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02 March 2014

Restless

It has been a good day.... a day of peace... a day of knowing I am where I am supposed to be ... doing what I am supposed to be doing.

A small example of my day: a conversation between me and a 4th grade boy ( i forgot how weird and fun that age is) I didn't realize how sore I was from my run yesterday until I attempted to do a move similar to the Twist in children's worship.  Apparently my facial expression showed my discomfort...
Boy: You okay?
Me: (chuckle) Yeah. I'm fine just really sore from running yesterday?
Boy: (dead serious) What were you running from?
Me: (trying not to laugh) Nothing, just for fun.
Boy: Like a race? It was a race?
Me: Yeah I guess. A race against myself.
Boy: looks at me through the corner of his eye with both eyebrows raised in disbelief.
No other words were spoken about running but he continued to intermittently look at me with that same curious look.


Worship at 800am with the adults; worship and small group time with the kiddos (3-5 grade) at 930; a phone chat with family -- and lunch with new friends.  It is one of the few times since I have been in VA that I felt like I could truly be a part of the community --- truly have a life --- truly feel like a part of something.

(By the way-- have you tried pickles in your chili?  How do you eat yours?)

Okay -- back to the Restlessness

Numbness has been the keyword for months --- and for those of you who are disbelieving --- just trust me. For months there was nothing -- just numb --- and over the last couple of months it has begun the transformation of being replaced with a feeling of change -- a certainty that God has a purpose and plan for me --- with certainty that it is going to be far beyond my C-zone (comfort zone).

I know that I am different from my family, my friends, and those around me (otherwise I would be married with several kids and more on the way-- I probably would have married young -- and I most likely would not have attended grad school).  This difference is no surprise to God no matter how disheartening it is to me. He has a purpose and feeling out of place is part of the preparation.  I know that some dreams that used to be important have fallen to the wayside and others are present as I sleep each night. 

I don't know what His plan is and that is scary -- I am a planner -- I like to have a plan.  God is challenging that with a simple request to "Trust me."  I am trying -- but honestly --- the wait sort of sucks :)

Beginning Monday I will be participating in this FREE online book club based on "Restless" by Jennie Allen.  The link to the information is below --- I would love for you to join me in this journey!!! (and don't feel bad if you won't be able to read all of the chapters suggested by tomorrow.  I will be in that club with you. ) It is based on that restless feeling you get when you know God has more planned for you and you just haven't discovered all of the pieces yet. 

I am going to include quotes so you can see if they hit home with you :)
Seriously Y'all I am underlining and marking with colored pens all over this book.




Quotes (chapter 1) (5 pages)

- "Was this feeling pushing me toward something bigger, or crippling me from loving the life I was given?"

-"We wonder if we are missing some mystical, great, noble purpose that was supposed to squeeze into the holds of our ordinary lives.  We feel numb.  We feel bored."

-Every single one of us is designed to fit into a unique space with unique offerings.  God's will for every one of us will look different."

-"This is a book about being brave enough to imagine a better world, and how we may be used to make it that way.  This is a book about fears and suffering and joy and gifts.  This is a book about all that lies in our control and how nothing is in our control.  This is a book about vision and obedience."

-"We will lay out the unique threads of our lives that feel random, potentially even tangling us up, but we will lay them out and dream about eternal purposes for seemingly mundane moments and consider that it is possible to waste our lives.  And then let's not."

-"Dare to believe that God has a vision for how you are to spend your life.  Finding and accomplishing this vision is quite possibly the greatest responsibility we have as a generation second only to knowing and loving God."

-"We have a call to dream." **

-"He sent his Spirit to give unique visions to unique people to reach the world in unique and beautiful ways."

-"He has given you an abundance of gifts, resources, people, and vision to accomplish His dreams for you.  If you do not feel that way yet, you will."

-"What if you get past your fears and insecurities and spend the rest of your life running your guts out after his purposes for you?"

-"..a place where no life or minute or breath ever feels small again."

01 March 2014

Gender Roles anyone?

Sooooo --- The thought and process of getting back into the world of dating is a challenge for me.  People always talk about how God challenges you to live beyond your comfort zone.  Getting to know people that I have never met before is way out of my C-zone.  Seriously.  I am an introvert to the core.  

