What I Am Learning As I Get OLD

About this time, 8 years ago, you would have found me curled up on the floor in the fetal position, weeping. As I celebrated my birthday this weekend, I was reminded how much has changed in my life, my heart, since I turned 30.

Thirty was traumatic for me.

For 29 years I told myself that 30 was old. For 29 years I set high expectations for my life. For 29 years I carried the weight of regrets, and mistakes and sin. And then I woke up and was 30. I was old, with no direction, and lots of baggage.

So I wept.

Every day…

For weeks.

weeping

My husband came home from work to find me unshowered, back against the wall, sitting on the floor in a daze. I had to get some help, I had to sort it out. If my car broke down, I’d go to a mechanic. I was a mess, I needed a shower, a washing machine and Jesus!

I dunno, I think we all go through those times in our lives, where we realize that life isn’t what we thought it would be. Someone wrote on a status on FB something like this:

“One day things will go as planned.”

I didn’t want to burst her bubble, but I really wanted to say, “Umm never. Things never go as planned.” Well not never, but almost never. And I could use the first 29 years of my life as case and point. And the last eight years to just throw it all in your face.  Nothing as planned.

I’m still wondering how my plans and God’s plans align, if ever. I think most of the time I simply stumble, and then ooopsey, I find myself some place God can use me. There is always more month than money, I find myself walking places more now than ever, I went an entire year without a haircut, I don’t know the last time I bought clothes. My husband works 70 hours a week, my kids are growing up and moving on and there are days I simply feel like I’m standing still.

But somehow, I no longer weep, I only cry a little.  I don’t curl myself in the fetal position, but there are days I do stay under the covers. I don’t live with too many regrets, only dreams that I keep pressing toward.  I don’t have it figured out, I still question God at times, and I have moments of hopelessness, Then there is God’s grace…  I find that as I am aging, I am so much more grateful for the little things:

A roof over my head

Food in my kitchen

Healthy children

I am taken care of.

Jesus loves me.

All is well.

Until I’m 40…

What are you learning as you grow older? Share with me.

LG|LP

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Life Is Not Worth Living

It’s been a long, long, long week. After ignoring my cough for two weeks, it turned into bronchitis. And bronchitis is some real stuff! Like for real.

I have had my share of antibiotics, Mucinex, and Poise pads. (Ladies! After three kids, my bladder just doesn’t have it. Don’t act like I’m the only one!) I’ve spent entirely too much time alone, with my thoughts, while on drugs, feeling sorry for myself- trying to solve the problems of not just the world but my life. I’ve fought with God and the devil. I told you this bronchitis is some serious -ish!

I kind myself completely aggravated with people on Twitter and Facebook…borderline judging people –ok full out judging people–for the life they choose to reflect. I really haven’t been able to put my finger on it. I haven’t been able to figure out why people just Annoyed me…

Then, in an effort to use my brain I streamed a few TED talks (if you never have you MUST). A journalist who became a hemiplegic during an accident, went on a pursuit to find the man who instantly forever changed his life. He wanted some sense of remorse, instead he found something worse. He found another man’s life that was not worth living.

As I scroll through feeds, and have discussion and sometimes even arguments I find that what irks me most –most than anything — is the person who lives an unexamined life.

I’ve been examine by a doctor to discover my bronchitis. I was weighed (don’t even ask) and prodded– the cute little Serbian nurse shoved a toilet bowl cleaner up my nose to check for flu. The doctor talked through possibilities and treatments and options. He gave me some drugs & said hey if that doesn’t work, come back so we can figure something else out.

We aren’t really willing to do that, to shove toilet bowl cleaners into our spiritual lives or emotions or past choices. We aren’t Ig to let someone else in with their perspective, in fear they may judge us… Because judging is only God’s job. We don’t really want to change. When someone comes at us with conflicting view points, or makes us feel uncomfortable with their statements or challenges what we have known to be true for 20 years we defend and yell loudly:

YOU CAN’T JUDGE ME!
YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING!
THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE!
NO
NO
NO

(As a counselor I hear this so often, it’s almost epidemic.)

I am learning that I want to be uncomfortable. I want people to challenge my thinking. I want to take all that is offered and seek out the Scriptures so I am always sifting my beliefs through truth.

Admittedly, I have unfollowed several people this week–not out of judgement –but because I want to be surrounded by people who are truly willing to live an examined life–even on Twitter and Facebook.

I’m not perfect, I have my blind spots and much, much, much room for change and growth and improvement… But I’m willing. Because I want life worth living. I don’t want to ignore things and they turn into Bronchitis– have I mentioned it’s some serious stuff?!

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates

No Mercy, Kids! No. Mercy.

Zac’s been home sick a few days. I was so over hearing “I’m bored!” “There’s nothing to do!” “I don’t want to be sick anymore!”

