Quirk & Logic Posts

I had a couple of post ideas in mind, but figured I should really post about gratitude.  Since its Thanksgiving tomorrow and all.

So, here we go.

You are probably expecting the usual reminder to look around you at all the things you have to be thankful for.  Family, friends, shelter, food to eat, love, and laughter.

Nope.

I can see why you thought that though.  That’s what we (society) always talk about.  Why?  Because sometimes we get so busy, so wound into the hustle and bustle that we forget to stop and look around at the things we have in our lives.  Practicing gratitude is a great (even essential) tool to truly living in the present.  Being grateful for the delightful smell of a burning leaf pile in the fall grounds us, and makes us stop worrying about the past or the future for just a moment.  We are thankful for the present so we pay attention to the present.

That’s all good right?

(Its not a trick question.  Yes, that is all good.)

But- I also said that’s not what this was going to be about.  In many ways it’s a little too simple to ONLY give thanks for those good things.  Yes – we must be thankful for them, and often, but we cannot stop with the good things.

When was the last time you were thankful for adversity?  For challenge?  For pain?  For bad circumstances?  For difficult people?

For most of us – never.  Or close enough.  Sure, we say we are thankful for a challenge because without challenges we can’t grow.  Do we always believe that?

So, here’s a challenge for you this week.  Once you’ve given thanks for all of the good people, things, and experiences in your live (seriously, still do this part), consider the less-than-good parts.

Consider being thankful for and adversity that reminded you what you really needed and pointed out what you only thought you needed.

Consider being thankful that a we endured pain.  Perhaps it made us into a deeper, more real version of ourselves.

Consider being thankful for that difficult person you have to deal with, because they make you increase your store of patience.

Consider being thankful for someone who loudly and often rudely disagrees with you – if only because it forces you to consider WHY you believe what you believe, and it encourages you to do your homework and get your facts.

Consider being thankful for negative circumstances that helped to show you who you can count on (sometimes we are surprised).

Consider being thankful for local or world news stories that break your heart because sometimes what breaks our heart spurs us to take action.

I’m not asking you to be thankful for EVERYTHING.  Some wounds are too deep and too raw.  It is ok not to be thankful for those wounds.  But maybe, just maybe there is a little gratitude for something around the edges that you never expected.

Look a little closer

Today, I am choosing to be grateful for all the “no’s,” all the doors closing and opportunities ending.   They made me stronger, smarter, braver, more creative, and more determined than ever.

And of course, I am grateful to each of you – for taking a moment to consider.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Life Logic

Image result for man in the arena speech

If you like plainer text:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
– Teddy Roosevelt (often called the ‘Man in the Arena’ speech. Taken from a speech given at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, 1910).

It is not the critic who counts.

How many times do we listen to the critic? How many times are WE the critic? How many times do we look on from the cheap seats and criticize others. How often are we in the arena, getting discouraged by those comments from the safe zone?

Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming

That sounds familiar. . . .

Image result for it is impossible to live without failing

Both Rowling and Roosevelt strike on the same point. Life IS failing. Its making mistakes, getting messy, getting back up, and trying again. Failing means learning that was NOT the way to accomplish your goal. Lesson learned, thank you life, moving on.

but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Here, I believe that Roosevelt is reminding us that we must pursue our passions without concern for the end result – but because there is a fire inside us demanding that we see it through. Win or lose. Succeed or fail. Maya Angelou says ‘A songbird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.’ Your song is your fire. SING LOUD. If some mock you for daring to raise your voice – turn to other people, because you are daring greatly.

So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

How interesting. In Roosevelt’s view (which I share), it is better to have tried and failed, than to extinguish your fire and sit quiet and safe. If any of you out there has seen the first Rocky movie – this makes me think of it. I refuse to be concerned about ‘spoilers’ in a movie older than I am – so here’s the scoop. Nobody boxer gets a chance at the title bout as part of a publicity stunt. Training montage, love story, motivational music. . . . . and then the big fight at the end. And he loses. And that’s not even the point of the movie. The point is that this nobody stood toe to toe with the best boxer in the world and put everything out there. He failed while daring greatly (and then there was a sequel and then like 47 more sequels after that.) I think of those Olympians (especially divers, gymnasts, figure skaters, snowboarders, skiiers) who go for the ‘big move’ only to fail – but they failed trying to do something amazing. They could have gone ‘safe’ and had a clean routine. But then they have to walk away knowing they didn’t leave it all out there, that they held back. And they will always wonder ‘what could have been.’