At the children's ministry training last weekend the lead lady was speaking.  She is a 5th grade teacher in real life and you can guess it by her demeanor.  She is the classic example of the higher elementary teachers we all remember from our days in school.  Something she said really struck a chord with me and I was happy to know someone else felt the same --- (when discussing parent teacher conferences) She discussed how it is the worst day of her life --- each year when it rolls around. She can talk to their kids, play with their kids, and teach their kids all day -- but with adults she is tongue tied and awkward. All I could say was a very enthusiastic "DITTO!!" Give me your kids all day long and I will be fine, let me educate you and I will be fine.  Have a personal conversation with me and watch how awkward I become.

Getting the drift on why dating is certainly outside of the C-zone?

Anyway -- I spent my morning helping with a ballet class for kiddos with Down Syndrome.  It is full of laughter and smiles as these kids try their best to do each of the dance moves with grace and elegance.  The parents watch on as volunteers assist with positioning of feet, hands, and balance.   I know NOTHING of ballet and so I am learning as I go and assisting my little kiddo as much as possible.  Today she was all smiles and laughter as we stumbled through the process together.  One of my favorite things about the class is the diversity -- in both dancers and volunteers --- a wide range of ages, multiple ethnicities, and girls and boys.  It was great to see some male volunteers today in addition to our dedicated teacher. It made me ponder a question I am often asked by guys when looking for a possible relationship -- 

And I quote --- "What is your view on tranditional gender roles?"

I hate that question.  While it is open ended a simple response is expected.  "I approve or I do not approve."  What if we fit somewhere in between?  Do I believe that God meant for the husband to be the head of the household?  Yes - But does that mean he has ultimate control and can do as he pleases? No.  Do I believe women should stay in the home to cook, clean, birth babies, and homeschool? Not necessarily.  And before people get up in arms about that response please allow me to elaborate.  I have many friends who are SAHMs and are amazing in that role.  I just don't believe that that was God's intention for all women.  I was made for my job.  I love what I do.  I would love to have kids one day but for my own sanity and the sanity of my children I need to continue with my work.  I would love to be able to greet them at the bus stop most days and fix afternoon snacks for us all --- but I have no desire to homeschool and I think my children will be better off because of it :)

As for the husband being the head of the household -- It is as my friend described me --- I appreciate chilvary but do not wish to be controlled or limited due to the simple fact that God made me female. 
My parents were a great example of a Godly marriage.  While my dad had the final say in a decision my mom's opinion (and the kids' when appropriate) were heard and taken into consideration.  That to me is respect --- and I would like a huge serving of that in any relationship in which I am a part. 



I am currently reading Ms.Understood (rebuilding the feminine equation) by Jen Hatmaker and the next in the book stack is Jesus Feminist (an invitation to revisit the Bible's view of women) by Sarah Bessey. I am interested to see what the Bible truly says about the roles and importance of women. I'll let you know what I find out :)

What are your thoughts on traditional gender roles?  Don't be shy --- please share!

23 February 2014

He has a....

sense of humor.

If you don't think so you haven't seen the God I have often seen.  Humor and irony.  I like to think that you see certain parts of His personality to match your own --- as I have a tendency to be a bit (just a bit) sarcastic at times I am certain that his responses are in a form that resonates with me.  

Case(s) in Point

1. Yesterday I drove through a drive thru carwash to get the salt off of the undercarriage of my car.  Many of you are thinking that this isn't such a big task.  However, thanks to a dear friend (who shall not be named -- but you know who you are) decided to take a 15 passenger van loaded with myself and a ton of kids through a small carwash years ago.  As she and I were just getting to know each other at that point she was unaware (until we were entering the carwash) that I have a bit of difficulty with small spaces.  Add to that the fact that the majority of the kids were screaming my name and well --- you can imagine.
       Now --- back to present day -- yesterday.  I decide to put on my big girl panties and go through the drive thru.  I literally said a prayer before entering.  Seriously.  God laughed - and about that time I realized that this was a carwash unlike I was used to --- with this carwash the foam began spraying as you entered the building.  I had just paid for the carwash as I entered the carwash -- with window rolled down.  I'll let your imagination finish the story as you laugh at my stupidity and God's sense of humor.  I didn't have time to be concerned about the noise, thumping, and small space as I was busy attempting to wipe down the inside of my car before I exited so no one would know :).

