Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An Uphill Battle

I really wanted an order of Mcdonalds French fries tonight.

As in I could pretty much taste their salty, greasy goodness.

But, I had gotten up at 515 and busted my butt on the treadmill and had also treated myself to a Kit Kat bar at our Relay meeting, so I kept on driving. 

Even though it kind of hurt my heart.

This struggle continues, and I don't really see it getting any better...

except it has.  They say that it takes 30 days to create a habit, and while I'm not there completely yet, I'm almost there.  Almost every day in August I've walked at least 2 miles... sometimes in the morning and the evening.  And despite what I will never, ever admit to Wallace Bates, I've actually enjoyed it.  Actually looked forward to it some days.

I don't enjoy getting up at 515 on nights when there are volleyball games... but I'm glad when I go into work with 5,000 steps under my belt.

I park farther from the office building and also walk around campus more.

I'm counting steps and trying to get them to add up.

And while I still gasp for air as I climb up the steps to my office (there is something wrong with those steps.  I think they need to install an oxygen tank at the top.), it's better, and I make myself go up and down them a couple more times a day.

I've not yet lost a pound... but I feel better.

I'm a work in progress.  I didn't get this way overnight... it was a long, slow downhill sprawl...

The climb back to where I need to be will be hard.  I will probably cry a little.

But I'll keep going. 

And if I don't check in every now and then, ask me about it and keep me accountable, because I'm not getting any younger and my metabolism is not speeding up.

And now, I'm going to bed... because 515 was a loooongg time ago.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Great Commission- Can we be Real?

So I've been thinking a lot about missions lately.

On the news there's war right here in America and war in the Middle East and ebola is running rampant in Africa.

Kind of makes a person just want to crawl in the bed and cover their head up, or at least dive into a book and escape from it all.

I mean, what can one individual do to heal the huge gaping wound in our world today?

You can't put a bandaid over an amputation.

Still, last week my Pastor preached on the Great Commission.  And last night the Bible lesson on Wednesday night, at a different church, talked about the Great Commission.  And I was reminded when Kami got back from Guatemala that in Acts we, the modern church, were given that commandment. 

You know the one, if you were raised in church.

And even if you aren't a church goer, you can probably guess, based on the concept of loving our neighbors.

In Matthew, it's in red letters. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20) It's in red letters in Mark, too. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:15-18).  In Acts, we are told: "...and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

It's a command.  All parts of the world.  All creation.  At home.  To our neighbors.  To all the world.

But it is hard.

It's hard when we're tired and we don't want to speak to the person next to us.  It's hard when the person in front of us at the convenience store is scratching lottery tickets when we really just want to pay for our Diet Coke and get to running for the day. It's hard when our kids ask us just one more question that we don't really know the answer to.

It's hard to love the unloveable, and even harder to love when we are hurt.

It's too easy to slip back into those fleshly tendencies of me first and you never, of hurting back when others wound us, of putting up walls so no one can get close.

Yet, if we aren't witnesses, who will be?

Our nation is slipping down the morality slope.  Fewer young people are choosing to go to church, and many of those who do are met with a feel good message of love and grace... which I am all for, except that we must have personal accountability. Jesus loves me for all of my messes, but that doesn't mean that He wants me to stay that way.  And just like I learned really quickly that while mudpies may be fun to make, they really don't taste the best in the world, once we turn to Jesus we should realize that the mess we made in the past doesn't need to be repeated.

Because who wants to follow a messenger who is still stuck in mire and muck?

Too many times I've heard people say that they don't go to church because of hypocrisy.  We can get angry at this statement, but I've found that most of the time when we become angry and defensive about something, it is often close to the truth.  Some Christians do not appear to be very nice people.  Sometimes I'm afraid that I am one of them.

And He expects me to be His messenger to all of the world? 

Lord, help us all. 

So as I pondered the mission field last night, I thought again how nice it would be if God would speak to us in neon lights.  I know He has a purpose for my life.  He tells me this in His Word.  And ultimately, my purpose is about loving Him and loving others, and this scares me, because quite frankly, I'm not the best in the world at this.