I came across this speech via Brene Brown – who has called it ‘life changing’ for her. One of her books is even titled ‘Daring Greatly.’ So I am ending with a quote from Brene reflecting on this speech and what it has meant to her. Because while the crowd in the cheap seats can be loud – sing your song – sing loud – because its not the critics who count.

Image result for brene brown quotes

 

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Life Logic

What do you think of when I say ‘ordinary’?

Normal?  Boring? Unimportant?

So then, what is an ‘ordinary life’?

Get a job, pay bills, juggle kids’ activities (if you have them), buying groceries, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and crying over how bad that last thing you tried from Pinterest turned out.

Right?

The Olympics just wrapped up, and for two weeks we watched, breathless, as some of the most talented and disciplined athletes in the world complete for glory and country.  That, we say, is extraordinary.  I follow a Facebook group called the Jessie Rees Project.  Jessie was just twelve when she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer (DiPG).  As she was going through treatment, she looked around at all the other kids in the pediatric cancer center and wanted them to have something that made them happy.  She and her family started raising money to send ‘Joy Jars’ to kids all over the country (now the world).  She passed away a short time later and her family continues her work.  They are extraordinary.

I think we all admire the extraordinary.  Maybe on the global scale, like those examples, maybe on a smaller scale.  We all know that one extraordinary person who seems to make friends effortlessly, or who has brilliant business sense, or is super creative.

And somehow, I think we feel less when we look at ourselves and see ourselves as ordinary.

I want to challenge that.  There is power in an ordinary life, if you embrace your life.  In not letting your job, or your income, or your house, or your status define you.  In going to work, paying your bills, and finding the happiness in everyday life.  In finally flopping into a chair at the end of the day and realizing you got your work done, got food (of some sort) on the table, the family was where they were supposed to be, everyone is reasonably clean, and the house hasn’t fallen apart.

Yep.  Nailed it.

We don’t, of course.  We take those precious few minutes and think about how we didn’t get that load of laundry done, we were 5 minutes late to soccer practice, and dinner was chicken nuggets (again).  We need to stop.  We need to be kind and gentle with ourselves and grateful for what we have.  I am thankful that we have enough clothes that if the laundry didn’t get done, my family has things they can wear until I get to it.  I am grateful that we have food to fuel us.  I am grateful that my car is working and that my kids have the opportunity to participate in sports to enjoy being outside and moving their bodies.

And once in a while, you just sit back and look at the life you’ve made.  See your choices reflected in it.  Love what you have – even if you see things you want to change. 

Tonight, I’m going to sit with my family around a little bonfire in the backyard and make s’mores and read stories.  A completely ordinary evening.  Nothing special.  Yet, it contains within it everything that is magical and amazing in my life.  It is time to reflect and be happy.

And that, my friends, is extraordinary.

 

Find yours.

 

Please ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ if you enjoyed!

Life Logic

Sorry Gents – go ahead and clock out on this one.

Ladies.  Let’s talk purses.  I am not the girliest of girls.  Actually, I would classify myself in the lower 50th percentile on the girliness ranking scale.  You know what I mean.  I like clothes ok, but if I CAN wear cargo capris or running pants, let’s face it – I’m going to.

I like shoes, and absolutely love my taupe patent pumps with wooden heels.  I am usually wearing flip flops.

Make up is all well and good.  But not in the summer because its hot and I like to be outside and it gets all runny and stuff.

I wear skirts, but mostly because they are cooler (temperature) than pants.

I’d rather go hiking than shopping, and sometimes (usually) I go a year between haircuts. 

But, all in all, I would say I appreciate being female, but don’t put a lot of time or energy into it.  So, bottom 50th percentile most likely.

But.  BUT!  I do love a good bag.  Whether it’s a BAG bag or a purse, I’m always looking for that ‘just right’ bag.  I’ve made some bags (making bags is a gateway-craft into quilting, which is an obsessive and expensive hobby.  More on that later.  You’ve been warned), and I am sitting on some fabric to make more bags.

