Saturday, May 29, 2010

Holy Sandpaper Batman!

   We all have 'Them' in our lives. 'Them' are sandpaper people. They're the ones that unknowingly poke our very last gracious, smiling nerve in the eye and THEN has the gall to tamper with our don't-EVEN-go-there tolerance meter.

    Sandpaper people are just like left-lane drivers...they don't know that they are one!!

(Disclaimer: The previous statement is not always true in all situations, because there are some individuals that have made very successful careers in the annoyance business on purpose.)

   I have had sandpaper people leave me feeling exhausted from just having a conversation with them. Others have given me the simulation of being jack-hammered. I have at times felt like I was being tossed like a huge salad or like I was in need of an emotion resuscitation. Like I needed to be defragmented.

   Sandpaper people come in different grits, anywhere from a 36-grit which is a heavy duty sandpaper used in an orbital sanding machine to sand down hardwood floors. All the way down to a 1,000-grit, a fine paper used to sand precious metal parts in an antique car restoration.

 The results is the same.....
 Sanding rubs off all of the unnecessary and useless build up of gack that has accumulated over a period of time. Could this possibly mean that sandpaper people are in our lives to remove the layers of unyielding, unattractive, and unabashed crud we have grown to call our personalities?

   I would like to say that I am not the one with the personality malfunction. I would like to say that 'They' are the ones with the  kooky thoughts or weirdo characteristics or whack-a-do tendencies. And 'They' make me want to run and hide among the ones that are 'normal', like me, because my comrades and I feel safe when we are all 'normal' together. But, inevitably here one comes making a buzzing sound and I struggle to get through my sanding session. Argh.

    I had a black German Shepherd about 3 years ago that absolutely traumatized me. He was a sandpaper dog. Nothing he did soothed me or brought me wondrous happiness. He was a hammering hammer, a drilling drill of a personality.

   What his actions put me through challenged every area of my human kindness. The day came when my furry orbital sander got to move on to another owner, but not until I learned this:
     That it was me that needed the grinding away of my imperfections, my irritations, my exasperation.
     That I had a need to have everything and everyone around me be like me.
     That I should look at my sanding appointments with a more purposeful angle.  

   These grating people (or animals) are not placed into my life to ruin me, but to rid me of the deposits of film that has covered my life and the way I perceive myself to be. In my eyes, I DO love my neighbor, except that one...or maybe that one...and definitely not that one!

   I am okay with Sister Cuckoo being a part of the long as she doesn't act cuckoo. How about old Mrs.Grumpty Grump that insists on thriving on her vibe of negativity? There's always Mrs. Fault-Finder and Miss I'm Telling Somebody, aka Drama Queen. It's a big fat bummer.

   Or Chatty Cathy that makes you want to sing Father Guido's one-hit wonder "Shut Uppa You Face". And there's always a Mr. Know-It-All and a Miss I've-Got-It-All and a Sir I've-Done-It-All. There's an, I'm-Not-Going-To-Do-It-On-Your-Time-Schedule lady and a Would-You-Listen-To-Me-Drone man.

   The Clingy-Needy relationships and the It's-All-About-Me mentalities leave me with sore sanded spots all over my emotions and brain. I always want to use their face as the poster child of the cause of all my woes. After all, look at how 'They' make me act! That would be like turning on a light in a closet and saying, "Look at the mess this light has caused."

   "God, You know that my hardwoods can only be sanded so many times, what else could you possibly want from me?"

   "These people not only step over my boundaries, but they traipse around like they're clueless to their offense, which I find to be...offensively offensive."

    "Why am I always the one that gets singled-out? You never deal with Brother Doodad, it's always me."

    "Why, God why?".......Pearls, baby, pearls.

   Contrary to popular belief, natural pearls are formed, not by a grain of sand, but by a parasite that gets into the shell, and because of the damage that is done by the parasite, the clam secretes nacre which coats the inside of the shell which in due time produces a beautiful pearl from the mother-of-pearl sac.

