Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Magic Attic

We decorated our house today. Which means that we had to pull down the attic stairs, climb the steps and enter the magic portal that is "the attic". So much excitement for a thing that most consider a chore.

I climbed up first. Then one by one, the children had to come up. They had to, the attic is an irresistable force that cannot be denied. It calls them to view their world from a different perspective. The attic fan is so much bigger up top than it is from the hallway. The can light over the porch seems so much closer in the attic. The pictures in the hallway look so far below. And then there's the cool stuff.

My old Holly Hobby sleeping bag is visible in its space bag. There are boxes full of school work from earlier years. A box containing Wizard of Oz collectible plates, another box has a model train set. And their old baby bed is stored there. Maggie's collection of glass dolls is in a box up there. It's like a family museum.

I love to just sit on my perch at the edge of the hole and listen to them observing their world from up above. Until I get cold that is. Then it's time to come down, back into middle earth, above the scary blackness that is "the Crawlspace" but below the magic of "the Attic."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Short List of Things That I Love

1. Waking up after a really good night's sleep

2. Unexpected laughter

3. Music that moves emotion and soul

4. Kissing in the cold night air with the stars above

5. Seeing a shooting star

6. Being recognized for my true self and loved for it

7. Sharing in the joy of others

8. Chris's slow and heavy heartbeat

9. Putting a smile on some one's face

10. Being able to explain something difficult

11. Tight hugs from friends rarely seen

12. Family that is chosen, not just required

13. The sound of gravel underfoot

14. Cleverness and wit

15. Not being able to guess where the conversation in going

16. The unimaginable depth of Scripture

17. Slow dancing with my husband

18. A book that comes to life and cannot be walked away from

19. Connecting soul to soul with a friend

20. The transcendent glory of God that does not shut me out but invites me in

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Music and Fear

The soundtrack to Twilight is amazing. Muse, Paramore, The Black Ghosts, etc. are so good. I don't listen to the radio so I have no idea if the songs are being overplayed or not. But I'm really hoping that I get the soundtrack for Christmas... hint hint.

I added some of the songs to my playlist and I've listened to it all day. There's a couple of songs that, while watching the movie, I actually said out loud that I liked them. One of the songs sounds so much like Mo Leverett. Same kind of voice and style, Bren thought so too.

--Change of Subject---
I like to give people notice of my changing the subject. I can make some pretty huge leaps and confuse people. Sorry.

I wonder at fear. Not fear of heights or snakes, things like that. But fear of failure. Fear of failure is a curious thing. It is over something that is, most times, never attempted. Maybe no one even knows about it. And yet it feels defining. It feels binding, like our whole way of thinking about ourselves is affected. And most times, it's over something that, to someone else, seems insignificant or maybe obvious.

I can think of several instances where someone I know is afraid to attempt something that everyone around them is sure of. Where I can look at them and almost get angry because they don't believe in themselves. It's so stinkin' obvious that they have the talent or the ability or desire but they just won't jump. I want to get in their head and somehow make them see themselves from my perspective.

I wonder if there is something like this in my own life. I am amazed at the need in me for approval and perfection. I marvel at the way I second guess myself and make second things first. I want to be free from that. I want to be able to attempt things and be able to fail. I want to never find my worth and identity in what I do or even who I am. I want to be free.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spoiler Alert

Okay, Virge asked me to be more specific about the "plot issues." So here I go. If you're not interested in Twilight or are just tired of hearing about it, move on. Skip this post. And don't complain about it later, I've given you full disclosure.

One plot issue that I had was about Edward's constantly feeling guilty over Bella's life being in danger. I was more identifying with Bella's perspective, which was that she loved him and it wasn't him threatening her. But in the movie, more specifically, in the scene where they've just left Charlie's house and Bella is crying because she knows that she's just hurt him, the look of agony on Edward's face finally brought it home to me. He's right. It was his fault that she was even in a place where she would encounter other vampires. And you could see the anguish of seeing Bella hurting and scared and confused and knowing it was because of who and what he was. The scene was excellently played.

