tonight.  There is more to come including comparing myself to others, marriage, parenting, my relationship with God.  I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts and if you have any more, please send them my way.



I have a daughter that goes one hundred miles an hour.  Non-Stop.  Sun up to sun down.  Day in and day out. 

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She plays hard.  She moves fast.

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Don’t tell anyone but sometimes she does care about her hair.

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She thinks she can fly.

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But I know she can.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Details of Discontent ~ Part Three

I think I can officially call this a series now that I am on to part three!  Today we are going to tackle not being healthy enough to do the things you want to do in life.

I’m not a doctor.  Nor could I be one even if I wanted to or really set my mind to it.  Most doctors have higher than a 4th grade math level.  I’m also not a fitness expert.  Fourth grade basketball practice almost gave me a heart attack tonight. So please take that into account as your read this.

Health is a tough one.  Exercise used to be part of life.  You walked places, scrubbed laundry, hauled water and milked cows.It’s getting harder in our post modern culture.  We have machines to do everything for us.   Now we sit in front of a computer, drive cars, and turn the dishwasher on.

As I thought about health I think there are two categories.  There are things you can control.  You can eat right and exercise.  Then there are things you can’t control.  Some people I know live with chronic pain, chronic headaches, diabetes, asthma and more.  Those are things that can’t be turned off or fixed.  I’m sure there are people that can chime in on the frustration that brings.  You can’t be healthy and live life when you are sick. 

For contentment in cases of chronic pain or disease we have to have a sense of why God allows suffering. Why does God let me be like this?  It means I can’t work, play with my kids or grandkids, or function in society.  It’s not fair.  Can we be content with what he’s given us knowing that it is his good and perfect will for our lives?  Being put in a position of weakness and humility is good for our hearts.  It makes us rely on him and not ourselves.

In the bible Job suffered greatly.  God allowed it.  The whole book is on his struggle with all that happened.  He found content and comfort in that fact that God is in control. He says in Job 2:10, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”  Later on in this series, I am hopefully going to explore this more with a friend that does have chronic pain and suffering in her life.

That being said, for now I want to focus on things we can do.  There is more information out there on diet and exercise than anyone could read in ten lifetimes.  It’s hard to sort through it all.  As I’ve tried to lose weight and eat healthier I’ve read a bunch of books.  I love Health magazine, Super Foods and The Skinny.  There is growing medical evidence that diet and exercise can be part of preventing a lot of stuff Americans deal with like obesity, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure and even cancer.  In a report I read from a government health website it says:

“Because physical activity is a risk factor for many diseases and conditions, making physical activity an integral part of life is crucial.  Physical activity need not be strenuous to be beneficial.  People of all ages benefit from moderate physical activity, such as 30 minutes of walking five or more times a week.  In addition, physical activity does not need to be sustained for long periods of time in order to provide health benefits.  Repeated shorter bursts of moderate-intensity activity also yield health benefits.  In other words, walking in two 15-minute segments or three 10-minute segments is beneficial.”  http://aspe.hhs.gove/health/reports/physicalactivity

I have all this information at my fingertips and I still fail.  I keep thinking that if I just had a treadmill or a gym membership I would be fine. I have so many excuses for not doing what I should.  I like candy, I like to be lazy. I wish I could go back and eat right and exercise earlier in life.  But I can’t.  I wish I would’ve eaten better when I was pregnant.  I wish I would’ve eaten better yesterday.  There’s no denying when I’m eating better and exercising I feel good.  I’m trying to focus more on being healthy than skinny.  But I certainly hope that skinny is a side effect.  The problem is it also feels good to sit around and watch TV.  And it’s even better with a bowl of ice cream. 

I know what it takes and you probably do too.  I know I need to get some exercise.  I know I should eat less processed food and more fruits and vegetables.  Less sugar and more protein. 

The bible has something to say about how we treat our bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

That passage is directly talking about not sinning sexually with our bodies.  But I think it can be applied to health as well.  Our bodies were created by God for His purpose and glory.  If I just sit around and eat chips all day I’m going to be prone to obesity and heart disease.  In that condition, I won’t be much use in God’s work here on earth.  I can’t raise my family, serve in church, or help others if my health is poor.

The best teaching I have heard on health is from Beth Moore in Living Beyond Yourself.  She talks about finding a place of freedom between neglect and obsession.  Doing what needs to be done and not getting obsessed.