   You could call the sandpaper person a parasite of sorts, that makes you unable to do anything else but to squirt, squirm, and grow from the whole pearl making experience.

    So, when you feel totally sandblasted and are completely sanded down to the bare metal, please don't think that you are being punished. Not so!

   A Holy God has taken interest in your development and desires to further enhance your beauty by taking extra measures to do it.

   With a Masterful hand and under a watchful eye He will bring forth, out of you, a pearl worth a great price, that lo and behold, sandpaper people helped produce.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Can't Today...My Wonder Woman Outfit is at the Cleaners

   I'm sorry, I won't be perfect today, it's not gonna happen...while you're jotting that down I probably won't be able to tomorrow either. Perfection waves at me from across the street at the beautifully manicured yard of the neighbors, it drives by in the sports car that I always wanted. Perfection lifts its' nose in haughty fashion from the pages of home decor and style magazines and HGTV reminds me constantly that I'm not even perfect enough to be on one of their shows because, I live in the wrong city and state, am of the wrong age bracket, and have the wrong space to makeover.

   Wonder Woman is so perfect, she is from the Clan of the Amazons, so she is tall. She has superhuman strength, wears bracelets that deflect bullets, a golden lasso that makes everyone wrapped in it tell the truth, she flies an invisible jet and looks incredibly hot for 60+. When I look incredibly hot, I have been mowing and weed-whacking for a couple of hours. There's a stench that comes with all that hotness, too.

    I falter in my quest of perfection, it somehow eludes me. I try to be everything to everyone and that only brings me to the fact that I am NOT Holy Ghost, Jr. and that my body, my house, my clothes, my hair, my cooking, my social status, and anything else that you can think of is always going to be one degree off of its perfect axis as I spin around in my own galaxy of: 'Am I Perfect Yet?'.  I try to be a rebel and yell, "Like me or lump me, take me or leave me", but as I yell it I notice all of the pretty mani/pedi's and new purses everyone is sporting and I revert to must-be-like-them...Stepford wannabes.  

   In my perfect world, there would be no dirt, crumbs, dust or hairballs. There would be no cellulite or stray hair growing from a scar. Concrete driveways would never need pressure-washing and there would be no peeling paint. Clothes would repair themselves after an unraveled hem or a popped off button and would never wrinkle. My cooking would always have a gourmet quality to it and my kitchen would sparkle with magazine appeal after each use. Clutter would just know what to do with itself and people's heads would turn as they passed my yard and ooh and aah over its pristine appearance. And I would step out onto my freshly stripped and stained deck in my Wonder Woman outfit looking incredibly hot and I would say to myself, "Jeanna, wake up you're dreaming".

   A perfect world simply does not exist. God does not require perfectionism from me, so therefore, I should not require it from myself. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being a high achiever, they are more relaxed and enjoy their lives as they mark off their list of accomplishments. The Proverbs 31 Woman is who I really should try to mimic and not some fantasy concept of a perfect female. She worked with her hands diligently, she helped others, she bought and sold and made a profit. Her mouth was full of wisdom and she spoke kindly to others. She ran her household efficiently and her children blessed her and her husband was spoken well of because of her. She feared the Lord and because of that, the fruit of her hand was given to her and her own works praised her (v. 31).

    Because I don't live in a perfect world, I will be older tomorrow, there will be ant beds in my yard, and my floors will have to be done again. But, God has laid out a formula for me to follow. I don't know how to make myself into a Proverbs 31 Woman any more than I know how to make my barn and stalls into an eloquent  feasting place for friends and family for Thanksgiving, like Martha Stewart does so effortlessly (and pretentiously, I might add). But I do know how to read, and get quite, and pray, and ask Him for clarity and direction for this topic in my life that keeps me frustrated 90% of the time. And learn to let it go...release the driven-ness, the harried-ness, the disgust-ness, the guilt, the shame that comes with the lack of perfection. To hand over the title of Holy Ghost, Jr. and just be perfect in God's grace.

