I wrote this post almost two years ago...and never hit "Publish".
Oh, and for the record...we still haven't found a new home church.
Nor have we tried very hard.
I've got a lot of work to do...internal work, heart work, soul work. I've allowed myself to get to a place that I don't like very much. I was telling myself that I didn't mind being where I was at. But that's not true. That was an excuse. I don't like where I'm at...or how I'm thinking...or how I'm feeling. Or how I'm acting for that matter.
We haven't been to church in about 2 months. That's a long time for a family who rarely missed a Sunday for over 10 years. We are a church-going family. We go to church...we pray before meals...we tithe...we serve and do bible studies and play instruments on worship teams.
But for the last 2 months...nothing.
It's not for lack of wanting to...but circumstances. Things happened. People happened. Humanity happened. And suddenly...we found ourselves without a home church. It was a weird feeling.
We visited a church we thought we'd like to attend...but on both visits not one person said one word to us. Not a hello...not a get out of here...nothing. Weird.
We took that as a cue from God that it's not where He wanted us. And that was fine.
Instead of continuing to look for a new church home, we decided to take some time to get our house in order...specifically the backyard. And it's been good to have the time to do this. For the past 10 years every weekend has been full of church or baseball or wrestling or something other than taking care of things around here. Now our weekends are full of making our backyard habitable. It's been really good.
But eventually we need to get back into church.
The thing about church is that people are at church. And people are...people. Imperfect people. Messed up people...as Joyce Meyer literally just said on TV, "Hurting people hurt people." True dat. It's not an excuse...just a truth.
And I will say...I got hurt. Pretty bad. That's the thing I've been trapped by for the past...oh, year or so. Hurt. I like to fancy myself more Godly...above being hurt...above being trapped by self-pity...ha. Like everyone else...I'm part of that whole "people" thing. I am imperfect. And I'm sure I hurt people, too...not on purpose. Not anymore, anyway.
There comes a time when we know better. And when we know better...we are expected to do better.
To whom much is given...much is required.
Can I just say...through all those years of hurt and confusion I learned a very valuable lesson. One morning I was praying...and I asked God why I was being treated in such a way by this person that I trusted.
"Why are you allowing this, Lord?"
And just like God always does...He answered quietly and simply and directly...
"Now you know how NOT to treat people."
Simple. And so HUGE. God allowed it so that I would learn from it. And so that I would never treat people the way that I was treated. And I pray...earnestly...that I NEVER inflict that hurt and that confusion and that pain on anyone else. If I fail...I pray for forgiveness. I ask the person I've hurt for their forgiveness...and I mean it. No sense in giving fake apologies...or empty forgiveness. Don't bother. Do it for them...not just to make yourself feel better.
No. I mean it. I don't want to hurt others. I want to encourage others. I want to build others up. I want to be a part of their success...not their stumbling. That is my desire...Lord I pray I do what my heart desires to do. I pray I am goodness and light to others...not a stumbling block...or a cork...or a hindrance. And if I am...SHOW ME so that I can STOP.
Yes...I've got some work to do. I need to get out of this rut. I need to get my focus back...keep my eye on the prize...and that prize is living my life for God. The prize is powering through my days here on Earth...being light in the darkness...so that one day, when I'm in heaven, I will see what it was all about...what it was all for...Jesus.
Jesus is the prize. He is the way...and the truth...and the life. Keep my eye on the prize...on Jesus...and my paths will be straight, my feet will not stumble, I will not grow weary, I will not faint...I will not be burned, I will not drown...keep my eye on The Prize.
Jesus. He is the prize.
And if I can just keep my eye on HIM, nothing else will matter. No hurt. No anger. Nothing.
If I keep my eyes on Jesus...my Prize above all prizes...all other things will fall into place.
Last week was good...full, steady. Friday evening around dinner time Seth took a nap and Ian went to a friend's...so Chris and I decided to go on a dinner date! We grabbed one of our gift cards from Christmas and headed out to a steak dinner. It was delicious...he had ribs, I had steak and shrimp...we were very satisfied and very full. On the way home we stopped at Red Box and grabbed a few DVD's and called it a night.
Saturday was good...Ian and Chris got a ton of stuff done around the house...cleaning and tidying and organizing the side yard and garage. Seth was at a calculus thing in the morning and with friends in the afternoon so he missed out on the fun.
As for me? I puttered around the house...did laundry, tidied our room, simmered some "health-full broth" on the stove, watched Food Network and my most favorite of all...made sun tea. I made a store run...stopped by the library...grabbed some cherry limeades and watermelon slushes during Sonic's Happy Hour...and headed back home to make some calzones for dinner. They were a hit...although next time we all agreed they could be a bit cheesier. There was ice cream for dessert and survival shows on TV. By the time we all fell into our beds I think we were all asleep before our heads hit our pillows.
