Tag Archives: lessons

Sometimes I Cringe

photo credit – Laurie Avocado on flickr (click on picture to see her work)

Last night I drove my youngest to her very first softball practice. Softball has a place in my heart so I’m THRILLED to have a child interested in the sport. (Even if it only lasts a season.) We cheered when we found the school, only because she actually missed her first practice. Missed, not from lack of trying, but because we had driven around the Cinco Ranch area for 45 minutes and never saw the school. Cinco Ranch is huge. It could be its own city. For the love.

Anyway, after she started practice I decided to take 30 minutes of the hour practice to walk to relieve some stress that had obviously built-up in my body. I knew this by the sharp pain in my lower back. Happens every time.

So off I went. Happy and content to have 30 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time (Can I get an AMEN?). As I walked, I started noticing the houses I went by. One after another after another. They were gorgeous. And by gorgeous, I mean houses that you would see in Better Homes and Gardens or maybe on a hill surrounded by a moat. Each were as big as the next and believe me, there were no “small” houses anywhere in sight! I walked at least two miles and never once saw a house that looked small or even medium. They were castles… and some literally looked like castles (like the picture). Every single yard was manicured to be perfect. That’s an HOA for ya! But seriously, it reminded me of the movie, The Truman Show. Have you seen it? In the movie Truman lives in an idyllic town with perfect houses, perfect lawns, working at the perfect job, had the perfect life and wife, etc. except that none of it was real. And Truman was not content.

I wondered more than once what on earth these people did for a living. Seriously. As far as my eye could see I saw perfect houses with perfect lawns in a perfect neighborhood. I wondered if, like Truman, they were content.

And my stomach turned. *Oh no. No. Not a lesson. Please not now, I’m trying to have a peaceful walk. My 30 minutes of quiet. Alone.*

There are times I welcome God’s lessons in my life and there are times they make me cringe. The ones I cringe at are ones that challenge my beliefs or how I do life. I knew it was coming because I tried so dang hard to push all the thoughts aside and focus on the flowers, the blue sky, the quiet, the “perfectness” of everything, the mosquito bite I got the other day, the fact that I needed a potty, the names of the streets… anything…

but the thoughts would not go away and still haven’t.

So before I tell you the thoughts that went through my mind, just know this is not AT ALL a “slam” or judgement or anything to those who live in large houses (or a pat on the back for those of us in small houses.). Or judgement to those of you God has blessed financially. He did that for a reason and it’s not my business. PLEASE know that is not my heart AT ALL. (OK, so hopefully by now you know this is not about judging you or anyone else. Can you tell I’m a people pleaser? LOL)

God knows that if I had more money I’d probably get a bigger house, not huge, but definitely bigger. I’ve always wanted one more room so we could all have our own room. Even had a neighbor stop by to see if there was unused space we could change into a bedroom. To my dismay, the builder had done an impeccable job of utilizing every.single.space. So yeah, I have nothing against big houses. Nothing. Well, except that I don’t think I could keep a big house clean.

What kept flooding my mind were the following thoughts (Hold on because my thoughts can go crazy and I pretty much documented exactly how they happened. Scary, I know.) –

  • What do these people do? (See? I’m telling you… I just can’t imagine there are THAT many people who can afford a castle but apparently there are.)
  • Maybe I should do that… except I don’t know what “that” is.
  • There should be no child without a home because look at all these beautiful homes that could take in a child. (OK, so I was wearing my Run4theChildren shirt and adoption was on my mind.)
  • No one should HAVE to sleep in a cardboard box. If they want to, that’s different.
  • If I lived in one like that I’d definitely need a maid. Or medication. Or both. Because goodness knows that’s WAY too much house for a borderline OCD person to keep clean. Not that I’m admitting that I’m borderline OCD…. but just stating the fact that “others” may feel that way. Um, yeah.
  • Why are we, as a people, obsessed with how the outside of our house looks like? Maybe for the same reason we are obsessed with out our outside body looks like. Eeek… there’s a scripture for that. I know, I know.
  • What do these people do? (There it is AGAIN. Stop it, brain, just stop it.)
  • I wonder what would happen if everyone just bought a house that was only the size the family needed and gave the rest away.
  • I really hope I’d be that kind of person if God blessed me that way.
  • If someone from another country came to visit I think I’d shy away from driving through this area because I’d be embarrassed at the amount of money spent on a house… when they are literally starving and living in cardboard.
  • What do these people do? (My brain does not obey, obviously.)
  • I can name at least 20 families that have done exactly this – either moved so they could give more away, adopted, or use their home to bless others. How cool is that? I so admire them all. Maybe some of the people in these homes have done the same. One can’t tell by looking at the outside.
  • If I tried harder I bet I could name more. I know LOTS of giving people.
  • I can’t write about this. People will think I’m judging.
  • But I’m not judging. So maybe I can write about it.
  • My feet hurt.
  • Oh hallelujah there’s the school! What was KISD thinking when they chose that stone with that brick? It’s stone-cold ugly. Get it? Stone-cold, lol. Wait. There I go judging. Aaaahhh.