2. The need for a place in ministry. I have been struggling with where my place is in ministry.  It isn't as easy as just stepping in and getting started.  I've done that in the past.  I have also found myself juggling parts of music ministry, teaching a children's Sunday school class, being in/leading small group, etc.  All at the same time.  It becomes to easy to do -- to easy to be the person people can call on whenever they need someone to help with a new project -- and it can't be about the "doing."  It becomes to easy to lose "me" in the process. 
      And so -- a training for the Children's ministry at my new church is tonight.  For weeks I have planned to attend and then awoke this morning with discouragement in my heart that I am not where I need to be to work with the kids -- that I need to be "better," " know more",  " be more fun", "more physically fit," to work with the kids. So I went to the service today with a heavy heart once again wondering where I fit -- and then the sermon occurred.
      For approx 16 wks we have been doing a verse by verse study on the book of Colossians (honestly -- a book of which I had little knowledge).  Today's verses were 4:5-18.  The Pastor wrapped up with sermon with verse 17.

".. See to it that you complete the work you have received in The Lord." (NIV)

"..Do your best in the job you received from the Master. Do your very best." (The Message)

He concluded his sermon with the reminder that the Children's training is tonight while including the fact that the training was planned months ago and they had no idea it would coincide with today's message. 

He then added -- "Maybe you think you aren't good enough, don't know enough, or aren't fun enough to work with the kids. Well you are -- those are lies --- and I can't think of a better to place to learn more."

Hook - Line - Sinker!  Guess where I will be at 5:00pm tonight.  ROC for Children's Ministry training with the faith that God will place me in the niche that had my name on it long before today. 

What's your niche? Have you found your place in ministry? It is not easy but TOTALLY worth it!


19 February 2014

Maybe I Need a New Title

I work as a pediatric PT.  My kids come in all types of bodies . Some are tiny, some are much bigger than mine, some fully function, and some not so much. And the families are no different --- all different.  One of my favorite things about my job is that every day is different and you never know what you'll find.  Today was no exception.  I asked a caregiver what I thought was a pretty standard question.  The answer was not a standard response.

Me: "What is your goal for therapy? What do you want to see come out of (your kid's) time with me?"

Caregiver: "The doctor said that PT has worked miracles for some of her kids in the past.  I want you to work a miracle."

Now..... I am not sure what the proper response is in this situation but allow me to elaborate on the options that were immediately floating through my head....

1. Well. Let me go grab my magic wand and fairy dust.
2. Watch me walk on water as I leave the room.
3. Did you bring your loaves and fishes?
4. Would you like some wine with your water?
5. Would you like a better dress to wear to the ball? How about a carriage made from a pumpkin?
6. Yep, that's my degree ... Doctor of Miracles.
7. Sure - my business card has my name with Miracle Worker for the title.

In reality I asked "Can you be more specific?"

15 February 2014

When Life is Tiring

This week was one of those weeks that makes you bone tired.  You don't care to get out of bed. You don't care to go to work. You don't care to eat.  You just are.  You just try to keep your head down.  You try to survive.  

But life goes on and you get out of bed.  You go to work.  You eat, atleast occassionally and you survive. 

Maybe this week was great for you or maybe your week was a bit like mine.  I used to find amazing peace in the Word. I would shut the world out for an hour and dig.  It wasn't about the world.  It wasn't about anthing but my need to communicate with the One. 

 The One who knows my struggles before I voice them.  He knows the dreams of my heart because He placed them there.  He knows the depth of my pain and hurt when those dreams get tampered with or people feel that it is within their right to point out how big my dreams are in a way that tells me the accomplishment of my dreams is not possible. 

It is funny (and sad) how much those comments are like miracle grow to any doubts already in your heart, mind, or spirit. 

And so I dig,  I dig for a reminder that I am forever loved and just the way I am now and not what I will be.  It's a bit amazing really when you think that He knows  everything about us... more than anyone else in the world... more than we know ourselves.  And yet He loves us.  How quickly we judge others.  How quickly we put a cost on our love and friendship.  How different would the world be if we just loved each other without judgement.  Without the ridicule.  Without the assumptions that are made daily.  