Last year, I bought a purse and solved my whole existential crisis.  Ok – more on that later too.  Long story somewhat shorter – I was in the midst of an existential crisis.  ‘What do I do with my life?  What do I want to be when I grow up?  How do I take my developed interests and put them to use?’  Much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

At that time, I was also in the market for a new purse because my old purse was looking a little worse for wear.  It was really more of a bag anyways.  And I still use it for a bag.  If you don’t understand the distinction, just play along, its all good – no judgment. 

So, I had found a truly awesome bag/purse (it was sort of both) on a discount website and I loved it.  It was a little more than I had planned on spending – but it was already half off of what it HAD been.  I am a sucker for a good bargain.  Being me, I had to fret and debate and worry and consider – going back and forth and forth and back over whether I should purchase this bag-purse. 

Then my husband (who had been through all the wailing/gnashing of teeth AND all the fretting and debating) said this: ‘If you like it, just buy it.  You’ve been looking for one you like for a while.’

SERIOUSLY???  You use that kind of logic when I’m being a crazy person??  Ok, fine.  I’ll show you MR. RATIONAL.  And I clicked ‘Buy.’

And everything fell into place.  I mean everything.  It felt like when you play tetris and you are an inch from losing and then you get these three pieces in a row and suddenly you’ve cleared your screen.  The next day I announced to my husband that I had figured out my existential crisis.

Buying the right bag-purse can do that for you.

Fast forward a year.  I love my bag-purse, and it is still awesome, and when it arrived I found the lining is ORANGE, which is my most favorite color.  A sign.  Anyways.  I love it, but after a year it becomes clear that it is a bag and not a purse.  I assume it was also going through an existential crisis, and that is how we found one another.  On the bright side, I am currently in need of a really spiffy bag, so since we had an internal opening, I offered the position to the bag-purse, who cheerfully accepted.

This left a power-vacuum in ‘purse’ position.  I had been looking for a little while.  I knew what I wanted and didn’t want, and I was feeling pretty cheap on this round, so I didn’t want to spend much.  I found one that ‘would work’ but was clearly a place filler until the right bag came along.  I did not purchase it (I rarely purchase anything on the first pass, because I prefer to drive myself half-crazy with ‘what ifs’ before I commit to even relatively small purchases).  Last weekend, because I really did need a purse, I decided to go back and get the ‘good enough’ purse. 

What was hanging right behind it, you ask?  THE PURSE.  The one.  The one that had everything I wanted and nothing I didn’t.  It was the right shape, it was the right color, it had details that corresponded with my personal preferences.  It had the right size and number of pockets.  IT WAS GLORIOUS.  IT WAS ON SALE.  *sigh*  I am listening dear Universe.  I am listening.

 

So, with my lovely new purse, and my lovely old/new bag, more pieces just fall into place.  Like that one long piece in tetris.  You know, the one with four blocks all in a row.  You know – the one you need for ever because you have a trench that’s like 12 blocks deep and you’ve been waiting and waiting and then you get it.

 

Well, I get it.

 

 

Life Logic

Hi,

 

I haven’t been writing much.  Not for a year.  That seems like such a strange thing to say.  I haven’t written anything worth reading in a year.  Its not entirely true, but true enough for here.

I haven’t written anything I thought I could put here in a year.  I always envisioned this space for fun and foolishness.  I haven’t felt very fun and foolish in the last year.  If writing is sunshine, I have been in a shadow.

That’s not to say I haven’t written, because I write a weekly blog at my big-girl job, and I have been proud of what I’ve included there.  Its intended purpose is to inform people about Trauma-Informed Care (which is a big deal in its own right), but I mostly focus on empowerment and self-care.  I realized that there was a sort of light there too – one more like fire than sunshine.

So, I’m going to write again.  I’m going to try not to worry about the number of ‘likes’ a post gets, or anything like that.  I’m just going to focus on the fire I have inside to write, and put those words out.  Some of it will be fun, because I believe that fun is powerful.  Some of it will have other focuses.  Like kindness, acceptance, and love.  I’m going to call this section ‘Life Logic.’

I hope you’ll come along for the journey.  I’ve started a new pathway for myself this week that I will expand upon at some point.

Thank you for reading what’s been here so far.  I hope you’ll like what is coming next.

 

Take care,

Kim

Uncategorized

Greetings and Good Fortune!

I’m trying to work out a ‘signature greeting’ – as you can tell, this isn’t going to be it.  However, ‘how’s it hanging’ is probably not it either – too chancy on the responses.

