Friday, January 28, 2011

By the Skin of My Teeth - Follow Through Friday

I can honestly say that this project would have never been completed this week save for the accountability of having to report in today. To my credit, as soon as I posted my Week 1 task, I went to the basement and found this. And as you can see, the date reads 2/06/06.  

Ok, so I've had it for nearly 5 yrs. I was glad to see that it was shipped from my beloved Tennessee. Good things obviously come from there....
 Nothing else happened until Monday. I called to order grille #2. Marvin man is out. Doesn't return my call Tues. or Wed., which have been crazy, busy days in their own right. So, it's now Thursday. Thursdays are the day I run errands for my mom, plus there's a ballgame that evening. Friday is looming, though, and I rummage through the left over paint cans and find the white. I have to stir it a good 10 minutes to feel like it's usable. I find a paintbrush in Mary Grace's art set and start painting.

It takes me all of 15 minutes at the most to slap the white on that grille.  Another coat - later that afternoon, and voila, I'm done. I make another call to the Marvin man - get his voicemail. Finally reached him this morning, and placed order for other grille. (Check)
Next order of business, put that puppy in its rightful place. Need to wash the window first and dust everything down. Once it's all cleaned up ready for my beautiful, worth waiting for, grille, I go to put it in. Uh-oh. There's a little too much grille there. Turns out, the grilles for the upper windows need to be squared on one side. In the picture below, I put it next to an old grille that's been in a sister window to show you what the bottom of it needs to look like. You can also see that the old grills need a little TLC.

 Nice. This is typically how all DIY projects work for me - there is always some unforeseen glitch. So, I need a circular saw-which I don't have, and would probably be nervous about using anyway- to fix this little problem. Remember, this is Friday morning about 11 am that this is all happening. Gotta fix this now. Ah yes! Eddie Lollar, an amazing guy who built our house, has a circular saw. Would he help a blogger in distress? Yes, he would. Yes, he did! Mary Grace and I hopped in the TL, took a nice drive out toward Bolivar Landing where Eddie is building a house, and he took care of my problem in less than 5 minutes. We enjoyed a nice drive to the country, visited with Eddie and his crew, and toured a house being constructed. It was a nice break in our day.
Then, back to the house, where finally, that silly grille is in the window. Will I notice it every time I drive up to the house? I think I grille will!

Week 2: By this time next week, our home office will be organized. I just took a "before" picture a few minutes ago, but I'm a little too embarrassed to put it up until I have an "after" picture to go with it.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'll Take That

     This picture snuck onto the Mac without me seeing it. That can happen when you have at least 5 different people loading pictures on your computer. It was taken in the early summer, before Mary Grace entered the world of braces. I saw it for the first time about a week ago when I was turning on my mom's ipad. It's her wall paper.
     It's now one of my favorites. And, once I saw it, I made a mental note: "use on your first parenting-oriented post."
     "Parent." How can the word that describes such a big job only have six letters? If I could give it a hashtag on twitter it would be   #youarenowcompletelyresponsibleforanotherlifeyoubetterdoagoodjobortheywillberuinedforever.
     Well, at least that's how I feel some of the time. Which brings me to the two poems that follow this introduction. For whatever reason, my mind jumped to writing these as I was looking at this picture. At first, I was only going to write one - the more serious one.  My bent is to seriousness and its words reflect what I feel at my core.  But the lighter one has also been true for us. Now, I don't remember the circumstances around taking this particular picture. I don't remember anybody being bent out of shape because I was taking it. But there have been picture-taking times when people have been unhappy about it and forced the smiles.
     So it is with parenting. Different days bring different "takes." They are all real - no denying that.  But they are all God given gifts, designed for his glory and our joy. I'll take that.

               Take One

I made them pose beside the door,
Could you believe it caused a war?

They smile so sweet and look at me,
But thoughts inside we do not see.

What’s really going through their mind
If written here, would not be kind.

They want to get this over soon
Their show’s on pause in the other room.

They humor me, they often do,
And I assure, “We’re almost through!”