   Proverbs 31:25 says, "Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come". You know...since it is an imperfect world, I would rather wear strength and honor as my clothing anyway, that Wonder Woman outfit is too tight and skimpy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

There Is a Cure For The Summertime MOOOS

   Attention, attention, calling all is now time to report for active duty. It is that time of year where you add to your enormous list of 'have to do's' to include entertainment director for your family platoon. The details of your tour of duty should be gelling right about now. In a few days you will be known as 'MOOOS'...Mothers Of Out Of Schoolers.

   That means you play when you don't want to play. Uncontrollable messes are made and remain permanent until the second week of August. Bedtime and waking up time switch places. And you'll spend a huge amount of effort to keep the 'B' word from being spoken, yes, I mean the word 'bored'.

   The word 'bored' is not allowed to be used at my house. It is considered to be a bad word, right up there with 'shut-up' and 'stupid' (oh, and the word 'butt', it's not used either, we use other words for that, bohunkus, la-tushay, and fahanny are examples). All of this because they are not fruitful words and do not achieve positive results. (My O.)

   When the kids declare boredom they are clearly saying to me that they do not have enough stuff to keep them engaged or that, that stuff has clearly lost its appeal and the need for more stuff is necessary to grant their happiness wish. Or that they have lost their imagination and creativity abilities along with their tidiness skills. Or that they are totally uncomfortable with being by themselves and quite. So they try to convince me that extra people of all kinds are needed to fill their seconds of torturous inactivity, therefore we begin a summer-long parade of a variety of friends and sleepover company in and out of our entertainment caravan.

   Granted, we do not live in a residential area where you can just go outside and meet in the street and play all day with the homies on the block, like me and my sister did in the day. In the summer, we had a babysitter which would greet me with a chocolate milkshake in the noon when I awoke and encouraged me to go out to play. Which for us, there was no need for encouragement, we were ready, willing and fully able to cooperate with her requests. I know now it was so she could chill on the inside and watch TV and talk on the phone while we stayed out of her hair. But, nonetheless, we had a wonderful understanding of what was expected of each other and that was don't mess with each other's groove.

   My sister and I had a WONDERFUL childhood, not filled with stuff and things and outings, our parents worked all of our summers. But it was with our ability to make something out of nothing. Whether it was making Barbie furniture from cardboard and crayons and her clothes from scraps of fabric to tying the Barbie car to the back of our bikes (which had playing cards clothes-pinned to the spokes of our wheels) and driving Barbie and Ken all over the neighborhood. To impromptu fashion shows on the front porch of a friend to a game of red rover in front of the sweet gum tree where it and my head collided. To jumping from the back porch onto the swing set for circus like acrobatics. And I swear that we were the inventors of the extreme sport of skim boarding...when our neighbors across the streets' backyard would flood from rain we would get plywood pieces and run and jump on them and skim across the water for several yards. When I am at the beach I keep wanting to show kids how it's done! Bored was NOT part of our vocabulary!

   All of the things we busied ourselves with back then, formed who we are today...very creative, active, and out-of-the-box thinkers. Our parents never 'played' with us, we had each other for that. We depended on each other to draw that part of us out and didn't look to MOOOS to do it for us. I have a very dear friend that produces powerful performances today because her mother would make her have quite time in her room for an hour every day. That's where she learned to put storylines together and use her imagination for shows. My sister and I created a play that we would perform in our living room by ourselves at Christmas with no parents even around to watch it. It was about an orphan girl and an angel that helped her to discover the real concept of Christmas. I have since adapted it for the stage and used the soundtrack from Swan Lake and it has been performed two times on stage. I have been working on it on a grander scale to make it a full two hour production that I hope to see come into fruition one day. All because of 2 sisters imagination and playtime together.