Anywaaaaaaays. . . . .

I thought I would fill you in on one of the (many) things that will eventually make me rich and famous.  Pretty sure.  Its called Humanity Bingo, or alternately, People Watching Bingo.

So my primary human co-habitant (aka: husband) and I first came upon this idea at the St. Louis Zoo, on a stop while on vacation last year.  Whenever we are together, without children to filter for, we generally like to do a bit of people watching.  As it turns out, the St. Louis Zoo is a pretty good place to go!

I’ll get back to that – because ordinarily I don’t just write about things that happened 18 months ago.  You see, recently, we took the family to Adventureland.  Now, for the one of you not from Iowa, Adventureland is a theme park somewhere in between six flags and Carny-ville.  Its actually pretty fun, and my kids love it.  We stay on the dry side (except for the fact that it rained the whole day), so I am not referring to the attached water park.  Now, Adventureland also has some QUALITY people watching.  Not quite up to the level available at, say, Walmart or the State Fair, but still pretty good.

In any case, it brought up the whole subject of Humanity Bingo again.  So, here’s how it will work.  I will make up your standard issue BINGO style cards and sell them via ‘ye olde internet.’  Then, all of the grateful people-watchers will challenge friends and family for fabulous prizes*

(*you have to buy your own fabulous prizes)

I know what you are thinking, ‘What on earth are you even talking about?’

I see how your are.  You need examples:

  • Teenager who spent hours getting ready and is trying to pass it off as ‘didn’t even try.’
  • Person who vastly misunderstood the dress code for this event.
  • Person who clearly doesn’t understand what temperature it is.
  • Lady in work-out clothes. . . . And full hair and makeup.  (I love workout clothes as much as the next person, but lets face it – it looks kind of silly to have your hair and makeup fully done too.)
  • Screen zombie (in our family, this is what we refer to when someone is so glued to their ‘screen’ they have no clue what’s going on around them.  You can often find them in crosswalks of busy streets in an event I like to call ‘natural selection.’)
  • Mad Grandma who didn’t want to watch the kids today.
  • Lady who feels super high heels are ALWAYS appropriate (note: we actually saw Mad Grandma wearing the high heels, and couldn’t help but wonder if she would have been less mad in sensible shoes).
  • Parents who appear to be attempting to ‘lose’ one or more of their children.
  • Pajamas as clothes
  • Swimwear as clothes (note: this doesn’t count at a water-based event!!  Note on that note: unless the water-based event is a trip to the aquarium, then it totally counts)
Obviously we still need to add just a few more.  Then, its time for the riches to roll in.  Don’t worry, I won’t forget you.  Either one of you!
Don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE.  Also LIKE and SHARE the page,  Oh – and the facebook page too.
My husband tells me I need to get on Twitter too, but I haven’t, so don’t bother going there just yet.

Quirky Thoughts

I’m going to go ahead and spoil the whole point of this blog post right off the bat.  We are not in competition with one another.

(Ok – those of you involved in athletics, musical groups, or reality-television elimination shows: you are actually in competition with each other. But that’s not what I’m talking about).

WE.  US.  You, me, that guy over there.  That lady with the cat.  Not in competition.

Why do we do this?  I’m honestly asking.  Why must we tear down those around us?  Why must we snipe and pinch and carp and complain?

Why do we steal our own joy?

I’m going to break it down a bit.  I really enjoy singing.  I will never be a professional singer, but I love it.  If I hear someone else sing, and it sounds lovely, I can say ‘They have a lovely voice!’ and then sit back and enjoy.  But so many times in the past, I felt compelled to nitpick every reason why their voice (or looks, or clothes, or whatever) wasn’t as good as whatever praise they had gotten, because hey – I was good too!

Then, I sat myself down for a little talking to.  Seriously?  Do I want to live with that whiny voice in my head?  Answer: I do not.  Because whining is super-duper annoying, and because it was stealing my joy.

So, if I hear someone sing, and I like it – do you know what that means for my own singing?  Absolutely nothing.  Not related.  Because I am not in competition with that person.

My body does not reflect my observations of the bodies I see.  My clothes do not, my marriage does not, my bank-account does not.

By now, you are asking yourself, ‘why is the crazy lady rambling about competition?’

