Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Barfing Preaches

Hello again!

Christmas in general is craziness around here (just like everywhere else.) Add into that sickness among all of us and..BLEH.  

I didn't drink coffee for four days.  That's how bad.  

But as I sit here, I'm sporting my 20 oz coffee mug and life is good again.  

Being sick does something really important.  It gives me a big-fat-dose of perspective.  It's like God's reminder to me of how weak I really am.  And how little I really do on my own.  Take my health away and I have little to offer as far as accomplishments.  Nothing actually.  

And this bout of sickness taught me something new.  Barfing preaches.  I got sick very late on Christmas night.  I'll spare you the details, sorta, but it was not nice.  I felt gross all night, and then in the morning the barfing finally came.

*and this is a side-note, but DUDE how does that stuff stay in your stomach for so long?!  I hadn't eaten for a good 15 hours and when the barfing started I thought, "Oh good, I haven't eaten much so I don't have very much to throw up" but NO. I was wrong* 

I feel like we need to talk about barfing for a sec.  There's different kinds of barfing.  The kind where you barf fairly soon after you eat and it's super gross because it's mushed up food and you never wanna eat that food again for as long as you live.  But then two days go by and you find yourself eating pizza again.  And then there is the acid-barfing.  Where you haven't eaten for a long time but your stomach is full of acid and bile and other grossness and when you barf that.  Ouch.  It burns like none other and leaves your throat super sore.

So, I had the acid-barfing.  *shudder*  Aren't you glad you stopped by today?  A few hours afterwards, I was super thirsty, but dreaded the thought of drinking anything.  I grabbed a bottled water out of the fridge, twisted the cap off and took a tiny sip.

It was the worst tasting water ever.  

Of course it wasn't really the water that was the problem.  It was perfectly fine and the same water that I always drink and have no problem with.  If my family were to grab a bottle, and give it a swig, they would think it was great.

The water tasted bad because of my circumstances.  My experience.  It tasted bad because of a very real event:  Acid barfing.  

And then it hit me.  A very real truth that sometimes the Gospel, Jesus...tastes very bad to people.  Believers and unbelievers alike.  Sometimes life circumstances or beliefs or whatever distort what really is.  

The water I was tasting was the same water as usual, its taste hadn't changed literally, but my taste for it had.  Someone could have argued with me about the taste of the water, but would that have changed how it tasted to me?  

Absolutely not.

Sometimes, we have to figure out what's distorting our taste.  Sometimes, we need to love people and give them some time to heal from the acid-barfing of their life so they can taste again.


Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8


Because barfing preaches.



Friday, December 20, 2013

Easton






I am not really very good at "organized thoughts."  Especially when it applies to putting together meaningful words about people I love.  And because my words feel lacking, I just post-pone it.  

I am, after all, a fantastic procrastinator.






For the past eleven months I have failed to introduce this blog to one of my favoritest little guys on the planet.  Easton.  He was only a few months old when I asked his Mama if I could blog about him. She said, "Absolutley!" and then I did...nothing.  Because I couldn't find the words.  That ends now.

Last January ended up being a whacked-out month...the kind of January that makes you sort of freaked out about what the rest of the year might hold.  There were funerals.  There were marriages in crisis.  And there was Easton.








All the details are a little fuzzy now.  The combination of time, and the emotional craziness of all the circumstances seem to blend everything together in my head.  So the exact order of stuff may be off.  

I've done child-care for Easton's big brother, Ryder, for quite some time, and when I found out his Mama was going to have another baby boy I was thrilled.

Baby boys are so very nice.  And I always am up for a baby-fix.

The weather in Iowa last January involved lots of blizzard warnings.  Little Easton entered the world during some of it.  The weather made it impossible for me to get there right away to meet Easton, and then he was put in NICU for some breathing issues.  His Mama had been keeping me posted on how he was doing, and mentioned that they were going to be doing some tests...  

I'll never forget the phone call I got from his Mama.  I was in the middle of packing up the house of one of the crisis' of that month...and decided to take her call while sitting in my van.  The tests had concluded that little Easton had Down Syndrome.   She was doing her best to be brave and strong...but it's shocking news to take in. 

I remember her saying how much she loved him...and I tried to reassure her that he was perfect.  And God designed Him...perfectly.  And the only other thing I could think of was Kelle Hampton's blog.  It felt absurd as I heard it coming out of my mouth...to tell her to go read a blog.  But when the weather causes you to walk through some devastating news all alone in a hospital, I guess you'll take the blog idea. 

Kelle walked through very similar circumstances, finding out after birth that her baby had Down Syndrome.  And sometimes, you just need words from someone who really knows the pain.  And to see them survive and thrive through it.  