   So to all of you MOOOS, my encouragement to you would be to take the initiative and introduce your OOS (out of schooler) to the wonderful world of imagination and creativity. We are made in God's image so we already have the inner workings of that kind of ability accessible to us. It may take some discipline at first and you may feel like you are inadequately equipped, but if you persist and push for ways to silence the bored siren, eventually you will be amazed at the inventive ideas your kids can come up with. All you will have to do is nourish (encourage) them and guide (educate) them. How easy is that? Then you'll have this focused idea- pumping-self-sustaining kid instead of a zoned-out-and-needy one that has to have technology and activities to do it for them.

   The results that you will reap from this summer experiment will make everyone happy. No frazzled moms from trying to brush up on their roller skating or kickball skills and no all day trips to water theme parks, and no whining children because mom is too french-fried to keep moving on autopilot. You won't have to keep the family books full of entertainment appointments.What we're talking here is free, it just takes some enterprising. Get your kids to list some basic starter ideas and go with those (babysitting grandmothers are included, GOOOS) and watch the sparks of something from nothing start flying! I would definitely say that is an awesome cure for the summertime MOOOS!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Life Is Not a Dress Rehearsal

   When a woman has her first child, something amazing happens...something new is created that has never existed before. A woman births, adopts or acquires a child, a miracle in itself, and then miraculously she changes into a mother. Something that she never was before.

   How or where do you even get training to be a mother? Everyday life is your training ground. Life on some days is a hard task master and on other days can be the sweetest of all instructors. And when it comes to rearing up the children, there are no dress rehearsals, it's the real performance, everyday, all day. What they see and hear on your stage is what they will perform on their own stages.

   You know what a dress rehearsal is don't you? You wear what you would wear in the real performance, you sing, say, or perform exactly what you are going to do in the real performance, but it's a mock performance. The audience is not there only technicians and the players. I call it the only time you get to boo boo. If you're gonna blow it, blow it at dress rehearsal, not the real performance. But in reality, there is grace for when we blow it, but stuff done and said in front of our childrens eyes and ears cannot be, like eggs, unscrambled.

   The miracle of motherhood brings forth from the woman a beauty that is beyond surface beauty. My mother always taught me, "Pretty is as pretty does". No make up can make up for inner beauty. A beautiful soul DOES  pretty things, not just LOOKS pretty. My mother also taught me that selfish is not part of the mother equation nor is giving up.

   If the mother/child relationship is going as planned, not only should your child be learning from you, but you should be learning from them also. I learned from my oldest that there is more than one way to get something done, she is persistent. My middle child taught me that smiles and laughter in the middle of hurts and disappointments are a strength, and my youngest has taught me to not to ever let go of my dreams. They WILL come true.

   I'm inserting my O right here, I believe mothers loosely but naturally 'know' the course that their child should follow and part of our call, as a mom, is to keep those things hidden in our hearts and pray for them to actively pursue the hidden things planted as we were rocking them and kissing their tiny hands and feet and looking at them in amazement as we wondered what they would become in their futures. That's how we just 'know' when a decision that is being made by our child is a good one or not. We gauge it to the hidden things of our hearts and compare it to the rocking days.

   My mama is the standard that I have to measure my own success as a woman, wife, and mother. She activated and set in motion my motherly skills like how to handle having children from different decades. And how to laugh later at the horrible nightmares that we put her through, that are now part of our family history and story telling. Also how to live off of 4 hours of sleep because her children were sick or hadn't come home yet, there is no sleeping during that time. One trick she learned to make things fun for us that I have passed on myself is cooking breakfast for dinner, we never knew that it was because groceries were low. She could whip the daylights out of us and we still knew that we were loved because she would hold our heads while we threw up and nurse us back to health, stay up all night to sew for us (even our Barbie clothes) and cook every single night for dinner and we sat every night at the dinner table. Yep. My mama is a Proverbs 31 woman.

