Tuesday, August 31, 2010

HonEr...

Darling English Majors, Teachers, and Spelling Bee champs,

It was meant to be a play on words people! I do know how to google you know. For the record, no I don't remember when then is than but I do try to remember that it is time related...

"Definition of HONER
1: to sharpen or smooth with a whetstone
2: to make more acute, intense, or effective
— hon·er noun"

Must be the blasted poet in me!

For all my spell checkers, and I do mean this with love...

shut up.

Get your own darn blog and spell correctly!

Hmph! Bet you never read "The Eolian Harp" for the fun of it either.

With all my love,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Restoring Honor....

John mentioned that he wanted to go to Washington DC for the Restoring Honor Rally on 8/28....we both mentioned it over the last year. But honestly, how could we go? We are all about fiscal responsibility these days and in the budget, it was not.
Except that once we sat down and looked at it all, if we drove down the day of and home the day of, we could do it...and so we did.
I have a weeks worth of blogging I can do about that 24 hour trip to our nation's capital, but alas, most if it will have to wait...but be aware, I have a list!

Since we spent a great deal of time in the car, that is where the Lord was dealing with me. Sigh...
John all but drove for a living during all the years he was on the job. I trust him completely with our safety, except that I hate not being in charge. And being in the shot gun position means I am definitely not in charge. I finally decided to just keep my eyes shut, unless I was driving of course...'cause that would be stupid.

Eyes shut...yeah, that can be pretty scary too. Have you ever been on a roller coaster and kept your eyes shut? What happens? Yes, it feels like you are going to go over a cliff. Opening your eyes can be just as scary when you see that you are on a ride, specifically designed to make you feel like you are going over a cliff! Okay, that is what my being a passenger in a car feels like.

When my eyes are shut, I fall into vain imaginings. When they are open and I see break lights ahead of us...yeah, just like falling off a cliff.

The thing is that I thought I had destroyed that spirit of fear. But evidently, I only wounded it because it is back and it brought friends. I found myself asking God to deliver me over and over again...panic prayers. Come on, we've all done them.

Funny that when I was driving, no fear. For the last part of the journey home, John and I drove separate cars...yes, my eyes were open, duh. I was not bothered in the least by it all. Given that I had sound asleep children in my car, I pumped up the proverbial volume on my speakers, praised the Name above all names and got to talking with Him.

How is it that I trust Him when I all I have to do is follow John but not when John is charge of the entire situation? I've always said, I will follow John anywhere. And I mean that! But evidently only if I get to follow. Don't ask me to trust him with my safety when I have no other choice...Seriously Mair? Yeah, I guess so. Ugh.

The Lord, obviously does not want me afraid. As a matter of fact, of all the scriptures I could find on courage, they all say either, "Take courage" or "Be of good courage" so what the heck? Courage is mine for the taking...so? I don't believe it is a "ask and you shall receive" type of thing. I think it is a matter of taking. Something like sitting at a dinner table and asking someone to pass the salt. It's not a matter of waiting for someone to put the salt on the food for me but rather taking it and using it.

So where does that leave me? I suppose struggling with my own self-sufficiency. My soul screams, "I DO!" And when I am left with no other choice than to trust Joh... and in turn, trust God, with any given moment, my un-holy trinity of Me, Myself, and I get in the way. Truly, the sin of self-sufficiency leads to the sin of fear in me. Hmmmm.

I don't have all the answers to this yet. In my head, I know that God gave me the mantle of marriage to cover me. But in my heart, roars an angry feminist that could make Eve look like a light weight in the I-DO-IT-MYSELF department.

The theme of self has played heavily this week for me. How He loves me! To call me to do great things for Him even while He empties me out so I can be more full of His grace...Yeah, He has a lot to do in me. 'Cause I am full of somethin' and at times it don't smell like a rose!

****This would have been a great time to play the song, "Jesus take the wheel." But I kinda' hate that song with more then words can express. It would have been okay if they played it JUST at Christmas time ('cause it is a Christmas song!) but they played it over and over and over to the point of being a joke. Like what they did with "We are the World" or "The Christmas Shoes"...yeah, I think too much. I know.*****



PS I shared this with John and he admitted he was having the same trouble when I was driving. Hmmmm. Maybe this is less a Maryellen issue then it is a human condition issue. Stuff to ponder as I hit my pillow!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Football and Jesus...