Last week I finished reading Kelle's book Bloom.  Easton's Mama bought it, read it, and then donated it to Tiny Town's library...where I meant to check it out for months.  Months!  *shake my head*  I read it in two days, bawling my way through it.  The first time I had read Kelle's story, was before Easton.  My perspective is so much different now, after having this little guy around.  

I am smitten.  He is changing all of us that are blessed to be around him.  That extra chromosome makes him extra awesome.  He lights up a room.  His life is a blessing.  I'm amazed at all the ways God has already drawn people to Himself through this little guy.   I see Easton, and can't help but think, God is good.  I am so thankful his Mama shares him with me.

Today, he had a cardiac catheterization, which determined he will need surgery.  So, if you're some of my praying friends, I know his family would appreciate those prayers.  

And there will most definitely be more of that sweet little guy on this blog.  He's the only one that likes to do selfies with me. 








Thursday, December 19, 2013

In Your Face

I started blogging in February of 2008.  I had barely figured out facebook at that time.  

Boy time changes things, eh?  Pinterest was the beginning of the decline of my blogging and then Instagram came along...and the rest is "once-a-month-blog-posting" history.  Pretty pictures are way too distracting for my distractable brain.  

Social media changed the way of blogging too.  Back in the day, you could read blogs, comment and form relationship and then your readership grew.  Feed readers have become sort of outdated, and now much of the way blogs are "seen" is through social media.  

And I've been resisting that movement.  Why?  Because I'm 80 years old and I liked the old way of doing it.  How dare those young people go and innovate.  

But now, I've conceded.  I'm the old-lady learning a new game...which means I'll be asking annoying questions about "the computer thingy" an awful lot.  Bear with me. 

I'm 36 and not 80.  I slightly exaggerate sometimes.  You'll have to deal.

And, I miss writing.  *see yesterday's post*

It takes courage to try new things.  *little kitty roar*

SO.  If we are only internet friends and not real-life Facebook friends (although you're still very important to me) then you can now go join my Life in the Parsonage Facebook page where I can be in your face all the time.  And in case you're 80, like me, you go to the page and hit 'like' to "like" me.   I mean, who wouldn't want to sign up for that?  

Suckers.

I was trying to set up the camera for our "automatic timer Christmas Card Pictures"  I repeated this process about 30 times before it was right for all six of us and the dog to fit in.  The dog photo bombed my awkward self portraits every time.  I feel like if I die, this is the picture that will be in the paper.  *This is just bonus info for you*
It's gonna be fun.  I hope.  Maybe.  We'll see....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Courage

I turned 36 on Monday.  I'm only a few days in to the thirty-six gig, but I gotta say: Lovin' it.

Thirty five was a good year.  It was a time of resetting-back-into-position. And although that's ultimately a good thing, the process of it is sometimes painful...and messy.  

Life has a way of getting out of order.  Suddenly non-important issues work their way up the priority scale.  And people and relationships of value slide down...because there's only room for so many at the top.  

It's amusing for me to look back.  I knew God was leading in the shake-up, but I obeyed so very timidly.  

People pleasing tendencies became exposed.  Unhealthy relationships became exposed.  I learned that dealing with both of  those, once you've allowed them to take root for awhile is...ugly.  I really don't have any other word for it.  Whenever we make changes in our lives, there is fall-out.  And usually it involves a mix of good and bad.  I wasn't quite prepared for the bad to be so bad.   

There were countless times I wanted to flee back into the false-comfort of my familiar old-way of operating.  So very many times.  And in that, God exposed my pride.  Again.  And even as I write this, part of me wants to flee back to the familiar.  To appease. To appease others to make them happier.  To shut them up.  Because it seems like a quick and easy fix.

And God is not into quick and easy.  Because quick and easy is dumb and useless.

So much of my year 35....my timid obedience of 35, was to prepare me for what He's calling me to in my 36th year of life.  And that is courage.

I  managed the obedience to the shake-up that was required, not without many mis-steps on my part, but now....this year, is about the courage to own them.

Courage to live loudly the gospel of Christ that brings hope, rather  than timidly hiding behind meaningless small-talk (which I abhor, by the way)

Courage to speak truth in love in the right moments, rather than nodding my head and smiling.  

Courage to have peace with the fact that in ministry and in life, people will be critical.  And harsh.  I need courage to love them rather than appease them.

Courage to write again.  To write hard instead of over-censoring so that no one reads into something wrongly.  If they do...they do.  Courage.

Courage to obey boldly, rather than timidly or begrudgingly. 

Courage to be me.  The me who God has created, who He wants me to be and not who anyone else thinks I am.  

There's so many other areas I need courage.  I can't begin to know what year 36 will hold...I know that God shows me just a tiny glimpse because it's all my feeble heart and mind can handle.  But I feel that courage He's planted, like a small spark growing.  I'm gonna screw it up sometimes. Without a doubt.  But courage to fail is another area that needs some growth...

Life really is a beautiful mess.