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A Zombie Story

I have been working for a while on this other blog… I have been sick a lot this year, and we finally found out I have a tumor.  Yikes.  But it turns out I will be able to avoid surgery.  Hooray!

For anyone who is interested, please follow the link below to my quirky, fun-loving, authentic blog on the subject.  Thank you for reading friends.

HelloTumor.wordpress.com

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Pioneer Life: Part One

Once upon a time, I knew a brave woman who lived a pioneer lifestyle in many ways (God rest her soul).  She told me I would have hated it.  Maybe she was right.  I disliked her for saying it, anyhow.  Part of me wrestled with the fact that she may be right:  about the life being hard, or me not having what it took.  I wasn’t sure which she meant, and I was too afraid to ask.  Maybe both!

I have come to believe that we are all potential pioneers, if we have the guts to wake up and look at life with a new set of eyes… then, to stay awake! and press in to that pioneer mindset.

For the past year and three months my family has been embarking on an incredible set of adventures.  I will tell more later about how and why, and what spearheaded each part of it.  Some of the story is powerful and moving to myself — a “Thin Space” even, when I look back, though I could not have told you that in the middle of it.  From health and wealth to hearth and home, we have been working like true pioneers, walking foot by painful foot, or heaving our hungry hearts and harshly hewn wagons over wintry ruts and winding rivers.

Did I hate it?  Oh yes, certainly, parts of it.  Was it worth it?  Oh… my…. a resounding and reverent “Yes!”

After this intro I will share with you an adventure both life-giving and life-taking.  An ongoing journey that is most incredibly God-centering.  I am humbled, yet more built up than ever.  The shallow parts of me that remain have been drained and dredged out into deeper pools which are being refilled, and I know God is not done yet.  I may yet be a reservoir someday.  I dance in thankfulness and rejuvenated hope.

More to come… and apologies (kind of) for the long wait between posts….

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Something Old…

This last couple of weeks I have worked in our church library.  (I think some little-girl librarian still exists inside of me, the way I have burned with a passion on this project, and the way several books from the donation pile have found their way into my home.)  Well, it is not a church library, it is more of a crowded cast-off shelving area in one of the most-used rooms of our church: the prayer parlor.

Picture a large group of lovely women meeting together to read a passage of Scripture or muse on a good book, or to share Mom stories.  A trio getting together for accountability and prayer.  A couple of leaders praying with a new person to the church who is hurting a lot.  Conferences or classes trying to meet about serious matters.  Small groups planning the future of the women’s ministry.

Now picture the ever-hovering, inconsiderate piles of heavily breathing, noisy-title scattering, dust-ejecting, won’t-you-please-love-me begging, validate-me-with-attention scrounging, perfectly pathetic, utterly overbearing presence of 3 walls of…. BOOKS.  Books, threatening to undo the state of the room with their presence alone, like a narcissistic friend who can’t sit back and be there for you, but wants to take up your moment with tears of her own.  We’re getting ugly here, but seriously — I am not kidding about how disruptive these books were to me.

This is the first room I ever visited in the church aside from the sanctuary to hang out with other singles for the first time.  It’s where a lot of my hurts in life got prayed over as I attempted to become a healthier person.  When I got married, this is the room where my husband and I escaped for a few moments after our ceremony.  Thanks to my Mother and her sister, my Aunt, it became a very sweet moment with candles and scattered marbles in our wedding colors.  The lights were low and it was impossible to see… THE SHELVES — my God, the shelves!  I am so glad — that would have detracted… maybe… from our reverie.  The dusty shelves, stacked with decomposing books, which at some point in the past decade got sorted into a frustrated grouping by subject.  Thankfully, that is no more.

With the “snip-snip, bye-bye” sort of permission from our pastor over Communications — I can picture her saying love you long time to the bags of books sitting in our side foyer — I have been on a heavenly purging sort of mission that every introverted, organization addict needs.