I called John last night to ask him to meet me on the hill at football. I wanted a changing of the guards. I had just sat for an hour while I waited for Jack at the tutor's and could not imagine sitting for two hours more "on the hill" at football practice. John graciously said "of course" he would relieve me. Sigh of relief...I told him to feel free to go home and eat the dinner waiting for him and meet me when he was done.

Then my friend Joann showed up, coffee in hand and the demand that I let John know that I was staying because she had schlepped the far side of the field to sit with me....Still being a little afraid of her, I obeyed and John was thrilled to get the night at home. I have to admit, I felt better almost right away as we sipped our coffee and the wind reminded us that football is a Fall game. We sat and chatted and solved all the worlds problems and created some more. Just woman stuff that we so love to chat about.

Joann is from the other side of Yonkers from where I grew up. I tease her that she would have swirled me when we were teens. I have no doubt about it. Frankly, either does she!

And then we talked about Jesus. I so love to brag on Him. And I love it when a friend cares to hear it. She has never once changed the subject. Like it is for real friends, one conversation flows into the next...I was not expecting a South Yonkers girl in my life right now. Glad she has come along.

As we walked to the car with our football players, Jack got just far enough ahead of us to jump out of the darkness with a "BOO!" and scare poor Joann...not something I would recommend doing by the way.

"JACK!" She yelled. "Don't you know not to scare two Yonkers girls like that! Your lucky we didn't rip your eye balls out with our camp chairs!"

Yup, she's a keeper.

On the way home, Jack was talking about THE GAME. How he loves to play. He has all but grown up playing football.

"I am playing my hardest but it's like Coach doesn't notice how hard I'm playing."

Have you ever had one of those moments when you say something to one of your kids that kicks your own spirit in the teeth? Yeah, me too.

"Jack, are you playing your hardest to be noticed by the coach or are you playing your hardest for the good of the team and to the Glory of God?"

Short silence followed. Then:

"I want the coach to see how hard I am working out there so he will use me more. If I am playing great, then it will benefit the whole team. Right?"

"And do you play as your gift to Him? I mean all of our gifts are as 'filthy rags' to Him. There is nothing we can do to impress Him...but He knows our hearts and He is your Abba. He knows when you are giving Him a gift. When you do, He wants to bless you back. Do you see the difference?"

"I guess. Can I have a snack when we get home?"

Not sure if that conversation was for Jack's edification or mine.

Are all my days and the seemingly endless and somewhat insignificant tasks done unto the Glory of God? Does it matter if I work to the glory of His name as a C.S. Lewis or as a nameless housewife in Poughkeepsie? Does it matter if I glorify the name of the Lord by doing dishes or at a job or in the car or in the White House?

As I tucked Jack in last night I reminded him that he should only care about One opinion.

"Jack, you play football to an audience of One. Just remember that always. Give every gift He has given to you, back to Him and just watch what He can with it. Night. Love you. XOXOX"

As I walked away from Sir Jack's room, I stopped in the hall and asked God to use that gift of conviction on my heart in anyway He chooses to. I can't wait to see what He has planned.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bloggin issues...

Not sure if it is just me or others are having Blogger issues, but I can't get my posts to save or sometimes come up. I can work on it later, but just wanted to check in. xoxoxo (This is more a Tweet then a post! ;)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Not on BlogHer....

BlogHer. All I know of it is that there are several blogs I adore that are a part of BlogHer. I can also tell you that I have not spent enough time on the site to understand it. How is that for honesty? I can also tell you that I am not a part of BlogHer because there is a waiting list to even be considered to be a part of it. I have not put my name on the waiting list, nor have a joined any of the contests on BlogHer. One contest consists of a question you can answer and then be entered into a drawing to win.

It's not that I don't enjoy joining things, it's just that well, the directions were longer then my attention span this summer. Again, how is that for honesty?

I like the contest question they had for this week or rather it liked me enough to stick in my brain and haunt me all night. Maybe that is why they are so successful!

"What will you be doing in ten years?"

While I don't think it was meant to make my brain hurt, well, it made my brain hurt. In ten years I will be 52 and that sounds very grown up to me still!

At 15 I could have answered with almost pin-point accuracy that I would be married and making babies. But the truth is that I had no idea what the ten years in between would hold. I had no vision for nursing school, a career, much less a mom on a vent for six of those years or even being a single woman living alone in New Rochelle. Not one bit of the ten years in between was on my horizon.

