Showing posts from March, 2017

Praise, Floor Tiles, and Balaam's Donkey

Why is it that when I'm in some real tough situations, all I seem to be able to do is to praise my God? I mean, I'm not as spiritual as that sounds. I'd rather watch TV most evenings than pray. I'd much rather talk to my best friend than listen to a deep theological lecture. Furthermore, I'm just as selfish as they come, and I like getting my own way. Finally, I'm bored right now. I'm trying to be productive, but it's much easier to be creative and to blog than to be hard working. 

Okay, let's get back on track, here.
I'm not devoted to home repair. Not in general, anyway. But one evening, I found myself laying vinyl tile in my bathroom. I was tired and overheated, and the last thing I wanted to be doing was laying tile. But I finished the job, and I was still pumped about it days later. 
What does one have to do with the other? Why is laying tile like praise and worship? Believe me, it was a hard project. First, I peeled and scraped up all …

Why Cultural Differences Are a Good Thing

The best part of life consists in the experience of learning to navigate a new environment. When I've walked among people that I don't understand, I have found my inner self stretching and being renewed. Every new horizon opened to me also opened me up to a new understanding of life. 
When I was a little girl, I spent the summers with my mom. She lived in a building for people with special needs. Several frail elderly people lived there, but the young ones were mostly developmentally disabled or in wheelchairs. I met people who were just folks, but if I hadn't spent so much time with them, I might have thought that their wheelchairs, speech impediments, tremors, or their wrinkly skin made them foreign or somehow other than human. I'm glad for this experience, and I'm often shocked when a disabled person avoids eye contact with me. I guess outside of their world, they're used to being ignored. That's sad to me.

My mom worked for a few hours every day, and s…

Misuse, Abuse, and Healing

When I was a very tiny child, the people who should have cared for me the most did a lot of harm. I loved my kids. I did my best. But I messed up a lot, too. I was angry and yelling when I should have been gentle and consistent. I wasn't a great mom all the time, but boy did I wish that I could be. So when I write this, I'm not judging harshly. I'm just telling the facts.

Love covers a multitude of sins. But there's so much under the surface. Sometimes in hiding an action, we're not actually covering a sin, but continuing a legacy of evil acts. I tried to cover the sin. My family was full of people who loved me, family friends who wanted to do right, and they all sought to do their best. They had blinders that made them think that somehow this behavior wasn't wrong. And even when they knew that it was wrong, they couldn't seem to stop. I know that. I love them anyway.

Charming, outgoing, friendly people used my body for their sexual gratification. They also…

Bikinis and Jean Shorts

As a 13 year-old, I firmly believed that bikinis were only for supermodels, but on the day my aunt brought home a red and white polka-dotted string bikini, I became a bikini wearer. At first, of course, I decided that she must be unaware of my cellulite. I put it on to show her what I meant, and all she seemed to see was perfection. Well, getting me to wear the bikini to the pool was a struggle, because I didn't think that the one inch of cellulite that showed at the bottom of the panty was acceptable. My 4'11" skinny little aunt was undaunted. She said, "You have long legs and curves. Do you know what some women would give for a body like that?" She made me feel so silly about my self-conscious attitude that I wore the bikini and went swimming every afternoon for hours. 
Years later, I was an overweight young mom, and once again, I felt impossibly hideous. Now, my cellulite had spread, my curves were even curvier, and I had stretch marks. For years, I swam wit…

Failing Big

I had a neighbor who suffered a stroke. She was a sweet elderly lady who always waved at us and we at her. She worked cleaning houses, and she went to church faithfully every Sunday. She had a son who was mentally ill, and she walked with dignity and a poise that seemed to bely her years. She was an extraordinary lady, and I wished to be that awesome when I reached her age.

When she had a stroke, I felt certain that God was nudging me into preparing meals and taking them to her. However, I let my self-doubt get in the way. I asked myself why she'd want to eat my cooking. I decided that since the neighbor from the other house opposite hers was taking her food, she'd be fine. I told myself it was none of my business. I told myself that I had three kids and a husband and I could barely handle what I was dealing with in my own life. Yet, every day as I watched the man take a plate of food into the house, something within me screamed that I should have been the one doing it.

The la…