Chris and I woke early on Sunday morning...got the coffee started and had a nice quiet beginning to the day. Sunday was deemed "Seth's turn" to help around the house...he and Chris mowed and edged lawns, trimmed shrubs and trees, cleared out an overgrown area that looks so much nicer now. Ian was only assigned to tidy his room and get his homework done (since he'd busted his behind the day before)...then he headed to a friend's house.
As for me? I washed bedding and let it dry in the sunshine. And I researched homemade facial cleansers then headed to the nutrition shop here in town for some supplies....glycerine, lavender Castille soap, dried calendula, comfrey, mullein and rose hips. I am finally beginning to understand my way around the nutrition shop...that's kinda cool. For the longest time it was all very foreign to me...I'd wander around aimlessly then leave empty handed. I was going to get some essential oils but I thought they were overpriced. But then I came home and looked around online and found that their prices were actually fair. Maybe I'll stop by tomorrow and get one...or two.
The weekend hummed along at a nice pace...slow and easy and consistent. Then as it always does, it drew to a close all too soon.
Yesterday...I hit the snooze button one time too many. I don't even think I meant to...I was just that tired. It didn't set me back, though...I always leave myself plenty of time to wake up slow, sip coffee, check email. I need that time...no rushing. On the way out the door I snapped the photo of the sunrise. Wish you could have seen it in person...it was incredible.
Yesterday...I made this cream of broccoli soup for lunch. Even though she's not my favorite, you can rarely go wrong with a Martha recipe. It was tasty...although it would have been better had I not burned the onion a little...oops. (Speaking of soup...have you ever had Ina Garten's Winter Squash Soup? Oh my...is it ever good. And easy. Not to mention, it freezes well. Good to freeze in lunch size containers and grab and go!)
Yesterday...I read a blog post that struck me to the core. Do you ever come across a blog...a person...who is able to put your deepest thoughts into words? I have and it blows my mind how her words could have been whispered by my own lips...amazing, really.
Yesterday...I worked and went to the grocery store and did laundry and fed chickens and cats and a dog. Then decided that the humans in the house could fend for themselves...there were plenty of good leftovers in the fridge to choose from.
As for today...I decided to leave the week behind and just enjoy the weekend and whatever it decides to bring our way.
I made a library run last night...sandals with sweats...it's the new look. I renewed a book that I had renewed too many times online...the clerk did it without saying one single word to me. She was taking quiet very seriously. Or maybe she was a bit rude?
I grabbed a stack of magazines...checked the Just In shelf...skimmed the videos...then headed to self-checkout.
I decided to take the long way home...a drive down one of my favorite country roads here in town. The sun had already set...the air was cool...life was good. Not sure what it is about being in the car...but I love it. I love driving...being driven...just going somewhere. (Odd for a self-proclaimed homebody.)
I drove and drove...admired the green hills and felt sad that all too soon they'd be gone...brown and yellow from the heat that will be here soon enough.
It was time to head home...but a good song came on so I drove just a little longer.
This is what Bear does on gray and overcast days...I wish I was a cat.
It's overcast today...they say it's going to rain. I don't think it's going to be much but I will take what I can get. I really wish it would just pour and pour for days on end. Wouldn't that be perfect?!
Would you believe I've got a pumpkin pie in the oven? I know...weird. But it was on sale so I figured "what the heck?" The guys will be happy...we sure do like ourselves some pumpkin pie around here.
The Giving Tree is one of my all-time favorite books.
I read it to the boys often when they were little and couldn't hardly get through it without getting choked up.
I miss those days...nice warm bubble baths full of floaty toys, sweet little pj's covered in dinosaurs or cars and trucks, little boy hair cuts perfectly combed over to the side...then into the trundle bed they would go...ready for a bedtime story.
Isn't it funny to think that life felt busy and hard at times back then?
We were out of town yesterday. Ian had a wrestling tournament so we all headed down to watch. Thought we might spend a night but decided to make the three (plus) hour drive back home late last night.
Then on the way home it was just Chris and Seth and I (Ian stayed with coach and teammates to wrestle again today)...I found a Round Table pizza on my phone map, clicked the link and called and placed an order. Then got lost trying to find the place. We finally found it and ate pizza while driving down the road. I don't know that we've ever eaten pizza on the road? We all agreed it was kinda fun!
And then because it was late and we all only got about 4 hours of sleep the night before we stopped for a coffee...you know, to keep the eyes open. It worked.
We got home close to 11. And I went to bed almost immediately...and slept in until nine 10 am. I think I may be the only one who is not happy about springing forward. (Anyone with me on this one?) I don't like it. I feel off...literally until we "fall back".
On a positive note...I have tomorrow off. It's a furlough day...and mandatory. So I will do lots of laundry, plan the week's meals, do a Flylady once over and do my bible study.
As for today? I think I will take "a day of rest".
...I cleaned the kitchen, finally, counters, stuff on counters, stuff on walls. I have a lot of stuff.