She also talks about making exercise an act of worship.  That’s why I love walking and running outside.  I can pray, enjoy creation and listen to praise music.  Now that winter is coming, I’ll have to do more inside exercising.

The point is to find what works for you and do it.  Then get on with life.

We live in a society where looks are so important.  I find I judge myself based on that.  I need to find my self worth in Christ.  He died for me.  He Loves me.  He made me just the way he wanted me.  Someday when I am with him,  he will give me a perfected body.  Then I will spend my days glorifying and praising God forever without a worry or care.

"But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Philippians 3:20-21


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Details of Discontent ~ Part Two

Part two. I’m pumped. I followed through and counted! Next on my list is boredom. That’s one I never would have thought of. I’m all over the materialism thing. But boredom? It certainly would not apply to me. I am not bored. There are so many demands on my time there are not enough hours in my day. I have a full plate and a full life.

While I was praying and thinking about this I realized I do struggle with boredom. I just wrote about it the other day here. In the midst of my busyness and mundane daily activities I’m bored. That’s why I like the internet and talk radio. It makes me feel like I get some interaction and adult conversation beyond what cup someone would like to drink out of and folding loads of laundry. But I can even get bored of that. I have this unbelievable need for something more than what I have in life. It’s not material or money related.

My friend who wrote “boredom” on my Facebook page is in a different boat. She has lots of time to herself. Her kids are older and her husband is gone working. She tries to fill her day with stuff but as different as our situations are, the result is the same. We are both looking for a way to entertain and occupy ourselves. Can I also mention this is also the person who told me her dream house would have a huge master bedroom, walk-in closet (and trust me she needs it), a luxurious master bath and NO KITCHEN! So let’s just say she doesn’t spend her days baking!

Maybe you are working a dead end job. Maybe you have the career you’ve always dreamed of and it’s not enough. Maybe your sense of purpose has vanished as you had kids or as they left home. Maybe you don’t have kids or don’t have enough kids. The result is the same. What do we do with our days?

Whatever stage we are at in life we’ll be faced with it. It makes me feel restless and useless. Looking for entertainment or something to do can get me into trouble. It seems that I never end up the places I should. I think the thing I am looking for is purpose.

Our purpose is to bring glory to God. We do that by making Him known.

We are blessed to be a blessing. We do that by sharing with others.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering.

The bible warns about idleness. That’s the closest thing to boredom I could find. In the back of my bible, idleness is defined as: unemployed, lacking worth, vain, inactivity and laziness. I think that definition hit home for me.

The bible doesn’t have nice things to say about idleness. Here we go.

2 Thessalonians 3:11-13

We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.

1 Timothy 5:13

Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do them become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.

Idleness does not produce a life that imitates God’s.

What is the practical application? I think it depends on where you are at. If you are at the stage where you have extra time on your hands take that extra time to spend with the Lord. Read the bible and pray. Pray for your family, friends, neighbors. After that, maybe it is time to do something different: take a class, volunteer, babysit for a young mom, cook a meal for someone. (That’s hard if you don’t have a kitchen though). When you have time, you have the luxury of giving it for someone else. There is nothing more fulfilling than that. Just like Jesus lived a life of love and gave himself up, we should do that for others.

I am at the stage where I do not have a lot of time to give. Rats, that isn’t true. I can’t give my time in some ways, but I can certainly babysit to give someone a break, visit the elderly, or make a meal. If I simply gave up my Facebook time for a week, I could do a lot. Having a family, career or busy life doesn’t mean we don’t have time to give. In fact, I think at times I create busyness just to avoid that stuff.

Here’s one thing that I did this week that took a few minutes and a trip to the dollar store. I sent a sympathy card, a get-well card and two thank you notes. I stuffed the get well card with some paintings my kids did. It did not interfere with my Mommy duties. It took me 15 minutes. I know that they were well-received because I’ve heard from them. The result is not that I feel really happy about what a good person I am. The result is God’s love overflowing in my life and heart.

As I seek to imitate Christ, he will show me ways to love others. He wants me to love others even when it is not convenient or when I don’t want to. He will give me a purpose beyond just getting through another day and looking forward to another show or hearing what so and so is up to.

What should we fill our lives with? We are encouraged in the New Testament to seek after Christ, do good to others, and fight the fight of faith.