I wonder what my answer would have been if I had been asked that question, only with a seven year span? Probably that I would want to be married and making babies too...yeah, one track mind here, always was!

I can tell you what my answer would have been at 32: RETIREMENT! Out of NY and on to a new and simpler life with lower taxes and more land! I had my 3.5 children and we had a plan. A good plan...except that I had never seen the joys like having Maggie, and the pain like losing dad or moving with in the boundaries of NY, along the way.

So what to do I want to see my life like at 52? I hope and pray I am somebodies favorite mother-in-law by then and maybe a grandma...but that's more about the kids then us. Where are we going to be?

I've spent so much of the last year either mourning not retiring or regrouping into retirement that there has only been the shortsightedness of retirement and bills.

School is looming and I am trying to figure out how to get every child from Point A to Point B without losing track. When does Jack have his next game and can I sell some of these JETS tickets because I know we can't use them all? What's for dinner? Can I make it to September when the pension kicks in? How much coffee can I really drink in one day?

As Dave Ramsey puts it, "The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan."

I've had a few unexpected blessings in the past few days. Never saw them coming. And I wonder if that is the point to this exercise here.

Truth is, every dream I have ever had, has come true.

Let me say that one again: Every dream that I have ever had, has come true, less the ballerina thing when I was four. But I never took that one to heart anyway.

I firmly believe that God has never put something on my heart to pray for or work for that He didn't plan to use in my life. Some of those dreams came with heart ache but the rain was always worth the rainbow.

Maybe it's time to start spending some time, "writing the vision down" again, "that he may run who reads it." (Habakkuk 2:2 reads in part)

So dream a little today, just like I am going to do...and start to write it down. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Monday, August 16, 2010

The cone of shame...

"The light bulb."
"The bell."
"The dang *#%$*&^%$# cone."

Yes, the poor dogs cone. Sigh. He looks humiliated in the darn thing. Mange? Allergies? Lyme? Who knows. I will say he isn't as alpha around me as usual though!
Mr. Maghoo or Guber, as he is often referred to, had himself itching to point of being bloody and not even me, The anti-St. Frances, could allow him to suffer. So now I am pushing meds, cleaning his ears and comforting him at every turn. Now if I could just get him to stop knocking into everyone.

Yeah, he is the reason we are not on our way to Ocean City this week. Maybe in a few weeks. Sigh.

It has been a huge week of God moving here in Schlusserdom, but some of it will just have to wait until I can wrap my brain around all of it. 'Till then....♥♥♥

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The break-away...

You know how we have all of these support groups for new moms? Mommy and Me, Mom's day out, MOP's? Yeah, we don't need them. Seriously girls. Now I gotta tell you that I loved my MOM's group when the kids were little but in retrospect while the season of toddlers is exhausting it ain't nothing to the high stakes drama of raising teens...and I mean good kids who have no problems except for the ones imagined.

I think we may have a support group too. Unfortunately it's called A.A. I am thinking we can skip the three sheets to the wind and go right to the meetings.

"Hi, my name is Maryellen and I am a recovering mother of teenage girls"

"Hi Maryellen!" The crowd would shout back. Sometimes in the back of the room, there would be a mommy still stinken with the stench of a verbal smack down from her qualifying teen.

"Hi everyone. I was raised in a Christina home and created one for our children with my darling husband. I am not sure what's going on. I am hoping to find some support here."

"The program works if you work it, so work, your worth it!"

"One day at a time, Mama!"

"Easy does it!"

Yeah, I've been to a few meetings in my time. I know the lingo from when I use to go to open meetings just so I could learn what not to marry. Nothing like a room full of humility to learn something about yourself. The best meetings were at the beach, at sunrise.

That was my whole snarky post that I had planned to share with you all yesterday. But I wound up with some terrible anxiety in the morning that I just could not shake. I don't tend to be a nervous person. But the combination of teenager confrontation and a search for "what are we going to do with the rest of our lives now that John is retired" just seemed to get to me.

"Fear in the heart of a believer is always sin." As Beth Moore puts it. Okay, I know that, given all the times God addresses the issue in scripture.

In a moment when my pride was silent enough to let me do what I needed to, I sent an e-mail to ask for prayer from our prayer team at church. The request went out and we were covered with prayers for strength and protection...