The other issue I had was that in the book he always seemed "outwardly" to be in control of himself. Even reading Midnight Sun didn't help me shake the feeling that he was always in control. But in the scene following where he'd rescued Bella from the drunk men, he said all the same words as in the book, only I could hear the emotion in them. Aahhh... I get it. So much of a character is in the body language.

The movie also helped me grasp the extent of Carlisle's compassion. And also the headship that he had assumed with his "family", the respect that he commanded from the others.

I think that's all. I've heard others say that the way Edward's skin sparkled was ruined by the fact that he had chest hair... I didn't even notice that. I also didn't notice the foggy atmosphere when he was playing the piano... I was just thinking how cool it was that Robert can play.

Jasper was funny to me. As were the scenes of Carlisle "turning" the others. Kinda hokey. And Edward sucking the venom from Bella's arm was a little embarrassing, he was really, really enjoying it. I did truly miss the scene in the lunchroom when Edward sits at the table by himself and crooks his finger and Bella and then winks. I like that scene.

Overall, I think they did a good job. I think for the next movie they might consider a different director and a tripling of the budget. I'd like to see it again. I think I'll like it more the next time.

So, I hope that answers your question, Virginia. And if you want to call me and talk about it, I'm sure Chris would appreciate it... he's tired of being the brunt of all my ruminations, I'm sure.


Well, I saw Twilight. And I liked it. I mean, I really liked it. It helped clarify some of the plot issues that I had with the book.

Edward was heavenly. He was even better than I hoped he'd be. Bella was just right. Jasper almost ruined it for me though. What is with his freakin' hair? And his inability to turn his head properly? Grrr.

There were some definite cheesy parts. The special effects were a little sub-par. But overall it was a very enjoyable experience. I'm going to go see it again with Amber next week. Wanna come?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

30 Things I've Learned The Hard Way

1. Always look before you sit on the toilet, especially if you live with boys.

2. Be very, very choosy what you argue about... you could be wrong.

3. Don't say something behind someone's back that you wouldn't stand behind if they found out.

4. God's plan is always better than my plan.

5. I am not comfortable skiing down a black diamond slope.

6. ACL repair is very painful.

7. Floss your teeth every day.

8. For every bad day, there is a good day. And vise versa.

9. Sometimes it's better to put the camera down and enjoy the moment.

10. Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is a reality in and of itself.

11. Football practice is fun.

12. Pregnancy is a means to an end.

13. Always, always say "I'm sorry" when you are wrong.

14. Avoid trite cliches when trying to comfort someone. They never help.

15. Beauty is neccesary.

16. Always follow up when you let your child use scissors.

17. Quiet is not always good.

18. Peanut butter cookies brown after they are taken out the oven.

19. Always look before you step.

20. Anything can become an idol. Anything.

21. Heed godly counsel.

22. Pay extra attention when you hear running water, especially if you have small children.

23. Plungers are your friend.

24. Never look directly at vomit.

25. When trying to get a baby to sleep, keep trying for 3 minutes after you're ready to give up.

26. Listen when someone is talking to you.

27. Always watch the progress of a flushing toilet.

28. Kiss your husband at least 5 times a day.

29. Never assume that you know the truth of a situation based solely on your perceptions.

30. Write down your grandparent's and parent's life story before it's too late.

New Link

I found out about a new blog... well not new new, but new to me. Laura Leigh, seriously, check it out. Emily M. has a blog that I knew nothing about. I like it very much. I added her link to my link list.

If you look at the list to the left, there's a link to a post about her favorite character crushes. I enjoyed that one. My favorite character is Mr. Darcy. *sigh* He reminds me so much of Chris. I hear your snorts of derision, but it's true.

Check it out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Art Aquisition

Isn't this just the loveliest painting? I bought it at the Christmas Bazaar last Saturday. I saw it and liked it but now every time I look at it, I love it more. Amber says it looks like a Jane Eyre moor. It makes me happy... Thank you, Michelle Quinn for painting it. I love it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Persistent Thought

We can be deeply committed to a cause, a dream, a reality and still not see it come to pass. We can work, sweat, cry and strive and not 'succeed'. And yet that is just what God calls us to do. We see the work that He calls us to, and we work. Sometimes openly and defiantly, like the American Revolution or Civil Rights. Sometimes quietly and steadily, like Hudson Taylor or Jim Elliot.