I decided to be a great mom, like a super great mom. We turned on some National Geographic Show about polar bears brutally eating innocent little baby seal, ate pizza and played cards. When playing games with my kids, my rule is: No Mercy. (Well okay, maybe a little.) But the one thing I will NOT do is let my kids win.

Sounds mean, doesn’t it?

We were playing Skip Bo and Zac only had one card left in his pile, I had four. He was so arrogant, just knowing he was going to win. But then mom AND

Boom

 

But the thing is, Zac doesn’t lose well:

skip bo

 

He was so mad, he threw the cards everywhere and stomped his way upstairs.  I sat and patiently waited for him to come back down and pick them all up. It took a good 20 minutes or so before he worked through his tragic loss and picked up the cards.   I thanked him and we moved on.

I just don’t “get” the everyone deserves a trophy, where we don’t take score, and all kids are winners. Life doesn’t work that way. Life is way harsh and mean. Losing well is a necessity in life. We spend way more time on this earth losing, than winning. If our kids can lose well, even at a game, then they will be more prepared to deal with the real losses, the ones that actually matter.

What do you think? Do you let your kid win at games? Comment below.

Let’s Chat!!

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How Clooney at the Globes Challenge Us to Greatness

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Sunday I sat on the couch watching over privileged, pretentious actors tell each other how amazing they are over food and drinks that cost so much it most likely could have fed the entire population of hungry and homeless of the entire GLOBE.  Hence the name: Golden Globes.  I was not impressed by their hidden LGBT agenda, or their super shiny foreheads, but I did enjoy some of speeches. One in particular struck me.

George Clooney received a lifetime achievement award. His eyes teared, yours perhaps could, too. Or maybe not.

 

 

It dawned on me that there is something to be said about the appreciation of marriage as we grow older. I’m not certain Clooney would have even publicly expressed his love in such a way to a wife at 30, or even 40 years old. At 53, Clooney  appreciates his role as husband. It seems he embraces the feeling and choice to love.

Michael and I are working on our twelfth year of marriage. Only in the last two years have I truly grown to respect the covenant of marriage. Besides this roller coaster we ride called hell LIFE that has taken him and I up and down and then back up and then back down, it has been my age, my mistakes and God-given wisdom that gives me my new outlook.

Marriage is hard, people. So very hard. Hard enough that half of the people who decide to do it, bail out. And then there are the group of people who don’t even dare try.

LOTO

Tom Hanks as Coach Jimmy Dugan said it best in the movie A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN:

There’s no crying in baseball!

Yah, that was a very. important. statement, by the way.( There is absolutely NO crying in baseball.)

But when Geena Davis’ character Dottie is leaving the team, she explains to her coach:

“It just got too hard.”

And Coach replied:

” It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

We all want great marriages. We want to be the Proverbs 31 wife, and our husbands to flawlessly transition from provider to husband to father. We wish we had Clooney’s money because we are tired of being behind on bills, and let’s not even talk about how our kids have outgrown every piece of clothing we bought a few months ago, all $400 of them. We want our co-workers, and fellow MOPS moms to sit around and clap and give us awards so we can tell millions of people how grateful we are for our love and our chemistry that happened after waiting a lifetime for the right person and Praise God, we made the right choice and there is no looking back.

LBR (Let’s Be Real)

It just doesn’t work like that. Because…

Marriage is hard.

But when we do have those moments, those brief exhales when we can look around at our unbathed kids as they giggle at their dad’s crude jokes, and there isn’t one thing on the living room floor, and it is the day you washed your hair, we have our own version of greatness. Embracing those simple, fleeting moments is what gets us through the hard, and is what will make us great. Embracing great moments needs to be enough to fuel us through the hard.

Because your husband may never do a load of laundry for you…

Or know exactly what that squint of your eyes actually means…

or be able to talk to you for two hours starting the second he walks in the door from work.

Your wife might not always have every single dish put away…

or know why she’s crying…..

or understand the burden you carry every day.

But each of you have the possibility of greatness, within your marriage. Embrace it, and love it–like you’re a 53 year old Clooney.

LG | LP

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Ferguson, Garner and Cop Killings through the Eyes of a Bi-Racial Family

racism

 

I sat on the couch breathless as the Grand Jury results were released on CNN. There would be no indictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the tragic death of Michael Brown.  Brown’s death was tragic because it was unnecessary, no matter where we place fault. And the tragedy continued as small business-owner’s had their life and livelihood burned down, stores were ravaged and an entire community was completely ruined.

I watched until I couldn’t watch anymore.

We talked about it, for days. We muddled through the events, the quick shift in the tide of the Nation and how our world needs, well let’s be real, it needs Jesus. But we didn’t just talk about it from a middle-class, churched, Suburban America perspective. We talked about it from the perspective of black, Hispanic, white, mixed and law enforcement—because our family is all of those things.

I am white.