OK, so seriously it was quite the walk and AGAIN absolutely ZERO judgement to those of you financially blessed or that live in large houses. Seriously.

It’s really not about the size of the house (or how much money you do or do not have) anyway, but about using the finances you’re given to glorify God.  And this can be for those financially blessed or not. I know this, because God is challenging me on my finances (insert cringe) which is probably why I got a lesson while out on a

quiet walk…

with uninterrupted time…

content to be alone.

Except I wasn’t.

 

 

Five Minute Friday – Focus

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Focus…

Just three weeks ago the drive to work gave me an opportunity to focus. To pray and allow God to focus my thoughts and my day. I sang with abandon. No one to hear but the one who created my voice. He loves my voice and I love that he loves it. Even when I’m not in tune or on beat or… ahem… sing the wrong words. Yep, I’m that singer. A choir director’s nightmare 😉

Then school began and apparently thousands of others all started new jobs on the same day.

Thirty-five minutes turned into ninety. Sigh. The mornings became frustrating as I thought of all the places I could drive to during that same amount of time. Or all the things on my “to do” list that I could have done. Day after day of arriving at work in a blur. Twice I remember pulling into the parking lot wondering how in the heck I got there. How could I drive for so long and not remember the journey? My mind was blur.

This morning as I made the trek to work I kept looking at all the cars in the “rich lane”. You know, the toll road. Being on the poor side you can sometimes get a little envious. OK, not a little but a lot. However, this morning I noticed that every car I saw in the rear view mirror looked blurred. Looking ahead everything looked clear. I kept blinking my eyes, thinking that quite possibly I needed to get my eyes checked. Strange.

Then it occurred to me that my life is like that. Looking back at all the “stuff” leaves me without focus and peace. It’s when I look ahead that I feel clear and focused.

Hmmm… only God can orchestrate a lesson like that… on a long drive to work. He also reminded me that the extra time gives me extra time to sing my heart out to him… because he loves my voice. And I love that he loves it.

Five Minute Friday – Here

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:

Here…

There’s no question that I am here today because of grace.

The week has been a crazy blur of VBS, day camp, work, fast-food dinners, a funeral, and the Olympics. Days that began at 7am and ended around midnight.

Days where you…

  • stretch out onto the bed and pray the next day will be better. And then wonder if there is a service that would come and wash the sheets… because you know they need to be cleaned and then realize you’re the service and that it’s not going to happen this week.
  • live out of the stacked clean clothes on the coffee table because there’s no time for putting them away. But feeling successful that they are clean and folded which is a  pretty big deal.
  • snap at others and wish you could go back in time and do it differently.
  • eat all your meals out because you’re literally not home long enough to make anything… to your kids’ delight.
  • look at the hanging plants and consider watering them, knowing you won’t and then decide that next week they should be thrown away anyway because their crispy brown leaves scream to everyone that enters, “I’m dead!”
  • tell yourself over and over to just make it to Saturday knowing it’s the only day you will get a decent night of sleep. Hopefully.
  • step over clothes on the floor, push crumbs off counters for the dog to eat, and ignore the things growing in the toilet. And quite possibly the shower and tub.
  • are overwhelmed by just getting the trash to the curb. And then getting the can back to the side of the house.
  • stay up much later than you know you should and promise to do better the next day but you don’t.

Each day brought its’ own emotions for each of us.

But we’re here and we’re thankful. Thankful that regardless if the plants get watered or the trash cans get put up, my value does not rest in what I do but rather in whom my heart trusts.