What I have discovered is this:

Have you ever heard that statement “Everyone has a book”?  That is most emphatically TRUE.  In the past several days, I have read so many silly titles… How to Love Yourself.  How to Love Others.  How to Love God.  Books for widows, books for teens, books for pastors, and even one book lovingly but angrily entitled toward the church.  Recall those times you’ve heard someone say “That would make a great title for a book.”  Well, the book has probably been written.  I mean the sort of title where you get the sermon just from reading the spine of the book.  Yeah, they are out there already.  Have been for a while.  These books were beginning to crackle into pieces in my hands because they have been out there so long.

Let’s not forget the drop-offs.  People.  Seriously.  Garfield?  I found two aviation books which came home with me for my husband, as he loves that sort of thing.  But I don’t see people needing a Wright Brothers brush-up while they’re snotting into a box of tissues.  Let’s get real here.  Why do we have books for public educators from the 1980s?

I finally gave up and threw a few of the more silly churchy titles into a bag to review in the future, as I have time, just to make a comparison to the more recent materials I have read.  Maybe there will be a singular jewel of truth in there somewhere I haven’t heard before in church or in Sunday School or in conversation sometime.  And there were definitely some that I am looking forward to reviewing, as the subject intrigued me.

So… it’s humbling, as a writer, to see the amount of effort and publishing that has already happened.  I have received ridicule for wanting to write at times.  And, loving to sing I’ve been told also that singers are a dime a dozen.  It seems the world is out to get us for not being unique.  However, God does need the same seeds sown year after year, sometimes.  Teens who won’t read a 70s devotional book might read mine. So, we’ll see.  I trust God with that.

I was also musing how, for me, being raised in the church has already been conducive to seeing similar books, hearing similar testimonies, or being taught similar sermon points over and over, my entire life (and I’m only in my thirties).  The good thing about God is, He can show us new things (through old truths) as we go, and He knows how to keep it fresh.  The Word is not for reading only once, twice, ten or a hundred times.  His mercies are new every morning… and his mercies include new bread each day, hot out the oven.  I prefer mine with warm honey butter and a cup of hot tea or coffee…

I’m so glad.  I am so thankful that the Bible, being the oldest story I have ever read, the one I’ve read the most, is still fresh to me now.  I’ve learned that when I go to look at a passage again, my brain needs the fire rekindled — it’s not as if I’ve gotten that truth worked out in my life 100%.  There is always a new challenge, or an old one that needs reworking, or praise that needs singing again.  Thanks God, for not crumbling in my hands, for only getting stronger and clearer to me as time has gone on.

Thoughts?  Thanks for reading, Friends.

Things I Think Of

It’s been a while!  We have been busy with two very important family projects.  My husband started a business of his own (see the link below) and we are also working on building our very own home, debt free (see second link below), Lord willing!  More on those later.

www.ThunderbirdArms.com

www.DaveRamsey.com

So, in the meantime, here is some stuff that I had on my brain last week and made into quickie little illustrations.  I hope they make you chuckle and encourage you to nurture your creative side in this busy life we live.

I love this first one (above) because I often find myself mad about things that I don’t need to be mad about.  I have to take a calming breath and just remember that it’s not about me.  It’ not about how I perform, I don’t need to defend myself, I haven’t messed up, I haven’t failed, and I certainly am not defined by what is going on.  This is all great medicine for my soul.  Thanks God, for freedom from the circumstances surrounding me.

This second one is just my reminder to pop my vitamins instead of going for coffee or sugar intake…. yeah, I just love the drug reference.  I never was a druggie but sometimes I like to pretend I am one, when I take my “vits.”

Here I illustrate my need to remember to congratulate my son on his amazing ability to divide and conquer whatever mess he has aimed to make.  He loves making messes, and of course I can easily slip into “clean-up mode” where I complain about the toll on my house, my energy, my time, etc…. Sometimes that’s all internal and never at him directly, sometimes it is a frustration with him, but I am working (and asking the Lord for help) to be able to just sit and enjoy the mess with him.  There is a spiritual truth in that, for me.  Does God sit and enjoy the mess we make as his kids, sometimes?  Surely he must.  His laughter rolling up from his insides…  Thanks God, for enjoying ME.

Lots of love, dear Readers, and thanks for your time and attention this morning!