Because Christians do it to each other all the time.  I’ve shared before, when I talk to people who have either drifted away from the church, or who have run away as if on fire, the number one reason I hear is the hypocrisy of other people in the church.  This is ‘the church’ as in ‘Christian Church’ – not one specific church.  And they weren’t literally on fire.  I don’t think.

So, I was thinking about this, and I think it comes back to competition.  I think we get the first part, ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.’  Good!  We understand!  We ALL (I’m looking at you.  And me.  All means all) have sinned.  None of us deserves the forgiveness we were offered.

So why do some insist on looking down on others, as if they are MORE undeserving?  Perhaps because they are still figuring out this whole ‘life’ thing (its HARD!).  Maybe they don’t find a seat in a church pew as often (do you all have pews?  We don’t, we have padded chairs, but I still say pews, and I don’t know why) as someone else.  They aren’t on the church council, they don’t teach in the Sunday School.  They aren’t pillars of the PTA, and they don’t organize the bake sales.

Which is really too bad, because all of those things mean. . . . . . well, nothing.  I don’t mean nothing – those are wonderful things, if the people doing them enjoy it and it adds to their life.

But it doesn’t move you ahead of someone else in the hierarchy of God’s love.  Because God doesn’t have one.  He’s awesome like that.

I guess what I’m saying is – do the things you are lead to do.  Perhaps they help YOU develop a stronger relationship with God.  Perhaps they fulfill you and bring you joy.  I am the first to say – I am happy for you.  I thank you for the service you offer.  I appreciate what you do.

If you are someone who is just getting by, and feels disheartened by all those Christians who seem so much more ‘Christian’ than you?  Don’t worry, you aren’t in competition.  I’m not a huge scripture quoter, but I do know one of the most common phrases in the Bible is ‘Be not afraid.’  Here are my thoughts.

Be not afraid to be who you are.

Be not afraid to love deeply.

Be not afraid that you are not ‘doing enough.’

Be not afraid to follow the path in front of you – walk in faith, and the reason may become clear.

Be not afraid of what other people are doing – that’s their path, not yours.

Be not afraid of what other people think – Christ said ‘follow me’ not ‘follow those people over there.’

Be not afraid that God’s love will be used up on those ‘better’ than you.  First – ‘better’ is competition, and we’ve agreed to stop doing that.  Second- God’s capacity for love is so great that no amount of people could ever fill it.  Third – you deserve that love.

Be not afraid to be.

 

And be not afraid to see the beauty, brilliance, and strengths of others.  When you recognize it and honor it, you open your eyes to a new world.

 

And you’ll win back your joy.

 

Take Care!

Kim

 

If you enjoyed this, or it made you think, or you think I’m nice and I might bake you a cake, please LIKE and SHARE both this and my Facebook page! (Ok, so I know we’re not in competition, but I do kinda sorta want to get this out to more people, and that would be really helpful!).

 

 

Guerilla Christianity

Greetings!  So its been a while since I’ve written anything, but hey!  Life’s been busy and the Publisher’s Clearinghouse people haven’t found my house yet, so I still go to work every day.

Except last week, when I totally didn’t.

Because last week was.

 

Duh duh duhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

 

VACATION!!!

 

4 Days in beautiful and sunny Key West!

greetings-from-key-west

You know where this mural is?  Its on the side of this dumpy little shack called the Cuban Coffee Queen.  I know this because I spent a LOT of time at the Cuban Coffee Queen and if you ever go to Key West, you should too.  Ok, so the guy called me ‘Sweetheart’ often enough to make Matt look like he had a pufferfish in his undershorts, but hey – that’s how they roll!

Ok, since I figure I’m pretty much an expert on Key West now (4 DAYS), I’m going to give you all the low-down.  You know, the inside scoop.  I know stuff man.

First of all, there’s this place.

whistle bar

Just one of the many bars on Duval (which is Key West’s version of Beale Street (Memphis) or Bourbon Street (New Orleans)).  Oh, except for one little thing.  Clothing optional upstairs.  Woo hoo?  And no, before you ask, we did not stumble in by accident (or on purpose).  There was a handy sign.

Picture4

You know, so we could point and snicker like 7th graders.  Don’t laugh, I’ll tell you where it is, just head South on Greene until you hit Duval, then turn left and walk till you see it.  I know you’re out there taking notes.

