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Archive for the ‘Who am I?’ Category

Sadie: All moms are annoying. Kids don’t want moms.

Me: Hmm. I think kids would really miss moms if they weren’t there.

Sadie: Yeah, maybe other kids don’t want moms, but I do. I just wish you didn’t always tell me what to do. It’s very annoying. How would you feel if I said to you ‘Clean your room! All of it?’ or ‘Build a fort for me!’ or ‘Do my work for me!’

Me: I have never asked you to do my work, or build me a fort.

Sadie: I KNOW. But it FEELS like it.

Me: Well, when you become a mom, you can tell your own kids what to do.

Sadie: I definitely won’t be like YOU. I’m going to be a NICE mom.

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So I swiped my sister’s journals while I was home this weekend. I was looking for her CDs (that girl had more music than anyone I know…) and while I was rifling through her stuff (I’m getting used to it now–I don’t feel so much like a scavenger or an intruder) I found the journals. She didn’t like writing very much, so there were only a few–and I felt like I was ready to read them.

Side note: I did contemplate the ethical dilemma of reading her private thoughts. I pictured my own piles of journals and wondered: how would I feel if I was gone and someone read them? Maybe I’m a freak of nature or something, but to me, I want the people who love me to read them. I want Sadie to know what it was like to be me, and that life has ugly stuff and pretty stuff, and that everything that happens to us or that we think about or that we do is a part of what makes us human–beautiful–made in the image of God, yet fallen. And my reason for wanting to read my sister’s journals was that I desired to understand more of her than what I knew on the surface.

As the big sister I had come to some conclusions about her life(style) and who she was over the past several years that were not positive. Her seemingly constant neediness wore me out, and I was exasperated with her continual string of bad decisions. I assumed (in that annoying holier-than-thou way that I can sometimes (!) have) that because of the way she lived and the choices she made that she must not have really cared about God or her faith.

I am humbled and ashamed.

Reading her journals this weekend not only gave me insight into who she really was, but also revealed parts of me that are darker than I have cared to admit. I like to think of myself as understanding and tolerant. I also think I may be delusional. Because what I read–my sister’s most intimate prayers to God–showed me what a real human being looks like. One who struggles and fails, but who wants to be right with God. She prayed for me all of the time–almost in every entry. Meanwhile I was passing fierce judgment: why couldn’t she just live right? Like I did?

I was confronted with Grace again–that horrible, amazing truth: there is NOTHING I can DO to make God love me more; there was NOTHING she could have done to make God love her less. Neither of us could earn His love or lose it–no matter what did we did right, or wrong. It so has to do with Him, not us. Keeping the rules isn’t going to save me any more than breaking the rules was going to keep salvation from her.

What really blows me away is that God is still fond of me despite my pettiness, my arrogance, and my pride.

Now THAT is good news.

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Every morning, the minute Sadie wakes up, she wants to play Barbies.

When I was pregnant and pious, I vowed that MY little girl would not be allowed to play Barbies. She wouldn’t wear pink, either. No child of mine would be trapped by old-fashioned oppressive stereotypes. MY child would be liberated from the ‘ideal’ body type that the Barbies possesed, and their evil plan to make all girls hate themselves.

Then I had a little girl who loved pink. And who is now obsessed with playing Barbies. It is so funny for me to think of my pre-Sadie me, and all of my notions of what I would do as a parent. When Sadie started showing interest in her Barbies, I was so excited that we ran right out and bought tons of clothes at the flea market. I forgot how much loved playing Barbies as a kid.

I eat my words daily.

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It!

Caroline over at Rainbow’s Start and End tagged me and here are the rules:
Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Post 7 random or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
Tag 7 people and link to them.
Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Seven Random or Weird Facts About Me:

  1. Tight shirts make me cranky. I hate having anything up against my armpits.
  2. I wasn’t that sad when my dog died.
  3. When I was little, my imaginary friends were Jesus, Laura Ingalls and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. The three of us used to ride bikes. 
  4. When I moved to Arkansas, I didn’t believe in chiggers. (I thought they were like Santa, or the Tooth Fairy) Then I sat in a nest of them and got 28 itch-my-skin-to-the-bone welts.
  5. I was the Hula-Hoop champion of my block when I was 8. I beat out a thirteen year old.
  6. I never learned to parallel park.
  7. I am not friends with Math. I can’t remember my times tables, do fractions or figure out percentages.

Here are the seven people I shall tag:

Rock on friends!
 

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I found a quote in Reader’s Digest (one of the many that I filched from the free table at the library…) that I loved so much I ripped it out of the book:

“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

What makes it so poignant to me is who said it: Jim Carrey.

I erroneously think that something outside myself, some accomplishment or accolade or new house or a trip to Europe (etc.) will make me feel fulfilled. I get antsy at the life and means that God has given me–as if I’ve received the short end of the stick, or He’s looked at me, sniffed, then decided to give the cool stuff to more interesting people.

How is that Jim Carrey, who may or may not have a relationship with the Living God, knows this, while I, who have known God lo these many years, still paddle around in the quagmire of discontent and comparison?

I used to tell  people that by accepting Jesus as Savior, that hole in their heart would finally be filled.  You know, the God-shaped vacuum and all that. But here I am, a Believer, and I see in my own life that Jesus hasn’t done what I said he was supposed to do. My hole is still there. And He hasn’t magically come in and filled the space. It’s rather disappointing, actually.

But here is what I think I’ve been missing: the fact that God has given us the gift of choosing Him. Not just once for salvation, and then it is over and done with. But a daily choosing. An every-moment kind of choosing. A decision that I can make to a) compare myself to the rest of the world, and believe the lie that this or that will make me happy; or b) decide to trust in the Big Plan of God and see everything that I have or that I am or that I have experienced is exactly right, because the God of the Universe knows me intimately and loves me and wants the very best for me.

I still believe that Jesus is the answer. But the means in which He works that fulfilment into me is more like the process of making bread (all the kneading and rising and time and waiting and then punching it down and kneading some more…)–and way less like putting a quarter into a gumball machine and out pops instant happiness.

I’m just so thankful for the patience of God–who hears my ungrateful complaining, sees my childish behavior, and yet still, quietly, leads me back to His bigger truth. He reminds me again of His grace, and shows me His love.

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The House Muse visited me today; I vacuumed and swept and straightened. And she told me something: “Your perfectionism is doing you no good,” she said. “I give you permission to do a half-assed job. Don’t worry about the corners; those spiders can wait until I visit you again. That will also be the day that you will feel like mopping.”

“Thank you, House Muse,” I answered. “I shall embrace your half-assed philosophy, and use it in every area of my life.”

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So I’m thinking about graduate school. Thinking about it A LOT. My big worry is that I’ll look back and say ‘yeah, I got that degree, but I missed years of Sadie’s life.’ Because I’m not that good multi-tasking. I can be somewhat (ahem…) all or nothing. Balance is hard for me to come by NOW–and I only have a 10 hour a week job. What if I were enrolled in a graduate program? Would I disappear altogether?

And then there are my motives. (Must I always examine those pesky things??) Do I want a degree because I’ll feel like a more valid person? Do I believe it will be the answer to the proverbial What Am I Here For, Anyway question? Like Oh, NOW I know what I want to be when I grow up. Having an advanced degree, much like the idea of publishing a book, should, I believe, fill the vacuous hole inside me that begs for affirmation, and, well, worship. There I said it. I will be worshipped if 1), I publish a book; Or 2), obtain an advanced degree.

Somehow wanting to be worshipped seems wrong to me. Didn’t someone get booted out of heaven for that?

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