Postive, Encouraging, ME

So, I listen to K-LOVE on my way to work every morning (Christian music station). Honestly, I used to dislike K-LOVE very much. I was annoyed at the upbeat personalities, the “Kumbaya” music and even the tag-line: “Positive, Encouraging, K-LOVE.”

Blech! What’s up with that? Haven’t these people ever experienced real hurt, real troubles? Don’t they know that you can’t hide your head in the sand and go all “Ned Flanders” when this world that we live in is going straight to the big fire down yonder?

But something kept drawing me back. Something made me flip back to the station, and soon enough, I was singing along to Smitty, Matt Maher and Natalie Grant. They got me! They ensnared me with their sticky-sweet tentacles and promises of hope, peace and living a life that was…well…positive.

So, I’ve gone to the light side. I began to realize that I had a choice. I could choose to continue wallowing in self-pity, or I could step into the sunshine. Let me tell you, sunshine feels good. It doesn’t mean you forget where you came from, or deny the hurt that’s happening all around you. It just means letting go of the black venom you’ve been injecting into your heart. Put down the needle and take His hand.

Some of you may have stopped reading there. The capital “H.” Ah crap, she’s going to get all “religious” on me. Well, my friend, it’s not the worst thing that could happen to you. And let me tell you, I’m not a “drink the Kool-aid” type of person. I spent my first 16 years steeped in religion, delving deeper and deeper into my faith, only to have my whole world ripped out from under me. I was left stranded. My family, although still very loving, was ripped apart, and my relationship with God, I felt, was completely severed.

I realize now it was not Him who cut the cord, but my own confusion, grief, and belief that religion involved a “middle man.” If not for His persistence and my angel sister, I may still be sinking down in the mud. But now, I’m walking on the sunny side. Sure, there may be showers from time to time, but even then, I appreciate the rainbows. I honestly do.

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Pick me! Pick me!

I’m convinced we all have addictions. And I’m not just talking about drugs, booze or the “addiction of the year” (a la Tiger Woods & David Duchovny). I’m talking about subtle addictions. The kind that most people will never (or will never admit) realize in themselves.

Do you want to know mine? Lean in real close and I’ll tell you. Approval.  

What? You didn’t hear me? I said APPROVAL.

There. I said it. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

And the really sick thing is that I want your approval for admitting that I have an approval addiction. So, don’t enable me! (Unless you really feel the urge, then I won’t hold it against you.)

So…I showed you mine, now show me yours.

Top 5 Lessons Learned from Momma

My mother taught (and still teaches) by example. These are the lessons I gleaned from her:

5. Always offer someone else the bigger piece of pie, or better yet, the whole pie. No matter how badly you want it, it’ll never taste as good if eaten under selfish motives.

4. Always welcome a phone call from a loved one. Even if you’re too busy, too tired, or too distracted. Stop, listen, and make them feel like the most important person in the world.

3. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all–unless the other person deserves it. Then give them a thoughtful, methodical, even-toned, wickedly-smart toungue lashing.

2. Always have your husband’s back. Always. Even when your daughter comes to you in tears after an argument she had with her father, because deep down you know they’re just alike, and she will realize that someday.

1. Give your love abundantly, even when you think the well may run dry. Because someday, all the love you pour out will return to you–replenishing your supply so the cycle never ends.

My mother is the toughest, gentlest person I know. As comforting as a warm fleece robe, as powerful as a mighty Kansas thunderstorm. My beautiful, courageous, selfless mother. I love you.

(Dis)organized & (Dis)content

Why is it that I can’t stay organized all the time? I’m a much happier person when I can find my keys, sunglasses and cell phone easily.
Organization is my weakness. I start out with good intentions, and then life happens. I mean to get up early and do a load of laundry, but then the baby wakes up 2-3 times with aching gums, and I choose to get a little more sleep instead. I. Really. Like. Sleep.

Then there’s my car. Oh Lord, my car. It’s embarrassingly messy most days. What does that say about me? Does it say that I don’t care? That I’m lazy? I’d like to think not, but that’s probably the impression it gives. I’d like to go on the record by saying “I’m not lazy, and I do care, dagnabbit!”

I have friends who make it all look so easy (and you know who you are). Their pantry is always stocked, their nails are decent if not manicured, and they never forget a birthday/anniversary/commercially produced holiday.

Sometimes I wonder if I struggle with organization because I’m afraid of losing my creative edge. I’ve always lived–and thrived–in an environment of chaos, mostly not of my own creation. I’ve been able to extract the rich, thick, sweet marrow out of the bones of destruction, and I’m afraid the bones of tidiness would leave little to feed on.