Monday, August 25, 2014

Why I Follow....

My best friend since I was 8, Miss CD, challenged me via Facebook (so this will be shared there as well), to explain why I love Jesus.

It could be very simple - pastor's daughter, pastor's wife, grew up in the church.....
But that's kind of the easy way out.
So hold on, because this will be a bit of a read.  Got your coffee (or, you know, pepsi)? Ok, let's go.

First, to really understand why someone follows Jesus, why they love God the way they do, you have to understand where they come from.

I'm kind of controlling. I like to make sure things are done just a certain way, the way I want it done. And so that makes me a tiny bit of a perfectionist, but not really, because I don't always care enough to make everything perfect (confused yet? So am I). Controlling. Check.
And I really want everyone to like what I do and approve of me and be amazed by the events I plan. Needy. Check.
And my family is the most important thing in my life. If I let them down, I've let everyone down.  I need their love and affection, I need to support them (so that someone needs me), and I need to make sure things are done just right just for them. Which means if I feel like I've failed, that I've disappointing them, well, that's pretty much the depths of failure right there. Disappointing my family (especially my dad and husband).
Loyal and hovering and scared of failure? Check, check, check.

Mr. Curly recently informed me my life was ruled by fear.  Yep, fear that I will fail and disappoint him.  Fear that I won't be a good enough wife, a good enough mom, a good enough help mate or church worker or supporter.....

I read a sign once that said "Anxiety (or depression or a nervous break down or something like that) isn't a sign of being too weak, but rather having been strong too long."
I get that. I get being to the point where you're stretched too thin that you just can't take one more single thing.

A year ago I started taking celexa for anxiety and panic attacks.  I was having panic attacks at absolutely random and increasingly frequent times. Putting my kids to bed? Panic attack. Traffic jam on a trip? Panic attack. Crowded restaurant? Panic attack. Walking through Walmart? Panic attack.
Mr. Curly figured out pretty quick that giving me a little bit of control (letting me drive through the traffic jam, pass out the food in a crowded place or just make a decision without asking anyone) could at least slow down the descent into hyperventilation.
But then it got to where it physically hurt to hug my kids. And I was sad all the time.  Just blah. Just no desire to even try because I was going to fail. I couldn't control all the stressful things around me, so why even try? And why was everybody wanting to talk so loud and touch me all the time?!?!
So I went and saw my doctor and got a little pill.

Things got better pretty fast. (For those who care, I'm now on a 'weaning off the pill' regime, we'll see how it goes).

But that is me. Controlling, anxious, needy, dependent on family, and yeah, sometimes my sense of humor can lean towards the stupid (but that's not such a bad thing).

I've always known Jesus. I don't remember being saved, I just always followed Jesus. I do remember at 17 realizing that I had to have my own personal relationship with Christ, that I needed to say it, that I needed to make it real, and not rely on my parents faith anymore.
It was a huge step, even for a goody-two-shoes who had always known Christ.

I've made mistakes. Too many to count. I made some big ones this morning.
I've blamed God for things that were my fault. I've doubted He knew what He was doing.
I've hurt people.

But Jesus loves me anyway.
He gives me peace when I seek Him.
He gives me chances to try again, instead of saying "Sorry, you've messed up too much, just let me do it."
In fact, when I ask for forgiveness for stumbling in sin, He forgets it ever happened.
You can disappoint God, I've done it. But when I confess, He forgets it. Clean slate, new chance. No more disappointment, or anything to live down.

Starting at age 17 my favorite verse has been 1 Kings 3:9 "Give your servant a discerning heart... to distinguish between right and wrong."
For the past year I've been memorizing, and teaching my children, Philippians 4:4-9
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, bring your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Life is not easy. Christ came to bring us life more abundant - as I've said before, higher highs, lower lows.  Life gets pretty low sometime. I know. I've been there. In fact, this morning was a pretty low point and I'm not out of it yet. But I know that no matter how low I go, Jesus has been in the depths of hell and has risen to the heights of heaven. He has conquered all. And if He is with me in the depths, He will raise me up to the heights.
I ran across this verse this morning, Haggai: 2:4-5 (condensed, which means, I cut some out): Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the Lord, 'and work. For I am with you,' declares the Lord Almighty. 'My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.'

God is always with me. Always. Period. There is no time when He is not here, not waiting for me to turn to Him. I have no reason to worry, to be anxious. The anxiety I face is a chemical imbalance that needs some help. It's a body thing. But in my spirit, in my soul, I can rest calmly in God's hands, knowing no matter what I do, He forgives, He forgets. He loves.

And that's why I love Him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mood Hairs

Growing up, my parents had a friend who changed her hair according to her mood. One day she'd be a brunette, next a blonde, she might have even had blue hair at one point. The only thing I remember about her is going to meet her at the mall one day. We wandered and circled for almost an hour when my little brother finally asked my parents what color her hair was that day and we realized we had no idea! We had probably passed her and didn't even know it, because we were looking for a blonde, but was she blonde that day?