Ok, and some local color!  Like this fellow.  Affectionately known as the ‘Sponge Man.’  So adorable!

Picture5

He’s so cute!  And he’s really, truly there as a tourist attraction, not to, you know, suck out your soul or anything.  (He totally sucks out your soul, but that’s not why here’s there.)  And!  He’s got a brother a few blocks away!  Awesome!  Almost like he’s following you.

(Holy crap, I think he was following us).

And no visit to Key West would be complete without a visit to the Southernmost Point in the USA.  Hmmm, how will we ever find it?

Southernmost-Point

Oh hey!  I’ll bet that’s it.  Heeeeyyyyy, wait a second.  I see a problem here.

That problem is. . . .

smost with arrow

See that corner?  Its clearly more ‘Southernmost’ than the ‘Southernmost Point.’

Here, I took a better picture.

southernmost southernmost point

Behold!  The majestic ‘Southernmost Point’ in the USA!

Ok, except for that other point off to the side with the giant golf ball on it.  Apparently, the government has a gigantic listening device on a spit of land that is actually slightly more southern than the ‘Southernmost Point’ or even the ‘Actual Southernmost Point.’  Which just goes to show once again that ‘government reality’ and ‘the rest of us reality’ aren’t usually the same thing.  I didn’t mention this out loud down there on account of the giant golf-ball listening device.

There are actually some cool sights near the ‘Southernmost Point.’  For example, the ‘Southernmost House.’  Google it.  No wait, don’t leave me.  Here, I have a picture.

Southernmost_House

I didn’t really take this picture, the Google did.  Because its taken from out on the ocean, and I can’t walk on the water.

You know what I found just to the side of this house?  In a sort of ‘southerly’ direction?

You guessed it!

Picture6

That’s right!  Another house!  And apparently, they are a little peeved about the whole thing.  Peeved enough to create a plaque, and then post it on their fence.  I bet neighborhood block parties are pretty awkward. . . .

Ok, I did say this was an abbreviated travel-logue, and this is getting kind of long.  Here’s some short pointers.

  • Sloppy Joe’s is a cool bar where Hemmingway hung out.  Its really loud there.
  • Key Lime pie is disgusting.  Seriously – gross.  (Ok, my opinion.  Some people think its good).
  • The $5 t-shirt/hat/bag/dress/shorts and the $15 t-shirt/hat/bag/dress/shorts are EXACTLY THE SAME.
  • Cuban Coffee Queen.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
  • TOP NOTCH PEOPLE WATCHING.  This really cannot be overstated.  Matt and I had to start developing a new version of Humanity Bingo.
  • If you go to the beach, you may see an old guy wearing a swimming suit that looks like a cross between a coin purse and a pair of suspenders.  Tell him we said ‘hi.’
  • Its actually really safe there.  Despite all the drunk people, we only saw one confrontation, and that was a guy trying to pick a fight with a police office, who was calmly not participating in his fun.
  • Do NOT feed the iguanas.
  • There are lots and lots of chickens.  If you don’t see them, you’ll hear ’em.
  • If you take young children, be prepared to explain a lot of things you thought would wait a few more years.
  • Do not go to Key West during something called ‘Fantasy Fest’ in late October.  Wonder why?  Google it – I dare you.  I don’t post those kinds of pictures.

You will also see lots of these signs:

Picture7

Don’t worry, no one pays attention, and literally no one cares.

See you there next time!

Quirky Thoughts

So, there’s someone I’d like to introduce you too.  Whenever anyone asks the question ‘If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?’, I immediately answer ‘Corrie ten Boom.’

Always.

Why?  Courage. Conviction. Perseverance. Faith. Forgiveness.

She’s written several books, but the one I’ve read and re-read is called ‘The Hiding Place.’  If you haven’t read it, you should.  If you are exploring your faith, you should.  If you are struggling to make sense of circumstances, you should.  If you are seeking peace, you should.

Just read it, ok.

If I told you that this little Dutch woman was a beacon of hope, peace, forgiveness, compassion, and love – that would likely not come as a surprise since I just told you about 6 times to go read her book.

What if I told you that her story includes arrest, imprisonment, and eventually, a concentration camp?

Still, maybe not a total surprise.  There are quite a few stories of amazing individuals who were not afraid to go to prison for their cause and their beliefs.