Rehearsing the Good

Being content with what you have is a very tricky thing.  All too often, I try to “beat myself into submission” by saying: Darn it, won’t you ever be happy? or  Hey you selfish whining $@#%!*, just take what you’ve got.  or You got what you wanted, now you aren’t happy?  Be thankful!  What’s it going to take?!?  You’ll never be satisfied, will you!

There is a possible chance of needing an attitude adjustment.    But more and more, I choose to look to God about it all.  He is much fairer than I am.  (I actually told my whole “inner dialogue” above to “Shut up!” the other day and it was nice.)

Anyway, when I find myself in the mindset of complaining, I am learning to stop trying to discipline myself, and turn to God for “disciplining” me as he sees fit.  He promises to do the work in me to change me, right?  After all, I am unable to attain perfection.  But amazingly enough, he is so quick to respond with love and not impatience.  So unlike many of my earthly authorities, so unlike myself… but then, that’s what makes him so amazing.  How much more perfect could he get?

So… when I turned to him about my messy house and my frustration (still) with the “new normal” and wanting things “better,” I found my Daddy-God ready to sit me on his knee and… well, confirm my frustration: “Poor Baby,” he says… and then he shows me how to have a contented heart anyway.  Here’s what came out of it.

1) What I think I have: A very messy house.

What I really have: 1) Two really big projects going on that will help my family.  2) Two beautiful children. 

  

2 ) What I think I have: Dark circles around my eyes, hair not done, no energy or time to do makeup.

What I really have: Children that know I love them and love playing with me (and taking pictures together).

 

3) What I think I have: Trash and clutter all over the place.

What I really have: Tokens of God’s provision (including receipts for gas and bags from fast-food meals we were able to buy during a trip to the country) and our family’s love (belated Christmas gifts), as well as the blessing of enough energy to clean out the car.

4) What I think I have: A cluttered desk after I worked so hard last week to organize it.

What I really have: A reminder of my husband treating me with Starbucks, after I did his chores so he could go to bed early.

5) What I think I have: An unmade bed.

What I really have: A comfy mattress my husband bought in our first year of marriage, and a reminder of a good snuggle this morning.  

6) What I think I have: Messy changing station.

What I really have: DISPOSABLE DIAPERS!  What a gift!

7) What I think I have: A big pile of mess needing attention after our trip to the country. SIGH…

What I really have: Treasured tools my husband used to take down a giant wild boar that will fill our freezer with enough meat for months.

8) What I think I have: Filthy dishes piled up beyond reason.

What I really have: Filthy dishes piled up for a perfect reason: family needing us.

9) What I think I have: An unexciting meal.

What I really have: The pot that Grandmother Moore gave me at my wedding shower, making a very healthy chicken soup that we need due to cold and flu season.

10) What I think I have: A neglected, overgrown yard that needs our attention.

What I really have: A (neglected-for-a-darn-good-reason) yard which is overgrown due to all the RAIN!  Thanks God, for the RAIN, after months of drought!

  

So…. dear readers, I guess you might see where I am going with this.  I think I feel like all these things define how well I am doing as a wife and mom.  It’s as though all I see when I look around me, is failure, failure, failure.

But I am slowly learning, on my Daddy-God’s knee, how to rehearse the good things and not the bad things.  (This is something I’ve learned about lately at my women’s Bible study).  This is not a pushing down of my sorrows or hurts, though.  God merely helps me to address them appropriately, all with a good sort of snuggle with that ever-present Spirit of His.  The result is a favorable and uplifting slant of the “Truth” rather than a discouraging, downcast and condemning one.

Thoughts?  …and thanks for reading, Friends.

Goodbye, Grandmother

Thelma Moore, my husband’s family matriarch of 103 years, recently passed away.

What a treasure of family heritage I have been blessed with exposure to and can now pass on!  Unfortunately I do not live close to my grandparents or great-grandparents, and only see them on special occasions.  “Grandmother Moore” as she liked to be called by grandkids (“G.G.” to the great-grandkids) was there for each family event she could host or attend.  She was there for my wedding almost five years ago.  She lived in her own home until very recently, when she chose to go live at the retirement center “with all of her friends.”