Before I left home, my qualifying teen hugged me, told me she loved me and asked for forgiveness for being such a pita....I peacefully went about my day of crazy running.

When the break line on my car snapped and I was left with pudding for breaks, I literally glided into a near by parking lot and put the care into a spot. I threw the car into park without hitting anyone or anything. I don't exactly know how it all happened that not even our necks snapped or that there was not a scratch on us or the car.

I knew what a big deal the unfolding events were immediately. The kids didn't. Had I turned left instead of right....had the car in front of me not moved...had I not made that turn into the parking lot...had, had, had.

I would not be on here today. The cops who knew of it were shocked at the results. People don't walk away from snapped break lines. They just don't.

And planes don't just land on the Hudson with not a scratch on the passengers.

Except that we serve a mighty God.

There is so much more to what happened and the very Glory of God come down...another day and another post.

Before I go, I have to share that when I got home, that qualifying teen of mine? She hugged me and said: "If we had not talked this morning...if you didn't come home today...I would have lived with that regret for the rest of my life. God's good and perfect will for us is to never live with regrets."

Qualifier got it. For now. And to Him be the Glory, forever and ever. Amen.




Monday, August 9, 2010

A dingo ate my baby...

My friend, Vanessa, is a trained mental health professional. I asked her last week for some advice on how to handle the whole teenage girl thing. A couple of tips for the mom here.

Her words shook me to the core and I assume they will you too.

She pondered for a moment and answered with almost reverence. With her hands held outward and a shrugged shoulder she said, "You walk around for about three to four years saying, 'What the blankety-blankety-blank?'"

Her exact words have been censored for, well, obvious reasons.

Well then, now we know.

If there are any Titus woman out there, by all means, chime in. If you don't know what a Titus woman is, by all means, Google.

I am blessed beyond compare with a beautiful family. Exhausted this weekend by the same beauties.

Vanessa did suggest that when one of the teens in my life is demonstrating poor behavior to name the alternate personality. I won't share her name for her kids but I will share ours:
Dingo.
As in Meryl Streep screaming, "A dingo ate my baby!" Because sometimes it feels that way.

At one point this weekend we had a pack of dingos in the car. John and I just sat on the bumper outside the car with them inside and laughed at the insanity of it all.

Dingo.

It says it all.

Friday, August 6, 2010

How annoying can I be?

I once heard Sarah Palin say that she prays everyday that if it is God opening a door, she wants to walk through it. She doesn't want to miss it. Smart lady if you ask me, and you didn't...but it's my blog, so there.

I have prayed for a couple of years now that God would open doors no man could shut and shut doors no man can open. Of course, I didn't actually mean the close part. I've used my share of battering rams to try and open a door or two that He has had guarded shut. I wonder if when I get to Glory there are going to be a couple of battered and bruised angels that were guarding those doors. I wonder if they are going to want to have a few words with me. I can almost picture them with bent wings, and a baseball bat, tapping one winged foot awaiting my arrival.

For the record, Heavenly Angels of The Most High...sorry. And thanks for obeying Him and not letting me through. Just wanted to let you know that I am feeling a bit chagrined over the various fights I have given you over the years...But I am getting way more grown up over such things...Right?

I am in the process of watching a door for a job with suspect eyes. If it is from Him, like Sarah, I don't want to miss it. But if not, I don't want to go through it. In many ways it is the dream job...you know the one. The kind that is too good to be true...except that I serve a God who just so happens to be in the too-good-to-be-true business.

I was recently telling a friend about all of this when she warned that I must be careful that no one know that I am a believer in the professional setting...Seriously?

Once upon a time, at the exuberant age of 18, I tried to convince one of my closest friends that she needed Jesus. I call it my conversion by the sword stage of life. We laugh about it now, she and I. She is as committed to His will as any believer I have ever met, but not because I tried to knock her over the head with the bible. She grew into Him, one story, one prayer, one moment at a time. I adore her faith and her for that matter.

No one has ever doubted my faith. It's not that I walk into places proclaiming the Good News (and it is so good!) with a bull horn. In part it is the "sprinkling" of my conversation that makes for no room for doubt. I don't say "Oh my God" unless I am in prayer. "Oh my word." does the job quite well if you ask me. And I do say things like "Lord, where in the world is my..." I use that prayer for everything from keys to pens.

I would like to think it is also the Jesus in my eyes that gives me away to another believer. I would also like to believe that if I am hated it is because of Him not just because I am annoying.