And also I like to think of things on a grand scale... and many others do, too, I'm sure.  When I think of missions, I think of Prince of Peace, where Kami's sole purpose that week was to love on little girls.  And I must admit that I'm a little jealous, because that would be awesome...

But sometimes I can't even love the person next to me.

My mission isn't the world... although it could be, and maybe someday He'll see fit to send me to love on some babies.

Right now, though, my mission is Wallace and Caleb.  It's my nursing students.  It's 26 volleyball girls who I pray for as I hang up their uniforms after washing them. It's the lady in front of me at Walmart who looks like she's struggling.  It's the patient I'll care for when I go to clinical.  It's those people that I see everyday, but most of the time don't even really see.

The Great Commission was full of action words. "Go." "Teach." "Preach." "Witness."

We're given power to do these things.  We're told if we love Him, we'll keep His commandments.  We'll show what we believe.

Through love.  Through reaching others.  Through being a light.

Even when we feel like we are burning out. 

The time is short... and the field is ripe for harvest.

There's a whole world out there that needs Him... far off.  And close to home.  Maybe even sitting at this computer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What I'm Reading in August

It's already the second week of August and I feel like someone needs to pinch me because it's going so fast.  Needless to say, trying to get back in the swing of things with work and school and exercise and just life in general that I am not getting to read nearly as much as I'd like. The stack on my bedside has not been reduced by one book... not one book, people...

But that doesn't mean I'm not reading... I'm just not reading as fast.

I've finished five books this month; 4 of them I talked about last blog post.  One that I did not, so I have to share.  The Giver by Lois Lowry. Where was this book all my life?  I don't know that I had even heard of it.. and that has amazed me.  It's a movie coming out next week, and it looked good, so I had to read it before it came out...and I finished it in two days.  It kind of reminded me of Divergent or The Hunger Games, which I never thought I'd like but I loved...

So this month I'm reading the rest of the series.  I'm currently reading Gathering Blue.  To be honest, I'm not seeing how this one is corresponding with the first one, because it has different characters, but it has the same feeling about it and is an easy read.  There are two more books after this one, so those are on my to read list.

I'm reading Am I Messing Up My Kids with Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies. This study is set to wrap up next week.  I'm really enjoying this book.  The chapters are very short, and then after each chapter Lysa focuses on different Bible verses, many in the Psalms.  It's a great read, too.  I love Lysa Terkeurst's writing style. She reminds me that being a Mama is a hard job, but that it is a huge honor!

The Center of Everything is about a fourth grader in Kansas as her Mom loses her job just after discovering she is pregnant.  It's an easy read, too, and the character is very likeable. It's reminding me of how tough it is to be a kid.

I started God's Story, Your Story last month, and have kind of had it on hold as I started a couple of other Bible studies, but I'll go back to it once I finish the OBS book.  It's by Max Lucado, who is just plain awesome.

I'm over halfway through with Gone with the Wind. To be honest, I'm kind of savoring it.  It had been a couple of years since I'd read it, and I had forgotten some things. Scarlett is as fun as ever, though, and she is running her saw mill just like a man right now. 

Grace in Thine Eyes is the fourth and final book in the Lowlands of Scotland books by Liz Curtis Higgs. I've read the other three over the past few months, and this one is set several years later.  Higgs is an awesome writer, and the main character, Davina is a sweetheart.

Water for Elephants. I've had it on my to read list for a long time... it is awesome. It's the story of a circus, and Jacob serves as the "vet".  Written partly in the past and partly from the perspective of a 90 year old man, it has not proven to be a disappointment.

Porch Lights is a beach read by Dorothea Benton Frank.  It's about an army nurse whose firefighter husband has been killed, and she's finding herself and helping her son grieve at her Mom's house, located on the beach in South Carolina. This just happens to be one of my favorite places, and since it will be quite a while before I see any beach again, it's helping me through withdrawals =)

I'm reading The Patriarchs, a Bible study by Beth Moore.  Running behind, but that's ok.  Getting ready to start week 4.  Working through Genesis, I just read Chapter 23.

And tonight I started The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I'm a huge Tuesdays with Morrie fan... and I can tell 10 pages in that this one is a hit.  And also that I'll probably cry several times... but that's ok.