I think what sets Corrie ten Boom apart for me is the sense of peace.  I’ve seen ‘Schindler’s List.’  I read ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel in college.  I always had a sense of haunting cold.  That feeling inside that is the absence of feeling – because the real emotion is too painful to comprehend.  The horror of human beings treated with utter inhumanity.

‘The Hiding Place’ doesn’t hide that, but instead re-frames it.  Whenever I set down her book and dry my tears, I realize there is no absence of emotion.  There is a fullness, a peace.  The peace that passes understanding.  It remains the ‘most loaned’ book in my substantial collection, and is completely falling apart.

Obviously, she survived her experiences during the Holocaust, as she was able to write about them later.  Her first goal upon her release was to set up a home for other survivors so that they could receive care and comfort, and so they could heal.  Again – no real surprise there.  At one point she was approached by a cruel former guard, who asked for forgiveness.  She prayed with them.  Ok – surprise there.  The level of faith and forgiveness she showed (not without difficulty – she had her share of anger), continues to be an absolute inspiration.  I am in awe of her.  If she were sitting down to dinner with me, she would smile, then shake her head and say ‘not me, God.’  I can even hear her Dutch accent.  I feel as though I know her personally, though she died shortly before I turned 3, and hadn’t spoken for nearly 5 years due to a stroke.

I am not going to review the story here.  Mostly because I’m going to continue to be bossy and tell you to go read it (you will not regret it!).

I did want to give you a little back-story, though, because I’m going to share some of my favorite quotes.  When I find myself in a dark and difficult place-  I often turn to Corrie ten Boom’s quotes as a source of comfort, perspective, hope, and peace.

These are in no particular order:

 

‘Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.  It empties today of its strength.’

‘There is no pit so deep, that He (God) is not deeper still.’ (this was originally a quote of her sister Betsie, that Corrie adopted and shared).

‘Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.’

‘Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.’

‘You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.’

‘Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings…It’s something we make inside ourselves.’

‘There is no panic in Heaven! God has no problems, only plans.’

‘Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.’

‘Perhaps only when human effort had done it’s best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.’

‘When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.’

‘When He tells us to love our enemies He gives, along with the command, the love itself.’

‘To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.’

‘Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.’

 

These are really just a few.  Just the ones I look to most often.  The ones that remind me how much power we can find if we step out of the false pride in our own abilities, and remember that true power comes when we serve as a conduit for God’s love.

So, in closing, one final quote.  Oh – and go read the book.  ‘The Hiding Place’ by Cornelia (Corrie) ten Boom.  DO IT.

 

‘Don’t bother to give God instructions; just report for duty.’

 

Find your inspiration.  Find your peace.

Happy reading everyone.

 

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Guerilla Christianity

Let me start by saying I have never seen ‘The Bachelor.’  Not even one episode.  Not even one part of one episode.  If you are a fan – have fun, its just not my thing.  I do see commercials, so I figure I’ve got the gist of it.

Now, there’s a lot of kerfuffle about the fact that the current ‘Bachelor’ is a farmer from Iowa.  Super.  And since we all know that the best way to find true love is a televised game show where the contestant dates multiple individuals in front of their competitors, you can see why the couples have been so successful.

Wait, what?  Who decided this was a good idea?

My husband is not a farmer, but he did grow up on a farm, doing farmer-y stuff (and that occurred in Iowa), so I’m going to use him as a reference.

This is my imaginary version of what an average Iowa farmer would be like on ‘The Bachelor.’  Ok, so its really ‘what would my husband have been like on ‘The Bachelor.’ If he was not married to me, which he is.’

Producer: ‘Ok, Matt.  We’ve got 25 ladies here who will be competing to win your heart.  You’ll get to know them a little bit, eliminate them, and then propose to the final remaining lady.’

Matt: ‘Propose?  As in marriage?  How many months am I going to be on this show?’

Producer: ‘Its just a few weeks.  Actually, we already have someone picked out for you.  Just play along.’

Matt: ‘My mother put you up to this, didn’t she?’

Producer: ‘Um, no.  Its just how we make the show.’

Matt: ‘Ok, lets get this over with.’

The ladies arrive, each desperate to get her face on camera to launch her ‘acting’ career get a rose and eventually win Matt’s heart.  They make bad jokes and wear painful-looking shoes.  The smell of perfume and hairspray becomes overwhelming.