Most of the time we long for the spectacular. Just like the Jews wanted the Messiah to be, bursting onto the scene and demolishing the Romans, we want to fight for a cause. When what we are called to do is love, ruthlessly.

Love requires thought. Not passing thought but intentional pondering. Not flippant, shallow ideas of what love could be, but a willingness to involve oneself in another's life. To selflessly put another's spiritual growth at the forefront of our intentions.

When we live for God's glory, we are living our humanness to the very depths to which we were created. When we live for our own narrow existence we shrink God's glory to the size of our life.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Preferred Language

My primary way of communicating with others involves heavy doses of sarcasm. I like sarcasm. Sarcasm is my friend. We go way back.

I think my first dalliance with sarcasm was with my sister at the tender age of maybe 5. She inspired me, what can I say? I think my sarcasm was in the form of rhyme... something to do with "you're a big, fat movie star." I never said I was good at it at such a young age. It didn't even make sense. But that's not the point. The point is that I tried. I tried.

One must have a firm grasp of irony in order to be truly sarcastic. My father taught me the meaning of irony. He loved The Twilight Zone. (Don't get excited Missy and Ginger. Different Twilight.) His favorite episode is about a man who loves books more than people. The bookish man is then the sole survivor of a nuclear war. He finds his way to the Library of Congress, I think it is, and now has every book at his own personal disposal. But at the very end, he falls down the steps and breaks his ultra-thick glasses. My dad loves that! He says it's the most ironic thing he's ever seen. So I learned irony.

My mother was really quite good at sarcasm. It could have been her spiritual gift, I'm not sure. She could "say" things that if transcribed would look just fine, but the effect would be quite the opposite. Her sarcasm could be hurtful though... I never liked that. I've always strived (strove? striven?) to use my sarcasm for the greater good, namely humorously.

The downside to the frequent use of sarcasm is it sometimes confuses the non-sarcastic person. For instance:
Me - "How was your day?"
Other - "Well, I had a wreck and lost my job."
Me - "Lovely."
Other - gives me a look that screams "You're either stupid or cruel. Which is it I wonder?"
Me - seeing the look of confusion and rapidly making the transition to normal-speak, say "I was just joking, being sarcastic. Sorry."
Other - still with a completely bemused expression tries to explain his day more fully because he's concluded that I'm stupid.
Me - "I can never be your friend. You're marked off my list. Moving on...." Of course, I say this in my head.

You see how this works. Every sarcastic person can identify. It can be quite inhibiting. And annoying.

I'm teaching my kids the meaning of irony now. One way I do this is that our spanking spoon is a yellow Kool-Aid spoon with a smiley face cut-out. That is irony, my friends.

I'm teaching them the proper use of sarcasm. It should never be used to tear down, only to entertain. This rule is something I struggle to keep. If I'm mad, I have been known to tear someone down with my sarcasm. I know you're shocked. It is hard to take in.

Anyways, this post has absolutely no point to it. It's more of a rant really. But I feel better for it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Deep Thoughts

By Jack Handey

"When you go for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges."

"To me, truth is not some vague, foggy notion. Truth is real. And, at the same time, unreal. Fiction and fact and everything in between, plus some things I can't remember, all rolled into one big 'thing.' This is truth, to me."

"You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who makes people happy, but inside he's real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea."

He makes me laugh.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Affection. Love. These are incredibly powerful things. They seem to fill something in me that longs to be filled. I can thing of several relationships in my life to which these words apply.

My husband is one, obviously. Just sitting in bed right now, knowing that if I laid my head down on his chest I would hear his heart softly pounding, makes me feel whole in a way that cannot be explained. He is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. His very existence brings out a part of me that would not exist otherwise.