My husband is black—his background is in law enforcement, he is currently a forensic investigator with a Masters in Criminal Justice.

My two (step)daughters are black.

My son and daughter are half Hispanic, half white.

My youngest son is half black and half white.

We are a blended, bi-racial family.

We have learned that the world is very jaded and racism is alive and breeding right here, down your street, in your family, at your church. It is based on ignorance, and lack of respect for the whole of humanity.

We have heard comments like:

“What is it like to have a black step dad?”

“Wow, your kids look really Mexican.”

“Your mom is white? That’s not your mom!”

“How is that your last name, you don’t even look Hispanic at all?”

When my husband and I started dating, I was on the receiving end of racism for the first time in my life. I married a black man, and the black community has not always welcomed me.

Recently my son texted me this photo found on the wall in his high school, where the demographic is predominately Hispanic:

 

taft racism

 

When we walk into a restaurant, we get glances and blatant stares. People don’t know what to make of us.  My kids have fun with it. I was at Walmart with all five of them, and they convinced everyone I was their adoptive mom, who rescued them from the foster system. I walked out of that store a saint that day.

 

But I am their mom, 3 of the 5 came out of my womb. My husband is their dad—biologically 3 of the 5. We don’t see our race, our color, or origin. We are family. I don’t think about my husband being black, and don’t look at my kids as Mexican or Hispanic. They are just my kids. We don’t have to “work hard” at not seeing the color of our eyes or skin or hair as a definition of who we are.

So when these things happen—these racially charged issues, these murders, these injustices—we are forced to reconcile who we are individually and as a whole—and re-examine our worldview.

My husband’s perspective is unique. He has been a patrol officer, in dangerous situations with all races. He is military combat trained, he is highly educated, and considering law for his future. But he is also black, and has been on the receiving end of profiling of police officers, where respect and courtesy only come to him AFTER the police officer finds out he too is in law enforcement. Being a former officer, and a current investigator he also has great respect for law, and the reality of consequences for our actions.

I grew up in a predominately white family, although my step-dad is Hispanic and my younger brother is white and Hispanic. I lived a somewhat sheltered life, and my grandparents, who were influential in raising me, grew up in segregated Texas. They were loving and accepting of all people, yet traces of their childhood remained.

My son and daughter are also mixed with Hispanic and white.  They are influenced by both races, and are exposed to their Hispanic culture, yet don’t see themselves as anything but simply, people.

My (step)daughters grew up in a predominately black community. They went to an all black private school, and attended an all black church. As they have grown up, they have embraced the diversity of our world, and love people just because they are people.

Then there is the youngest: Half black, half white, with 2 black sisters, and a Hispanic brother and sister. He gets lots of questions, and I’m grateful that he has yet to experience any overt racism.

But as we sit and watch CNN and read the tweets—and we hear of police officers being murdered, it all hits us, because we are all of those things. We aren’t just the white cop who was the shooter, or the black teenager who was shot—we are both. We aren’t just the people angry at the injustice of the world or just the police officer who got killed leaving his family behind, we are both.

We can’t pick a side, because there is no side to pick.

I remember dreading time on the playground during recess when teams got picked to play soccer. That was the worst feeling, not knowing if you were even going to get picked at all. But it didn’t really matter as long as you got to play.

Somehow, our society believes that we have to pick a team, but by picking a team, we are leaving out the most important thing—the privilege of humanity. We watch the racial divide growing, and are stunned at the growing fire of racism because we know it’s possible…It is possible to look beyond stereotypes.

It is possible to look at a person’s actions apart from their skin color.

It is possible to embrace humanity.

It is possible to take responsibility for who you are, without blame.

It is possible to co-exist.

It is possibly to live in harmony.

It is possible to simply love.

I don’t have any other solution but this:

We must learn to love, in an unconditional way, with deep humility and passionate servanthood. We must teach our kids, and every other kid we are in contact with, ever in our entire life, that people are human—not black or white or Hispanic or Asian or … We must push our kids out of their comfort zones—we must push them into situations where they are forced to see the world through a multi-colored lens. (I know too many kids who live in middle-class bubbles whose parents won’t make the effort to expand their perspective on the world. Not just from a race perspective, but from a socio-economic one as well). We must take responsibility for our own thoughts, ideas, and the conclusions we jump to because it’s the way we have always thought.

We must challenge ourselves to walk through Samaria, and talk to those we wouldn’t normally talk to, regardless of how they dress, or what type of education they have or what they have done in their past. We can’t change this generation, but we can change the next!

But we can’t do that alone.

Until we admit that we need help, until we humble ourselves, and admit that we need the power of Jesus to flow into us and then out of us, we will remain the same—living in the impossible.

It is only in Christ that all things are possible.

I’m grateful for my possible– for my bi-racial, blended family. I believe, even in our imperfections and failures, we are a picture of the power of the love of Christ!

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