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:11-12

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Psalm 37:3-6

Trust in the Lord and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the Lord

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust him and he will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

So don’t be down! Don’t let idleness creep in. God has a purpose for us. He created you and you have a lot to offer. Ask him to show you what he has for you. Ask him to help you discern what you can reasonably fit into your life. I think it’s important not to decide to run the food shelf eight hours a day when you have small children at home. Do you know what I mean? Look around you. There are people that need a friend, a hug, or a visit. Reach out and show love. I don’t think there could be a better way to use my time.

The truth is, life can be monotonous and it leads to the desire to do or be something different. Doing something different doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Details of Discontent ~ Part One

It seems like everyone struggles with lack of contentment in some way. I know I do. The problem is that it makes you want what you don’t or can’t have. The definition of content from is :

Contained within limits; hence, having the desires limited by that which one has; not disposed to repine or grumble; satisfied; contented; at rest.

Growing up in the 1980s, I was taught a lie. I was taught that if I just work hard enough and set my mind to it, I can do anything. I still hear that message from the media and from the mouths of my kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I want them to work hard. I think it’s great for them to dream big. In my case, the bummer is that I stink at math. I hate science. So even if I decided I really, really wanted to be a doctor and help people I don’t think I actually could get into medical school. My husband would love to play in the NFL. No matter how hard he works to get better, he will never be big enough or talented enough to play at that level (HE said that, not me!)

So what do we do with the disappointment? The fact that it isn’t true? Maybe you are working hard, many hours a week and you are still unable to make ends meet let alone get ahead. Maybe you are frustrated and angry that your life has ended up this way. Are there things you want so badly it’s making you crazy?

I did some informal research on Facebook last week by asking what causes discontent in life. The responses were interesting and varied. The title of this post includes a “Part One” which hopefully means there will be a few more on other topics including health, comparing self to others and trusting God’s goodness. We’ll see. I’m not that good at follow through. Or math. Have I said that two or three times?

Several responses have a common thread dealing with material things: the mall, HGTV, not having the money to do what you want, the house you live in. I loved the responses because they are honest. Who doesn’t feel that way?

Let me tell you a story. Years ago we were in a rough spot. Our marriage was in trouble, we were paying off school loans and medical bills and had no money and we lived in what I considered a dump. I liked to blame Mike for it all. It was a lot easier than having to honestly assess my issues. All of that snowballed into a big mess.

Mike has always been more financially responsible than me. I never balanced my checkbook the whole six years I had one when I was single. I kind of knew how much was in there and how much I spent and just kept track in my head. That didn’t go over very well with Mike considering I’m so good with numbers, so when we got married he took over the finances.

I spent money pretty freely. When I bothered to check the balance of our account and saw money in there I assumed it was to be spent. However, Mike knew that we had bills to pay and insurance premiums coming due.

I still remember the first month that we were married I had stopped at the mall on the way home from work and bought an outfit on sale. No big deal. Mike was shocked. He told me I couldn’t just go spend money without talking to him. It was my turn to be shocked. So began the see saw of money and marriage. It became a battleground.

I grew really angry and resentful of him always telling me what I could not spend and raising his eyebrows when I did spend. I felt trapped in my trailer with two small children. I wanted the freedom to go out and do things and in my eyes he was taking that away. I wanted to live like others I knew.

One day I went to the mall with the kids out of spite and desperation. I went to the cash machine and got $40. That is a lot of money when you don’t have any extra. I was going to have lunch and spend the rest somewhere. As I was walking away pushing the double stroller, someone came up behind me and handed me the $40. “Did you drop this?”, they asked.

That was like a knife in the heart. I still remember exactly where I was standing. I was convicted. I had let money become the most important thing in my life and marriage. I put that $40 in my purse and took it home. I gave it to Mike and told him everything. I’d like to say that was the beginning of us getting our act together but it wasn’t. I think the problem is that no matter how much we had, it would never be enough for me.

Since then I’ve learned a few things about myself. There are things I can do to avoid wanting stuff I can’t afford or don’t need. One is by staying away from the mall. I used to go there as a means of escape. It was fun to walk around and eat out. Sometimes, I do need to go there but not regularly. When I’m not there I don’t know what I’m missing.