I am participating in If:Equip for many reasons.  I find it pretty amazing to think that thousands of people are reading the same verses as me each day.  Some days the verses hit me hard and other days I end with a prayer for the person or people that truly needed to hear the verses on that day. 

I also participate because while I used to be consistent with my daily Bible study I have not yet discovered the secret of balance in my new life. My day begins with a 5am alarm telling me to get out of bed and toss on my workout clothes or running shoes. This is followed by a physically and emotionally exhausting 10-11 hr work day.  I am exhausted by the time I end my day and it is not uncommon for me to walk in the door, take a shower, and climb in bed.  If it is a day that requires work at home add that to the list. 

So for now my attempt at balance (and sanity) is If:Equip at some point during the day and attempts to work on the books in my book stack by some amazing Christian authors for extra encouragement, motivation, and reality checks. 



There is a reassurance in my soul that this is enough for now but the expectations will surely grow.  I have no idea what God has planned for me but the unrest in my soul tells me it is something life changing and far outside of my comfort zone.

It seems fitting that I have reconnected with a couple of friends from long ago as they settle in to their God called life in the far boundaries of their comfort zone.  I came across a verse the other day that instantly reminded me of them. 

""The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood." John 1:14 (The Message)

They packed up their belongings and six fair skinned red headed children and moved where God told them to go.  An old farm house in the downtown region of a small Southern town where the color of their skin determines who speaks to them, how they are treated, and the doorways that are passable.  Seeing their adaptation and the way they are helping others is amazing but also terrifying.  What if God asked the same of me.  Could I do it? Could you? 

Please check them out: 


My friend Lori  http://loriharris.me/

Christa


10 February 2014

A quote by one of the parents of a patient.....

"I almost called in today to cancel because of the snow ... Just to mess with you."

Keep in mind .....

There was no snow outside and the forecast today was a 10% chance of snow flurries. 

I love my job.  Even on the exhausting days.   


09 February 2014

Mini ponderings on IF and explanation of absence

I could say that my absence was due to my lack of a working computer and migraines too frequent for me to attempt typing an entire blog post on my phone.  It wouldn't be a lie but neither would it be the entire truth.  When I began creating this blog I made a pact with myself.  I didn't want the blog to be depressing rantings like so many blogs seem to be but I also wanted truth on the screen.  Transparency was my goal.  That being said.  The thoughts in my mind and conflict within myself has not been worthy of this screen and thus.... 


A quick catch up...

I have officially graduated from grad school.  I now spend my days signing paperwork with Christa Todd, PT, DPT and attempting to not sign this on checks and receipts :)  I am now employed at The Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters (more easily known as CHKD) as a pediatric physical therapist.  I LOVE my job!  Seriously!  My case load ranges from a few months old to 19 years old.  I typically see kids with neurological deficits and developmental delays.  Occassionally I am called to use my orthopedic knowledge and it often takes a glance at my resources to pull away the cobwebs. My days are long as I work four ten hour days and the beginning of my weekend is often spent recovering from my week. 

I rent a house about 12-15 minutes from my job in a neighborhood of working class people of all ages and ethicities.  It is not uncommon for me to be vacuuming late at night or attempting to organize and clean out my still crazy looking home.  Nor is it uncommon for me to jump after bumping a wall in fear of having upset my neighbors --- only to realize I live in a house -- no one on the other side of my wall. Then again, I also apologize when I bump into manequins in stores. Am I the only one?

I am the crazy lady in the neighborhood who isn't married, has no children, and mows her yard with an electric lawn mower.  I am that lady and most days I am okay with it.  

The last couple of weeks have meant snow beyond reason and driving in conditions that make my heart race in my chest and blood thunder through my veins.  You know those stupid signs that say bridges and overpasses freeze before roads.  I always thought they were ridiculous and each time I read them the famous word "Duh" came to mind.  The rain fell and became inches of ice, the snow came and covered the snow, and then I drove.  As I drove I realized those signs are not so stupid.  Approx 85% of my commute from home to work is either a bridge, an overpass, or a raised highway/interstate.  Let's just say that life was interesting. The 11+ inches of snow was much better than the ice topped with snow. 