   She knew there were no do-overs, she got one chance with us girls to form us and send us into our futures and with absolutely no mother conferences or mom support groups to attend she did and still does have the status of "The Best Mother I Could Have Ever Been Given". A dress rehearsal is to see if you can do it, a real life performance is you did do it! And she did do it! I will always be thankful for your gift of love to me mama, I love you!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ding Dong The Frogs Are Dead

   Call it the teacher in me, but I have this need for people to be educated in divers topics. I don't even pretend to know why, that's just the way that I'm made. I've taught dance since 1972 and I've been teaching children in dance or homeschooling or raising/teaching children since 19forever&ever. If there is ever a conversation that comes up and I have information pertinent to the topic I begin to transmit, because a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Carpe Minutam 'seize the minute', I say, for I may never have the opportunity to give out these nuggets of useless or valuable wisdom again.

   People might call me a Cliff Claven, a know-it-all, or opinionated...I think of myself as an informer. A  know-it-all or Claven is full of and a disperser of useless trivia and I DO have my O's but the informer is one who believes they are accurate concerning truth. For me, the only truth I use as a guide comes from the Handbook of Living Life, the Manual for Life Junkies. If there's an answer in there for the thing you're talking to me about...out it comes...just like gum from the gumball machine. I do what I do. No apologies.

   When you mention that you're not sleeping, or your back is in constant pain or you cry all the time, my data bank kicks into high gear searching for the truth to help you change your situation. Why stay one more night among the frogs like Pharaoh, when he told Moses to ask God to remove the plague of frogs and when Moses asked when do you want them removed Pharaoh said, "tomorrow" (Exodus 8:10).

   Tomorrow? Really? So you need more time to part with your miserableness? I feel the informer taking's knock your plague in the head right now. Is now a good time for you? I feel like David when Goliath was terrorizing Israel and he comes on the scene and hears what's going on and while everyone else was in 'let's-pretend-it's-not-that-bad' mode, David is yelling, "oh no you d'ent" to the enemy. While you make plans to take your pet plague home with you I'm looking in my vaults for inform-a-tion for us to use to get rid of it.

   Here's my O...I think everyone should be an informer. Everyone should have a safety deposit box of important, vital help to shed abroad to others that are standing in front of you and saying that their lives are being shaken or that they're at a crossroad or that their faith has gone mushy. But many are afraid of coming across as a judge. Informing someone is not judging someone. Saying, "I have information that will help you get over this", is not a judgment. Especially if they are sharing their hurts or pain, it sorta opens the door for you to speak into their lives.  

   In my car, I have in the glove compartment, my car manual, my tag receipt, my insurance card, a flash light, and other important paperwork that I might need when there is a need for spirit also has a glove compartment that when someone needs that inform-a-tion, bam, there it is. Ready to do the thing that it is there to do. Inform.

   I work for the DKB, I'm an informer for the DKB. Department of Kingdom Business. Agent Jeanna reported for duty when she got born again. Part of the kingdom business I'm responsible for, my informer manual tells me, is telling others of this good news. The good news don't have to live with the frogs! The town crier was the town informer, "Hear ye, hear ye,we're having frog legs tonight!". "Ding dong the frogs are dead!".

   If you went to the mechanic because your car was out of sorts and he told you that you had a dirty carburetor from sludge or if your doctor told you that your arteries were clogged from bad cholesterol or a professional organizer said that your collecting of stuff was out of hand, would you think that they were judging you? or simply stating the facts from the evidence in front of them? That's what an informer does, states facts of truth, not so they can show off their informant skills but to further Kingdom Business.
   Because of my teacher tendencies I would not have you ignorant. Here is some info. for you to put into your spiritual glove compartment for upcoming life exams...
God is the REformer
satan is a DEformer
and you are an INformer!
A reformer adjust, changes, and makes a difference. A deformer kills, steals, and destroys. An informer tells you what I just told you.

   So, when you and I meet and you tell me that life has been crappy, or you've had the crud, or you worry all the time or that it's always been this way and will always be this my'll see a tiny hourglass with sand trickling to the other end while I retrieve, in prayer, the truth for the minute. And then, with great speed and determination I'm gonna serve up some frog stew! Ka-pow! Not another night among the frogs. Class dismissed.
Designed by Lena