I also stay away from things like talk shows, soap operas, Extreme Home Makeover, the travel channel, celebrity magazines and some websites that make me think…that would be awesome! My life is so stinky since I don’t have that dishwasher or those shoes. That would make my life perfect or at least better. I know those shows present a totally unrealistic view of life but it works, doesn’t it? Do most people have a house with an elevator in it? Or 15 bathrooms? That’s not reality in my world.

I have always loved getting a Sunday paper and reading the ads while watching football. There is nothing wrong with that. But for me, there is. Because when I see what is on sale at Target and I feel compelled to get there and buy that. If I don’t read them, I have no idea. Trust me, that’s better.

It became pretty clear to me that I needed to change when I got to thinking about how much time I spend being influenced by the media compared to how much time I spend being influenced by Christ and the Bible .

God taught me that I am not defined by the car I drive, the clothes I wear, the house I live in or where I go on vacation. It doesn’t matter how much I can spend on Christmas presents or eating out or lessons for the kids. I am His child, His heir. I have everything in Him.

Galatians 4:7

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Romans 8:31-32 – Just get a Bible and read all of Romans 8!

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

He has shown me that nothing on this earth matters. Nothing. It’s all about our future in heaven with Him.

Matthew 6:19-21

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:32-34

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

He has shown me that blessing and happiness does not come through financial gain or prosperity. It does not come through things. Every time I have finally received something I just had to have or thought was going to be the best, it has left me empty. Then I have to go after the bigger and better thing. Where’s my heart? Is it here or is it with Jesus?

There have been a few times in the last few years when I’ve had some money to spend. Generally, my birthday or Christmas money from my parents or grandparents. I honestly have walked around the mall or a store and thought there is nothing here I want. Everything new gets old, clothes and furniture styles change, cars get rusty and jewelry tarnishes. At least the jewelry I can afford to buy does. But when I don’t have money, am feeling stressed or lonely and sulking, I want every single thing I lay eyes on.

Stuff and money are necessary. They aren’t bad. It becomes dangerous when we’re trying to fill a need in ourselves that only God can. It becomes destructive when we lie or deceive for it. It becomes detrimental when we can’t pay for the things we have. It becomes difficult when it takes control of our life and relationships.

I have to continually ask God to show me areas that are falling in the danger zone in my life. Sometimes it’s old things that come back to bite. At times it is an area that I didn’t notice being a problem. Once I allow God to search my heart, I can trust Christ to help me turn away from it and to Him. He’s the only place I’ll ever find true contentment.

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I’d Rather

It’s been an emotional weekend. Well, not really. Only if you cry at weird stuff like I do. I was teary when the kids sang at the nursing home, reading Little House, and at the end of a random high school play that is FUNNY both nights. That’s right, two nights in a row.

It’s so embarrassing and I always try to cover it up. What is my problem? Am I the biggest dork in all of human history? Don’t answer that.

But do you know what?

I’d rather be a sap than cold and stoic because it means I care and feel deeply.

I’d rather be fed up with the noise level of my kids than calm and relaxed because it means I have spent a lot of time with them.

I’d rather spend time cleaning up after watching the kids work together all afternoon to create a show than chat on Facebook while they watch TV because it’s priceless to watch them play together.

Suess 004 Suess 002

I’d rather talk too fast or laugh obnoxiously loud than always being stressed and gloomy because it means there are things to be joyful about.

I’d rather sing really loud during a break in the song than hold back because that entails passion.

I’d rather approach a dreaded task with cheer than be annoyed and miserable.

I’d rather get involved in too many things than sit on the sidelines idly.

I’d rather work hard and give it my all than do a mediocre job and have to live with that.

I’d rather be tired as a reminder that God has blessed me with a full life of activity.

I’d rather eat popcorn and apples cuddled on the couch with my family than eat steak in a fancy restaurant.

I’d rather have a sink full of dirty dishes because it is proof that there’s been food.

I’d rather work hard at rekindling the romance in my marriage than take the easy way out and replace it with something else.

I’d rather choose to bring delight to my child’s heart than do what I would like because the light in her eyes and the smile on her face is worth more than a million dollars.

Suess 001

I’d rather have a blonde haired girl in my bed than have it made nice and neat or be able to stretch out because there is nothing sweeter than a warm little body sleeping peacefully next to you.

Wouldn’t you rather?