The button clicks, they see a flash,
The smiles are gone and off they dash. 

                                                                                      Take Two

Can those fourteen eyes possible see
What they do to this heart in my chest?
It beats, it pounds, it swells, it breaks,
For those souls I love the best.

I study those faces and remember days
That I lived together with them.
The bond of blood, the bond of time,
May those memories never grow dim.

I've laughed, I've cried and felt such angst
Could our smiles fade to that black?
They do, they touch, but they don't stay.
Forgiveness and love bring them back.

God, thank you, thank you, my mouth stumbles to say
What is felt in the depth of my being.
Those lives are a gift given to me
I wouldn't believe, but for seeing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Young, Married, and Expecting

I vividly remember where I was standing when I realized the following: "Lou is never going to make me completely happy." It was at our first house in Bolivar. I was standing in the kitchen, right in front of the silverware drawer. If the engine that was pulling that train had ground to a halt at that point, this post could also be titled, "The saddest day of my life."  Thankfully, that thought was followed immediately with a whisper by God's Spirit, "He can't make you happy. He can't meet all your needs. He wasn't created to do that. It's not that he won't. He can't."

Bless Lou's heart.  For at least 2 yrs of marriage to me, he was burdened with the weight of some hefty unrealistic expectations on my part.  Did I really expect him to meet all my needs? Heck, I think I not only expected him to meet them, but anticipate them. (All together now, "Poor Lou!") I didn't ever say, "If you really loved me, you'd _____," but I certainly thought it. What a prison he was in. What a prison I was in.

I can't list all the ways God prepared my heart for that momentous revelation that day in my kitchen. We did go - and still do go - to a yearly marriage retreat.(I highly recommend this.) I do  remember a few separate incidents - a trip to Tennessee, a dog, exercise regimens, and hashbrowns - that sparked conversations which divulged that what was really going on had nothing to do with the label that I just used to describe it.

All that to say, on that day in my kitchen on Oakland St, God, in his mercy, opened my eyes to something I'd never seen before, and in a whole new way, set me free from... me. I was not to focus on what Lou did or didn't do - or what I expected him to do or not do. I am to run into the arms of God - through his word, through prayer, through a moment by moment communion with him. This meets my deepest need and sets me free. I'm free to see this good man as the gift from God that he really is.  I'm free to think about him instead of me. I'm free to love him unconditionally. The weight that lifted from my shoulders (and probably his) that day was palpable.

So, here I sit 20 years later thanking God for opening my eyes that day. Marriage has been a sweet crucible.  I am grateful.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Follow Through Friday

At the young, impressionable age of 10, I took one of those dime store "personality tests." The one line that was off the chart and the only one I remember, said, "inclined to procrastinate."  They should have gone ahead and sewn a red capital "P" on my shirt that day.  I do have that tendency - and that trait has been my albatross. I did read once that people who procrastinate may do so because they are perfectionists. That actually made me feel better. But feeling isn't doing and I am tired of dragging my feet. Since this blog is one of the things I finally quit procrastinating about, I am going to use it for accountability.

      On Fridays, I plan to post some goal, some task that I want to accomplish within the following 7 days. The next Friday, I will report on my "follow through," and then post another for the next week.

     Week 1: For YEARS, two windows (far top left, far bottom right)  have been without their the wooden pieces that make it look like they have panes. I actually have a replacement frame for one window that simply needs to be painted. I need to order a frame for the other.  This week, the one I have will be painted and put up, and the other will at least be ordered.  

Galatians 6:9 
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

And so it begins...

I'm going to try my hand at blogging. I'm not convinced I have any hidden talent for writing. And I certainly realize that every thought that has caused chemicals to cross the synapses in my brain originated from someone else. Either I heard them speak (starting with my parents) or I read their words. I just have this desire to challenge myself through the creativity, discipline and joy that, I think, a blog will afford. When Eric Metaxas, author of the book, Bonhoeffer, was asked if he enjoyed writing, he answered, "I mostly enjoy having written." Writing for me is hard, hard work. But like Eric, I really enjoy having written.