Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Tuesday Tidbits (Volume 1, Edition 11)

This evening I managed to get in a mile before the skies opened up and the rain came. A couple of days ago I was walking and realized it was 0' dark 30 at 8 PM...  and then the next day Wallace told me he local mini-mart isn't selling ice cream anymore which means that summer really is over and there are no words for how sad that makes me. 

This quote made me think: "Grownups don't look like grownups on the inside either. Outside they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grownups.." The Ocean at the End of the Lane

As I pondered, I thought about how often I had muttered the words, "I don't want to be the grownup." There's a meme on the socials that says something to the effect of, "You look around the room for the grownup, only to realize you ARE the grownup." And let's face it, most days adulting is HARD. Mostly, though, what I took away from this quote is that we are all little children inside. Every person you meet, no matter what their age, is most likely still a little scared and insecure. They are caring their childhood experiences, good and bad, with them, and we all sometimes revert to that scared little kid. Give a little grace when you encounter someone who rubs you the wrong way. It may just be forced bravado.

Later in the same book: "I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things that made me happy."

Not every kid gets a good childhood, and I fully recognize that... but childhood should be full of innocence. Kids are generally more creative, have a huge imagination, and are optimistic. They also tend to forgive easily. Each day, let's strive to let a little bit of that child out. 

In one scene of this book, the character talks about dowsing.  It made me think of my Papaw Barlow, who "water witched". He'd take two dousing rods (of a special kind of wood, I think, although maybe it worked with metal later? I don't know... I forget stories) and then move around property. At the site of water running underground, the rods would cross and they'd know where to dig for a well. I'm not sure how they figured out as much as they did back in those days, but I'm in awe. What's something your ancestors did that you're proud of? 

Overdrive and library books- Yes, I do have trouble keeping up with reading and no, this will not help me in that in any way but did you know that our local public library (and many other libraries) loan out books for your e-reader? It's like magic. You sign in with your library card, so some browsing or search for a book you want, and then have it delivered... at any time of the night. Amazing, right? 

Books I Read: 

Canada by Mike Myers

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia- Elizabeth Catte- "No need to write a sad book or platform yourself constantly, just run toward your friends when they need you." 

You need to try: 

the podcast pictured above. It reads a Psalm a day, and then provides commentary, and the voice is so very soothing. 

Have a blessed week, friends! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Tuesday Tidbits (Volume 1, Edition 10)

Here it is, Tuesday again, and I can't hardly believe that. I also can't believe that tomorrow is the halfway point of September.  I've settled into a routine with school, but it's still overwhelming. Life in general is overwhelming. I'm sorry if you're tired of hearing that. 

With that being said, I am DETERMINED to learn to live in a way that is not an emergency. Life is too short to survive, and while I know it will never be pinterest perfect, I also know that we were made to experience life. 

Friday night I went to Billy Joel and introduced Caleb to some of the music of my childhood. Saturday I took a trip to Prestonsburg with him and ate at a Tex-Mex restaurant. I'm not a huge Tex-Mex fan, but the burrito Caleb had was as round as my arm, and it was nice to sit outside and eat while watching the sun set behind some Eastern Kentucky mountains. 

Books I've Read This Week: 


A full review at the end of this month but I'll leave you with this inspiration: 

 "My heart's deepest desire is that Kin will open the floodgates for dozens, even hundreds of memoirs from rural-born women who have spent years of their lives in churches and kitchens, who daily rise to the impossible task of negotiating their identity, power, and freedom. I pray for an embarrassment these riches, a deafening chorus of gorgeous, complicated voices loud enough to drown out the stereotypes and shame that have haunted our lives."- Kin, Shawna Kay Rodenberg

Let's tell our stories, friends! Especially those that others try to tell for us! <3

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Psalm 23: Lesson From Sunday School (Volume 1, Edition 6)

 Today my cousin Jordan brought the message at church. He spoke from Psalm 23, one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. 

Sometimes, the familiar loses its power. 

We become almost immune to the words. 

He talked about how these words were depicted on cross-stitches and in paintings, of a meek and mild Jesus cradling a lamb, with a piteous look on His face. 

As He read through the passage from the KJV, I had the NIT pulled up on my phone. 

I quickly grabbed my journal I use for notetaking on Sunday mornings and jotted down the comparisons. I'll share below. 

Jordan spoke about the role of a shepherd and how he served a specific need. He reminded us that David wrote from an area of experience, as he was a shepherd. 

Sheep are not the smartest animals. They often wander off, they try to go places they are physically unable to reach, they can't even find their way in their own pen at night, for goodness sake! They are prone to attack by predators because they are so easily fooled. 

But the Shepherd is there to lead them, guide them, feed them, provide for them, protect them. 

He then specifically talked about how God made a table for us in the presence of our enemies. If you want to think in terms of sheep, it's like a sheep is grazing in a green pasture, and there's a wolf standing there salivating on the other side of a see-through fence. He's there, but he can't get to the sheep. Most likely, in the case of the sheep, they aren't even aware that the wolf is there, because they are in the presence of their protector, the Shepherd. so they can graze peacefully. 