Matt: ‘Thank you all for coming!  Excuse me a moment.’

(to producer): ‘Psst.  Hey.’

Producer: ‘What?  You’re in the middle of your initial meeting.’

Matt: ‘How many of these people do I have to keep around?’

Producer: ’15’

Matt: ‘No way – did you meet them?  They won’t stop smiling.  Four of them think I raise potatoes.  I’m pretty sure at least half were trying to get a whiff to see if I smell bad.  And what’s with the shoes???’

Producer: ‘Fine.  You can pick 10, as long as these three are in the mix.’

Matt: ‘Why?  That one won’t stop giggling, and that red-head seems to think EVERYONE smells bad.’

Producer: ‘Its good TV, just do as you’re told, you’ve got a contract.’

Matt returns to the ladies and hands out roses to the ones he thinks he can stand another few days.  He surreptitiously attempts to hide one of his 10 roses, but the producer gives him the stink-eye, so he hands it out to Annoying Giggler.

Fast forward to group date.  Matt is hanging out with 6 ladies, including the three the producer told him he was contractually obligated to include.  The producers suggested a trip to Bermuda.  Matt stood firm, and set up a bonfire and hayride.  After enduring several hours of complaints about dust and chaffing, Matt launches into a series of stories about adventures in hay baling.  The ladies do not seem impressed by exactly where chaff can become lodged, or in what color your phlegm turns. 

Lady #1: ‘What’s that smell?’

Matt: ‘Fresh cut alfalfa.  Best smell in the world.’

Lady #2: ‘Is that the grassy sort of smell?  Yuck.  What on earth is that stink?’

Matt: ‘Smell of money.’

Lady #2: ‘Come again?’

Lady #6: giggles

Matt (rolls eyes, takes deep breath): ‘Its cow manure.’

Lady #3: ‘Ew!  Why is it everywhere?  How does anyone stand the smell?’

Matt: ‘Uh, ok, biology lesson.  Cattle eat.  Cattle poop.  Actually, Everybody Poops.  My nephew has a book – you can look at it. ‘

Later, at the bonfire, three ladies appear to be jockeying for snuggling position.  One decides to flatter Matt. 

Lady #4: ‘So, you must build up some great muscles with all this physical work.’

Matt: ‘I dunno, I guess.  Its a lot of driving machinery, trying not to get kicked by a steer, and keeping the manure out of your mouth when you’re cleaning the yard.’

Lady #5: ‘Oh, you cannot be serious.  Manure in your mouth?  You are joking, that never happened to you.’

Matt: ‘It happens to everyone, regularly.’

Lady #6: giggles

Snuggle time over.  Matt congratulates himself, but gets the hairy-eyeball from the producers.

Matt has been reminded he is contractually obligated to charm these ladies.  A cocktail party has been arranged with the final 4 and Matt’s friends and family.  The producer has taken to locking up the roses prior to elimination, as Matt keeps claiming he can’t find half of them. 

The ladies crowd around Matt, trying to win points. 

Matt: ‘So, are you ladies having a good time?’

Lady #1: ‘Oh, its so nice to meet your friends.  I think I fit in so well with them.  You’ll love California, where I live.  You’ll be so enchanted you’ll want to move there immediately!’

Lady #2: ‘Why is everyone laughing so loud?’

Matt: ‘I believe they are having fun.’

Lady #3: ‘I asked for champagne at the bar, but that guy just looked at me funny.’

Lady #4: giggles

Matt (taking deep breath): ‘Hey!  Stay right here.’

Lady #1: ‘Why?’

Matt: ‘Cause I’m going to go over there.’

Producer: ‘What are you doing? Go be charming’

Matt: ‘The most charming I can be at the moment is absent.  Seriously, if you think I’m going to marry one of these people, you’re nuts.’

Producer: ‘What’s the big deal?  They’re gorgeous and want to marry you.’

Matt: ‘Rather be single.  I’m just going to yell ‘Plot Twist!’ and then run away, ok?’

Producer: ‘NO!’

Matt: ‘Plot Twist!’

And then Matt ran off into the sunset to get the last of the expensive perfume smell out of his nose.  As he breathed in the smell of alfalfa and manure, he decided to reconsider that girl he met who said she could beat him in arm wrestling.

 

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