Grandmother Moore liked a good story, and loved creativity — and art.  Her paintings are beautiful and usually catch the Texas countryside or family history in some way.  There are great stories to go along with some of them…. like the time horses stomped up onto the wooden sidewalk and into a country store during a fight, or when Indians visited her family.

As my husband says, this woman saw the advent (and often the invent) of things like cars, refrigerators, freezers, space flight, and civil rights and liberties for women and minorities.  She watched the decline of the 20s and the hardship of the Great Depression from the front row.  She was alive through all of that as well as other countless moments of history.  She has lived that many years… to contemplate this boggles my mind.

Not many families know or have such a connection to the past… it gives me a feeling of solidarity as a human being, to really stop and see the flesh-and-blood connection to those past-times.  Even better when they share the same faith and can answer some solid questions about it, like the time that an 80-something friend of mine told me how Psalm 23 has always seemed fresh to her, each time she reads it; that God would show her something new.  Grandmother Moore believed in God and the gift he has given us through Jesus Christ.  She knew, no matter her shortcomings or achievements, that she was held in the palm of His hand, called holy and acceptable.

In the process of new family life and living an hour-and-a-half from her, I only usually got to hang out with her with other people around, but I am thankful for each memory of course.  And I got to have a special brunch with her and my Mom-in-law and Aunt-in-law.  That was a fun day!  I was a new bride and desperately wanted to find their approval.  I asked them to meet me at a local-to-them restaurant and we chatted over our favorite country dishes and hot coffee.  I was so touched when she wanted to meet the newest grandkids after they were born (see above and below).

Thanks, God, for letting me see that it is possible to have fun and be active all the way up ’til my dying day. I hope that I can live to see all my offspring like that, and know them by name like she did, enjoying their company.

I look forward to some longer chats, and knowing her better, in heaven.  I bet we’ll both have bluebonnets and Texas wildflowers growing in big outdoor gardens!  Until then, Grandmother Moore, rest in peace.

Thanks for reading, Friends.

Dichotic Tension

This morning, our church hosted a women’s creativity event.  I loved it.

We each picked a picture, and followed some basic creative writing instructions for a little while, and then had some free writing time.  I felt kind of negative about mine, but as more ladies shared theirs, I realized that mine didn’t stand out as ultra-downer… just something which any one of them might be able to relate to.  I guess I was feeling especially vulnerable this morning.  Normally, I love to write and share things.

So, once I’d shared, I was deeply blessed to have a resounding “You need to give a copy of that to every Mom out there!” echoing around the table.  Wow.  Okay, here goes… Here’s the picture I chose, and the words I wrote to go with it.

Title: Dichotic Tension (I came up with that at the end)

1st 3 words that come to mind: Multiple Varied Things/Order

Description: There are a bunch of bags lined up in neat rows, bunched together, filled to the rolled brims with many different kinds of foods and spices, all different colors — lots of greens — on the street in an amateur market.

What this brings up in me: Angry, hustle & bustle, pressure, many things, beautiful, too much to take in, but organized feelings and peace.

What it brings up about God: God brings order, peace, and beauty to chaos and a plethora of things.

Free writing: I am so tired!  But so energetic/frantic right now!  I want to rest and be done with this phase (I’m 29 weeks pregnant).  Let’s move on.  But I can’t.
My mind: thoughts
activities
events
to do
done
enjoy
rest
prepare
heal
process
STOP!
GO!
wait…
no. yes.
maybe.
flurry
provision?
anticipation
fear
joy
focus on children
husband
family
friends
self
God
nothing
laundry, diapers
dishes, feet up
who will ___?
Pressure.
Build A Baby.
There’s a beautiful pink and green bag in the bottom left corner.  I want to stay in that color.

There is a basket of rocks to the far right.  That stands for that stuff I really don’t want to deal with.
There is a bag of black kind of in the middle.  That equals sleep!!
Is this my marketplace?  I don’t want to run a marketplace!  😦  I’d rather run a bakery.  I’m doing the best I can.

©2011, Dorothy Moore

I hope this writing blesses you the way it blessed me.  I know that in the midst of my dichotic tension, where God meets me in the middle of chaos, and gives me peace, is something he wants for you too… it helped to get prayer after the exercise was over… I felt so much better!  And so much calmer!  🙂