My children. To watch them grow and learn and be witty is... something for which I have no words. Really. They are people, not just my kids. I know that sounds simplistic but as a parent it is something that you realize anew. They start out as an extension of you. They depend on you completely. But then they get older. They feed themselves, even cook for themselves. They bathe themselves. They dress themselves, in their own chosen style. It's very cool to witness the birth of a personality. And yet... they are mine. They call me 'Momma'. Crazy but true.

I have other relationships that bring out love and affection. If you asked me who my favorite non-ChrisSharp person in the world was, at the top of that list would be my cousin Brad. I wish that I were as funny and wise as he. He makes me laugh and be proud of my maiden name. I wish he lived closer, South Florida is too far away. He and his terrific wife are coming for Christmas and I am wildly excited. It is so edifying to just be near them. (My best friend tells people that Brad is just me, only he's a boy. If that's true, maybe I just have deep affection for myself... entirely possible.)

Adam and Jessica. It's weird with them. My joy at their success is unparalleled. Their joy fills me with joy. Their gifts bless me like nothing else. I watch their life and marvel at the overwhelming goodness and creativity of God. They can express some of God's attributes in ways that I never could.

With certain friends there is a deep intimacy that takes time and overcoming conflict to have. I see how God has taken hurt feelings and selfishness and turned it for his glory. He redeems these friendships. He is good.

I'm sleepy now. My Benadryl is kicking in. But I have to say that sometimes it is startling to see how God is continually stretching my heart to hold new affections. As I am being changed into his likeness, I am also being given the ability to love others. And to accept love in return. We love because God is love. We love because he first loved us.

I could type all night and not be able to describe the way I see each of you, the way I love each of you. But I believe in heaven we'll be able to know.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Antacids, Football, and Explosions

Well, the doctor told me to try giving Gracie an antacid every day and just see how she does. Well, she's done really well. It seems to help her stomach pain. I have no idea why it helps but I'm just thankful that it does. We'll find out the results of her urine culture on Monday.

Ty's football season has been so great. They made it to the play-offs and today they won their first play-off game! It was such a fun game to watch. The team they played today beat them at the beginning off the season by 1 point. Today we beat them by 16 points. Ty was excited about that. But you know, I watch Ty and his coaches. I've noticed that Ty isn't devastated if they lose. He's disappointed but he says that it was a good game because he had fun.

Ty asked me today if I thought we made the right decision about him playing in Springville instead of Moody. I absolutely believe we did. God has blessed us with a head coach, who is not only an excellent coach who is committed to the kids learning and enjoying themselves, but who is also a believer. It's been cool to be able to encourage him and get to know his family.

God has also given our whole family the opportunity to develop relationships. It's been amazing to watch. I have no idea what will come of it all, but that's not my job. Please pray for us to be able to continue these relationships. Also I'm thinking about starting a women's Bible study with a couple of the women from Springville, please pray about that. For the opportunity, the scheduling, the location, etc.

Well, I must go. Ty's finally having his birthday party tomorrow. It's a rocket party... well really it's a let's-make-things-explode party. Mentos and Diet Coke, dry ice bombs, and actual rockets. Fun times. And I have to finish the prep work. And still with the cleaning of the house... always.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Have you ever wondered if you're crazy? Have you ever wondered if you're reading more into a situation than is actually there?

I am in that place. Gracie finished her antibiotics this morning. But her weird symptoms of abdominal cramping, side pain and neck pain that she had at the very beginning have started again. So... we're back at the doctor tonight. Dr. F is not on call tonight, will not be back on call until Monday. So we're seeing Dr.L. and what a waste of time that has been. Well, not completely, at least he ordered a urine culture. And he wants to put her on another round of antibiotics until we get the results on Monday.

But it's like that dream where you're standing in the middle of a crowd and you scream and you scream and no one notices. I knew he wouldn't listen to me. And he didn't. He has no intentions of even thinking of the possibility that there might be something going on besides a UTI.

On the other hand, maybe there really is nothing wrong. Maybe she's still weak and recovering. Maybe she just has weird pains like that and it's normal for her. Maybe... but then why is she waking me up at 3am crying because her stomach hurts?