The snow also provided my neighbors with a good laugh as the crazy electric mowing lady swept eleven plus inches of snow from her driveway with a broom.  Three kind older gentlemen from my neighborhood appeared with shovels to assist with the second half.  Which was not only helpful but also provided me with the opportunity to constantly monitor my new manly friends for signs of heart attack while they shoveled :)


All caught up?

This is my life. Add in a few trips home and a couple of friends visiting and you have all of the highlights for the last 9 months.

 

I spent this weekend with one of my favorite people.  She organized a simulcast viewing for the IF:Gathering.  It was two days of female authors and speakers with amazing messages, worship, food, laughter, and tears.  As I sort through my thoughts and emotions from this weekend I will share. For now, I'm going to curl up on the couch and work on my stack of books to read with the Olympics in the background. 
God is good y'all. 

31 May 2013

As I Sit....

I sit and listen to the deep breathing of a baby as he begins to awaken from his morning nap on the play mat. I hear the sweet sound of an almost 2 year old's pleading to get out of a nap.  I hear the birds chirp and hear the dog paws scratching on the deck as an old dog begins her journey in search of someone she can kiss and get some lovin' in return.   

It is a peaceful morning in the mountains at my sister's house and a great way to begin the weekend. 


The day will end with a really nice dinner with friends who have become family and a late night drive down the interstate. 

I hope your weekend finds peace, hope, kisses, and lovin' :)

28 May 2013

Up Close and maybe Too Personal

I spent a day last week repotting plants with my mom. I have several plants that were not repotted in my time in Boston. In the city it is too much work to lug around bags of potting soil.  As we began it became apparent that my spider plants were root bond. I wish I had taken a picture of the roots. When the plants were removed from the pot the roots were so tightly wound around each other that soil was almost nonexistent.  The picture shows the thirteen spider plants that were removed from my one very small blue pot.  How sad. 
The plants weren't healthy. They were pale and anemic looking.  I get it. Many are surprised to find that I am an introvert. 

I love people young and old. Really I do. I can put on a smile and meet new people and fulfill the proper actions. However -- meeting new people is terrifying to me. People always say how surprising that is for them. "It seems so easy. " "You seem so natural. "  

The truth is -- it is a skill I have developed. I grew up as a minister's daughter. Move to a new church and everyone expects you to know them because they know your name. They never seem to realize that they only have 4 names to learn while we have 100s. You learn really quickly how to paste on a smile, be friendly, and never let on that you are uncomfortable. 

That being said - I love spending time with a small group of close friends or family but I regain my energy from time alone or with one other.  

 I understand my plants -- when surrounded by too many for too long you either lose a part of yourself or you just don't make it. 

I lost part of myself in the process of finding myself in Boston.  Time in the country, hands in the dirt, wandering through farmer's markets, and laughter with friends and family has begun a renewal. 

I am ready for a new start but I am going into it with specific goals for myself. A neighborhood in which I can run. A possible adult gymnastics class. Cello lessons. A church in which I fit and can be involved. ( but not too involved). I need balance. I long for balance. 

How do you find balance?
Happy spider plants. 






15 May 2013

Head to Wall. Repeat.

Each day I awake to the following sound....
tap. Tap. TAp. TAP. TAP. TAP. taptaptaptaptap.

Get the picture?

The culprit?

A lovely red male cardinal who beats his head against my sliding glass door each day in attempts to take out the other lovely red male cardinal in the window.

Himself.

While the tapping is incredibly obnoxious it is a sound that resounds deep within me.

How often do we tap our fingers as we fidget?  How often do we bang our heads against the wall in frustration / aggravation / or anguish?  How often do we fight ourselves?

Each day we awake with a need to have a day that is better than the one before.  A day in which we are better than we were the day before.

We lose a few pounds and are happy but then we look in the mirror and wish for more.  We like the outfit we are wearing but wish it were different or that we had more?  We get our haircut and it is good for a week and then we convince ourselves that it is no longer good enough.

We are loved unconditionally by a Father no matter our look, our size, or our job. And yet we tear ourselves down with each breath we take and take shots at others around us.  We listen to society as they whisper in our ear that we are not enough. That we will never be enough.

What will it take for us decide that we are perfect just the way we are?

I don't have the answer --- this is an answer I seek on a daily basis.  I can only try to be the best me that I can be.

One of my favorite quotes---

"All you've got is all you can give and that will always be enough."
-Sarah Mueller