I love my hair, but the curl pattern and my lack of skill with a blow dryer and other hair tools pretty much sticks me to a total of 2 different hair styles. Both of which I've worn since I was 12. I love pixie cuts, but forget about it (seriously, forget it,  I tried in once in a fit of frustration and a 100plus degree heat wave). And punked out spikes? AWESOME! But, yeah, no hair tool talent.

Mr. Curly prefers me to grow it out, which I've been trying for over a year now.   It gets SO HOT.  Last week in a fit of frustration I went to the bathroom and hacked some bangs in just to keep it off my face! Thankfully, they look alright, and blend nicely when I want them to.

Tonight I went to Walmart for chicken, and came home with this:

Last September I highlighted my hair blonde. In the spring, I did chunky violet lowlights and deep red highlights. Those highlights have faded and grown out.
So I impulsively tried Pepper Potts red hair.

Here's what I got:

As expected, it didn't turn out as bright red. But the dark somewhat faded brown my hair has become in recent years is now nicely shiny with a hint of red. (It is still damp from washing). I'm sure once it dries it will be lighter and more red and I know it will curl more!

Plus, I already have a plan for when this begins to grow out - deep burgundy. A hint of purple again will be nice. And my roots won't be as noticeable then.

I think I might be turning into that friend my parents used to have.....

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Curly Hair vs. Straight Hair

I had this conversation with Curly Girl last night:

CG (who had worn her hair down for the day, and we had spent a lot of time outside): Did you notice my hair today, Mom, when it was blowing in the wind?

Me: I noticed it looked very pretty.

CG: And straight

Me: well, yeah, because your hair is so long (it is now past her rear), it is heavy and pulls the curls out. And you brushed it a lot this morning, which is good.

CG: Well, yeah, but straight hair is beautiful. That's why I brushed the curls out.

Me - feeling a bit concerned: Don't you think curly hair is beautiful?

CG - picking up on the fact that she might have offended me - Mom, I like you, but I want my hair straight and beautiful.

Me: What?

CG: I LIKE YOU, but I want my hair STRAIGHT to be beautiful. Straight hair is beautiful.

Me: Curly hair can be beautiful too. It doesn't have to be crazy and wild like mine usually is.

CG: Your hair is fine. I want mine straight and beautiful.

Me with a sigh: Well, that is fine. But remember, what truly makes you beautiful is your personality, your attitude and how you treat people. God looks at your heart, not your hair. You know that, right?

CG: Yes, I know. (sighing herself like its an old lesson). But I still want my hair straight and beautiful.

Her braid was done, so she ran off at that point, leaving me, honestly, a little sad. And thinking maybe we should hack a foot of hair off her head so it would curl again and she could see it is beautiful that way too.  But I made a deal with her that if she brushed it and didn't cry when I fixed it, she wouldn't have to cut it. And she has honored that deal spectacularly, so I will too.

Maybe we just need to watch Brave again.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"A Few of My Favorite Things" (School edition)

A new version (maybe, someone else probably did it first and better) because it is the most wonderful time of the year (after Christmas) - back to school shopping!

Notebooks and paper and pencils and rulers
Folders and binders and "these ones are cooler"
New tennis shoes that won't last until spring
These are a few of my favorite things

Fresh colored pencils and just the right scissors
Glue sticks and "no you do not need those stickers"
Princess t-shirts, Elsa's the brand new thing
These are a few of my favorite things

Boys in new jeans and iron man t-shirts
Girls with patterned tights under those cute skirts
These clothes definitely won't last until spring
These are a few of my favorite things!

When school starts, and the bell rings
When the weather's hot
I simply remember my favorite things
And hope the whole list was bought!!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bee Slow, Bee Quiet

Mr. Curly is raising bees.  Yeah. Yeah, you read that right.  He has a few videos on youtube (or at least is working on getting them up there) calling himself the ignorant bee keeper.

Here's how it all went down:

We have some friends who noticed a lot of bee activity outside their house. And then a buzzing in the walls. And then stains leaking through the old lathe & plaster walls (they live in an old farm house a little bit out of town).

They had to abandon a room due to the bees.

So Mr. Curly did a lot of studying and researching, built a hive with his dad, and went and pulled bees out of the walls and floors and ceiling. They were EVERYWHERE.

But now the house is bee free, and we have lots of honey and beeswax to use.

Somehow, there was no queen (this swarm had split once before and we think something traumatic happened to any new queen they would've had), so we bought one.  Who even knew you could do that?!

The kids are FASCINATED by the bees.  They repeat the rules to me often - be quiet, be slow - and then go sneak up to the hive and the observation window to see what they can see.

Honestly, they give me the hee-bee-jee-bees (hahahahahaha).
But, bees, yeah, we raise them now.