...I bought some black radishes from a mini farmer's market. It was recommended to me to "pickle" them. I'm gonna try it...and if it works I'll share the recipe.
...the washer leaked water all over the carpet remnant in the garage. I think it's toast. The carpet. Not the washer. Thank goodness. Turns out it was only a leaky hose and my husband is very handy. He fixed it. Thank you, honey.
...we "demanded" Argo. It was good. But not great. I never agree with the Oscars.
...we watched many episodes of Portlandia. And I laughed so hard I cried...on several occasions. Where has this show been all my life? (And a word of warning...some of the skits are completely inappropriate...FYI.)
...had my mom and dad over for dinner to celebrate dad's birthday. It was a nice time...we ate tacos, searched restaurants near the Curran Theater for when mom and I go see Jersey Boysin a few weeks, and talked about everything from new flooring to wrestling to politics. And then we had some chocolate cake. It was fun...can't wait to do it again. I love my parents.
Oh my do I have a lot on the "to-do" list today. I've already got some of it started, bed stripped, laundry tumbling, dishes soaking, homemade "carpet fresh" sprinkled, lists made...so far, so good.
But before I really get going I decided I needed to drink some water. So why not pop in and say hi while I'm at it?
Over the past week or two I've come across some things I wanted to share with you...like this song. So good. Have you heard of Bon Iver? New faves for me. Love them.
Oh...another new favorite? The band Alabama Shakes. LOVE them. This is my favorite song of theirs...so far. (Did I already share it here? I think I did. Ah well...it's worth an encore.) Come on baby girl, you got to get back up! Love that line.
As I do my chores today I will be employing some of the things I learned from the Flylady. Now beware. I am giving you this link because I believe that Flylady has a lot of helpful hints and insights where keeping a home in concerned. But I have to warn you that if you sign up the emails can be a bit, uh, shall we say overwhelming? There are TONS of emails. I signed up years ago and finally had to unsubscribe because it was just too much.
But recently I found myself needing her guidance again so I returned to her web site for a refresher. And lo and behold, she's now on Facebook. So I Liked her and now I receive her reminders in my feed. This way I can choose to read them...or not. And I don't have to worry about deleting tons of unwanted mail. Win win!
Hey, do you ever visit Cold Antler Farmblog? I do. I really enjoy reading about her life. She is one brave gal. She made a short video documenting her first year of living her dream...it's so inspiring. She's living her life to the fullest, that's for sure.
Oh...and talk about inspiring? I think I've shared this before, too, but it is definitely worth a another look. My Friend Maia...I wish she was my friend, too. I want to hug her.
I've been in deep thought a lot lately. I know you couldn't tell by what I'm sharing here lately. I guess some of it is still just too deep...maybe I'm still sorting things out in my mind. Or maybe writing it out here will help me sort through...as is often the case I've found.
Anyway...the sink is full of hot, sudsy water and all the stuff on my counters is soaking...getting ready for a good scrub. I can't wait to dip my hands in that hot water...a simple pleasure, isn't it? A good reminder to be grateful for hot water...for running water...for water at all.
It's a beautiful day here...I'm going to enjoy it. I pray you enjoy yours, too...xo
It's Friday. And I made it through the week. Not that I shouldn't have made it through. But some weeks are, uh, longer than others, ya know?
Would you believe there aren't any plans for the weekend? Tomorrow is a special day, though...it's my dad's birthday! Happy Birthday Dad! (Even though you don't read my blog...tell him I said HB, would ya mom?)
I admit, I like not having plans for the weekend. I'm such a homebody.
So...do you ever run errands with a friend? Every now and then I will run to Trader Joe's with a friend...or Costco. It's way more fun than going by yourself.
Today my friend and I went to TJ's. Have you ever had their frozen green beans? Oh my goodness...another friend turned me on to them a few months back and we've been eating them regularly ever since. They are so good. I mean, ya know, for frozen vegetables. A little butter and salt and pepper and they are the perfect quick and healthy side dish.
Then another friend told me about TJ's coffee a while back, Trader Joe's Dark. You grind the beans yourself, either there or at home. I do it there...it just seems easier to me. It's tasty. And only $5 for a medium canister. We are not coffee snobs...I typically buy what's on sale, or a Costco brand, or when I'm at TJ's, TJ's Dark. I keep my options open.
Hmmm...what else did I buy? Lots of salad, cucumbers, zucchini, ground beef, apples...we'll have pasta sometime this weekend and probably a stir fry. Oh, yeah, I bought brown rice and whole wheat pasta, too. I don't know what it is but I am having a hard time making permanent healthy changes in our diet. I go in spurts. Then I return to old habits. I wish I could figure out healthier ways of cooking and just have them come naturally. I guess it takes time...
Oh! And don't forget...I'm going to be having a giveaway soon to celebrate 1000 posts. Probably sometime next week at the rate I'm going. But don't worry...I really think you'll find it was worth the wait.
11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. -1 Thessalonians 4:11-12