I could no more shed Him like a cloak then I could shed my pale Irish skin. You see, I've been grafted.

So I will take the "warning" from this friend with a grain of salt, even while it got me feeling a bit peppered.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

...and such

Just a quick note before the virus that has been attacking my computer realizes I am on.
Football has begun so life is lived at the field again. YAY! I love football all because of Jack's playing. And now we have a great song for it. I am a sap and a half for sure.

I am weepy in general today. There have been years August 5th has slipped by with just a nod. Not this year. Don't know why. Seventeen years ago today, Mom was welcomed into Heaven. And today I miss her like wild. But I will see her again, in just a little while. xoxoxo


PS Jesus, could you give her an extra hug today? That is, if you can catch her, running down those streets paved with gold.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A grumbler at heart...

I wonder if that is me. I've been known to grumble now and a then...Or maybe I am a good old fashioned trouble maker...Not sure if I am either or both.

John and I joke about my ability to build a case...I should have been a Perry Mason for sure. I have my facts and reasons, my accusations and my offenses all lined up like a case waiting for appeal. Again and again, we reason that no jury of MY peers would prevent a conviction based on the evidence at hand. I have won my share of debates unless I wanted to lose one~~~I was once placed on the side of pro-choice on a debate team. Yeah, I had nothing to say.

Point being that I can make an eloquent argument on paper and by mouth...question is, should I?

Are there times that "the facts" as I know them are not all of the facts. Am I too impetuous to sit and wait on God? Do I dig in and demand justice before I give the God of mercy and grace a chance to deal with others? Um, yeah, I've been known to do that.

So for the moment, I have been waiting on God for an answer to a situation we are in. Why? Because even though I am wired to fight or flight, I have learned that wisdom waits. Ah, the gift of wisdom.

Being stooped (yes, I no it is spelleted rong. I did it on perpusful, duh.) has been a trait that I didn't ask for. It was bestowed upon me as a young girl by a teacher my young heart believed. I learned I was not worth the trouble to renounce that lie and so it became a stone around my neck that caused my academic career to sink...

I became an English major in college because it was simply my native language and I couldn't mess that up. Writing was easy for me and poetry could be written with out rules. I knew I was a bit dyslexic but with a dictionary, I could look things up. I was more then a bit proud of the authors I read...and yet. There was a sadness to me about it because, like I said, it all came so easy.

Imagine my surprise when He called me to be a nurse? Yeah, that's what I said too. But I never said no because I knew He called me and if He did, He would give me the skills to learn what I needed to. And give me He did. I have never worked so hard at or for anything. Not in pride but in that wisdom He gave me. He called me so He would work it all out for my good. That my dears was His wisdom at work in me, with out my even knowing it.

But because my heart had never been delivered from the lie of stupidity, I never stood confident. If there was a nurse of higher degree in the room, my own insecurities would rush back and I would stand in the waiting. And then I grew some. I learned that I had learned all I needed to learn to do my job/vocation with great skill and confidence...not arrogance, but strength.

I learned to ignore the arrogance of a doctor who was obviously a victim of school lunch money theft. You know the type. The kid who got beaten up by idiots in school, who now makes more money then all the idiots of his youth put together. Yeah, can't stand those docs or teachers or IT guys or pastors for that matter. Give me the kid that got beaten up on the school yard or at the bus stop or who ate her lunch in the bathroom stall to avoid the lunch room AND stands in humility that God would choose her to serve Him...give me that girl or guy any day. Give me someone with a little common sense over a higher degree. A regular Joe the plumber over a Columbia Obama is way more my cup of tea. Wisdom vs. intelligence.

So my writing still comes easy and easier still with a spell check button although, as you all know, I will never remember the difference between "then" and "than" for the life of me. And nursing, if I don't know something, I do now how to look it up. I know how to admit that I don't know something and I think that makes me all the more valuable. Why? Wisdom.

God has demanded something of me that I had not anticipated: The quest for wisdom. God's Word tells us to seek after it and it will be freely given. While I don't always know the answer, I know the One who does. So more then answers to my questions, I seek His wisdom on the situation...For the one I find myself in now, I sorely lack it. But He has an endless supply. I can stand firm, knowing that He knows my end from the beginning and that I can seek His reply.

So wisdom waits and He will always use the foolish to confound the wise...that means I will never be out of a job.