So I'm left having no idea what I should do. No inkling of reassurance that if something is wrong that anyone will find it anytime soon. No other option but to trust God. And try not to obsess over it.

I'm frustrated. I just wish I could know what's going on inside her.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Great Big Love

Well, yesterday I got a lot done. I didn't finish the invitations. I can pass them out tomorrow at practice. My house is kinda clean... no one looked terrified when they walked in. Ty won his game. Now we get to got to the playoffs. Yeah. *sigh*

Today was a good day. Lots of people over, lots of food. Lots of help getting the house tidy again. I like that about my friends, they help me clean up. It was fun being 'normal' again. No sickness or sadness.

*Warning - Dramatic Topic Change*

Today in Sunday School and worship, we talked about how it is that we can engage with the people around us in a redemptive way. How we tend to be "rabbit-hole" Christians who pop out of our safe Christian environment every day, holding our breath around 'those' people and then have our Bible studies and pray for all those poor non-Christians that we safely avoided all day.

We talked about the beautiful, meticulous sovereignty of God. I was reminded that God is real. God is big and beautiful and holy. He's got it all covered. I have no reason to be pushy or impatient or self-righteous. It's all Him. I can relax.

I'm reading Blue Like Jazz again. I like that book. I like that it makes me think a little harder about my brokenness. Because that's how we engage people. That's how we can relate to 'those' people. The people who are the losers, the rebels, the hypocrites, the hateful. We can relate to their brokenness if we see our own. If we see how God's love and grace to us are the only things that make us any different, then we can love them.

Here's the illustration, condensed version:
A troubled young girl runs away from home at the age of 15. By 16 she's a prostitute, selling herself for money, getting beaten up every week, being degraded and abused. She has no hope. No relief.
Then one day at the grocery, she meets a man. He's strong and handsome and good. He demands nothing from her, just talks to her. She tells him up front who she is, what she is. He is undeterred. He begins to woo her. He loves her, takes care of her, protects her, demanding nothing in return. Eventually he convinces her of his love for her and she marries him, never to return to the nightmare that she used to call a life.
Her love for him is complete. She gives to him because she feels given to. She wakes every morning and makes his breakfast. She presses his shirts and makes him coffee. She finds tremendous joy in serving him. She knows what his love for her saved her from. She knows how big his love for her is... he's seen what she's capable of.
One day, someone tells her that she's 'the best wife ever'. She does all these things for her husband, the cooking and serving. But she remembers the prostitution, the beatings, the pain. She knows that his love saved her. Therefore her small response to such big love is only reasonable.

How can I relate to a non-Christian? By knowing that God's great big love, His relentless grace, is the only thing that makes me any different from them. Not my doing or working or goodness. Just God's lavish mercy. And they have no idea. They don't know that there is freedom from their slavery. They feel their inadequacies but see no relief in sight. But I know. I know. And I can love them. I can show them. I can tell them.

Broken is good. Or rather, knowing I'm broken is a good place to be.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

To Do List

I'm sitting here, trying to plan my day. Things on my list are:

1. Go to Ty's game. A must.

2. Pack snacks for Ty's game. Concession stands are expensive.

3. Make invitations to Ty's party to pass out today at the game. No pressure.

4. Clean my house. Always.

5. Go to the church and iron the communion cloths.

6. Also fill communion cups so that Chris doesn't have to get up early tonight to go do it.

7. Work on Christmas Bazaar stuff.

8. Get ready for church here tomorrow night.

9. Bathe. Ugh, I feel gross.

10. Do some work I've been putting off.

11. Oh yeah, get ready for Gracie's birthday party... that's here... um, tomorrow.

12. Did I mention clean my house?

13. There are at least 68 more things that should be on this list, but I'll cry if I think about them.

So I guess the responsible thing to do would be to get off the computer and get to work. I am nothing if not responsible. Bye.

Oh, I just remembered another thing... work the concession stand for the game after Ty's. Blech. But I am very good at dipping cheese onto tortilla chips. That's a plus.