On my to read list? The Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whelan, for a facebook book club. Rereading 1000 Gifts with a Twitter book club. Sum It Up by Pat Summit, one of the best coaches ever.  11/22/63. The Wedding Dress.  Where We Belong.  And the Mountains Echoed.  Miles to Go.  Winning Balance.

And lots of Fundamentals of Nursing.

Just keeping it real.  Suggestions?  I'd love to hear them... even though at the rate I'm reading this month, it may be next summer.  At least there is Christmas break...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Morning Mama

Y'all, I had good intentions.

Really, I did.

My alarm was set for 515 AM.  Then, when it went off, I thought of how I'd have a half-hour or so before work after dropping Caleb off.  Surely I could get some quiet time in then, right? And maybe even a walk, depending on how early I could get him moving.

So I reset that alarm... even thought I sat right up in bed and was awake.

And then I hit the snooze button twice.. (which is actually an improvement. Last week I think the minimum was three.)

So it was a mad dash to the ironing board, and peanut butter jelly sandwiches, and straightening, straightening, straightening my hair, even though it was pouring the rain and it ended up being more curly than when I started.

And this was before we went out the door.

Caleb was in typical Monday morning fashion. The honeymoon with sixth grade was over, and Caleb wanted to stay in his bed a little longer.

His Mama did, too...

So after a few loud demonstrations of his Monday morning pleasantries, we headed to town. (And I once again sent up a silent prayer of forgiveness and an apology to my Mama for similar Monday morning demonstrations 20 years ago).

We got halfway to town only to determine that Caleb hadn't saved his powerpoint on his jump drive.

And got behind a grader going 30 miles an hour on our way back home.

The clock was ticking. 

We couldn't be late on our first Monday of school, right?

So here I am, driving on wet roads and trying not to speed and trying to keep a calm tone of voice.  I may or may not have said, "Jesus" at least twenty times... and I wasn't taking His name in vain. I really needed Him.

And it hit me.  So I tweeted (not while I was driving, because I wouldn't do that. That's illegal and that's all I needed on a Monday morning... a ticket or something. And also because the way the morning was already going, it would have been highly likely that I would have rear-ended someone. Just that kind of lucky morning. And also because I have a preteen who will be driving soon and I must be a positive role model. )

"Today IS going to be a good day, even if it is Monday and the universe is conspiring against me. Greater is He in me, y'all. #Attitude"

And He is greater. 
I have His strength, and it can get me through... anything.  Monday mornings.  Running late.  Pre-teen attitudes.

And if He's in you, He can get you through whatever you're facing.

By the way, I had a great day, complete with Mexican and painting after school with Caleb, who was in fact not late to school and also had a great day..

once we got the uglies out of us.  Nothin' like the name of Jesus.

And all the tired Monday Mamas said Amen. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Five Minute Fridays... Begin


It's difficult, sometimes. This starting over or starting something new.

Putting one foot in front of the other and not hesitating...

Today is the first of August and my first day back to work, but all of the 12 month employees in my building have been on a flex schedule, so the building was locked.

I headed home, thankful for one more day of respite.

I know that come Monday, the piles of old lecture notes and old meeting notes from last semester will still cover the floor of my office.

The books will still be piled high.

And it will be time to begin...

begin door schedules and syllabi and lecture calendars and clinical schedules and notes and exams and assignments.

I'll be picking up the pieces of what I left last semester, what I hurriedly piled up in an effort to breathe in the sunshine of summer break, and it will be difficult to begin...

Begin to file and begin to type and begin to sort and begin to put away.

Begin to revise and read new textbooks and learn about new students.

Every beginning starts somewhere, but yet the earth is round and we were infinite, because God knew  us before we were born. He has every day numbered, but had plans for us before the earth was formed.

In the beginning, God...

In the beginning, was the Word and the Word was God.

In the beginning...

as we begin anew.

He's there.  He  knows. 

So, take a deep breath and just step out.

Live each day as if it is a new beginning, a new opportunity...

because each day, each beginning, is a gift.

So begin...

Linking up with Lisa Jo for five minute Fridays, where we write for five minutes, unedited, about a given prompt.  Today's prompt, fitting for this first day back to work... begin.
Five Minute Friday