We aren't quite like that. A lot of times I focus on my "enemy" (the obstacles in my way) and can't even enjoy all of the blessings God has provided. Jordan likened it to us actually inviting our enemy to pull up a the table and have a seat. I've been guilty of that. Too often, I allow my peace to be snatched away because I'm focusing on all that is wrong with my situation. Jordan reminded us that Jesus has never said, "I don't know." The enemy of our souls comes to our table prepared with lies- lies like the other table looks better, or we aren't good enough to sit at the table, or we aren't going to make it (how often have I felt that one in recent years???)... but our situation does not change God's promises, and He promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He goes before, protects from behind, and covers us under His wings. In this world we will have trouble but we are to take heart, because He has overcome the world. 

Read that again. YOUR SITUATION DOES NOT CHANGE GOD. There is nothing too big or small, nothing too hard, nothing too stupid, nothing too challenging. (See Romans 8)

He works all things for our good (Romans 8:28) for His glory. I forget that. I get focused on how bad the hard thing feels, and the next thing I know I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, just like a sheep that has wondered off.

How often have I been like a sheep gone astray! If you, like me, need a refreshing, take a few minutes to soak up these promises. And remember this. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, left the fold of 99 to save 1. That's you. That's me. 

Psalm 23- listen here to hear my favorite podcasters share Psalm 23. Or click here for a previous blog post on Psalm 23... but take a few minutes to read through my notes of the KJV and the NLT. Soak in His words. His promises. 

The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want (I have all that I need). 

He maketh me to lie down (lets me rest) in green pastures (meadows). 

He leads (guides) me beside still waters (peaceful streams)

He restoreth my soul (renews my strength)

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness (He guides me along right paths)

for His Names sake (bringing honor to His name)

yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (even when I walk in the darkest valley)

I will fear no evil (I will not be afraid)

Thou art with me (You are close beside me)

Your rod and staff, they comfort (protect) me

You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies

You anoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over (overflows with blessings). 

Surely your goodness and mercy (unfailing love) will follow me (pursue me) all the days of my life

and I will dwell (live) in the house of the Lord forever. 

(Picture is from my HCSB translation Bible. I especially like the verse "He renews my life.")

Blessings to you, friend. <3

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Tuesday Tidbits (Volume 1, Edition 9)

 I almost forgot today was Tuesday. 

Yesterday was the perfect Labor Day, other than I did have to work some on an exam... and I have my first quiz in Advanced Assessment this week, and a quiz in Advanced Pharmacology next week, and I feel so behind...

but I left it all at the house and went hiking at the Gorge with my best boys and Ellie. It had been far too long since I had stood under a blue sky gazing at a vast overlook... at least vast for these parts... and I was reminded why so many say that it's easier to breathe in the wide open. I question why I allow myself to go so long without it. 

When I went to bed last night I had good intentions. I  knew I'd have a meeting and I wouldn't get to exercise in the evening, so I set my alarm to get up early in the morning. 

And then I reset it when I got up at 5 to go to the bathroom. 

And then hit the snooze button. 

I started the day with good intentions... but somehow they didn't stay that way. 

As I've reflected all day about my life, I am thankful for the blessings I have, but I also know for whatever reason I am still struggling. This is a season of discontent. It's been that way for a while now, and the harder that I strive, the more uncomfortable I feel in my own skin. I feel like I'm shouting at the sky sometimes, but the truth is, I have stopped even whispering. 

None of this makes logical sense... except that it is all about what you put in, what you feed yourself, and for far too long my diet has been social media crap. 

Excuse my language... but I've realized that the nastiness affects me. 

It has made me question my faith. It has made me question who I am and what I believe. I see the posts that some people callously make, and I hope that they aren't the only Jesus somebody sees... and then I realize that the same could probably be said for myself. 

I don't profess to have all the answers, but I also know that we are each put on this earth for a purpose. I've not figured out exactly what mine is... but I think it has to do with words. I feel in my heart that I'm a writer, and that God means for me to write... but I keep on saying "yes" to things I have no business saying yes to. 

And that makes me ask what I want to say yes to...

Yes to spending more time with the most important people. 

Yes to fostering real life friendships (I need some help with this one!)

Yes to taking care of myself (my blood pressure was up everytime a student took it today during physical assessment. I weigh more now than I ever have... and some of it is physical weight.)

Yes to doing things that I enjoy. 

I want to start saying no to things that make me feel inferior, things that I feel like I "should" do for whatever reason. 

I started asking myself today "What do you know that is true?" in preparation for a sappy facebook post and I realized that honestly, I don't know much that is true. 

Our society feels like one fat lie. 

I know that God is truth, but honestly what I'm seeing out of some people in His church doesn't feel like truth to me, and that's a huge struggle for me right now. 

I do know that He says if we seek Him, He shall be found. I just think maybe that for the last few years, I've been seeking Him in the wrong way. 

Seeking Him by trying to prove how good I am. 

Seeking Him by reading the Bible to just get through it. 

And, if I'm honest, I've been seeking Him after I've been seeking everything else. 

So... as I begin this next year of Lauren's story, I'm recommitting... again. 

I'll still get it wrong. I'll still miss the point. I'll still be selfish. I'll still hit the snooze button...

but I'm learning that no mater what I do, I can't be perfect, and that's ok. 

There is truth in being who you  are, all the glorious mess...

So, happy birthday to me. 

Sorry this tidbit was a little heavier than normal. Thanks for being there to help me process through.