Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Grass is Always Greener in a Magazine

     I must confess, I have gotten involved with something that I can't seem to stop. Just like any one else, I didn't see it to be a problem. It wasn't a danger or any thing like that. It was not hurting anyone, I would think. I just knew I wanted to do it more and more and it always left me feeling that I wasn't satisfied or the next time would make me feel better or exhilarated even. But it never did. After participating with my behavior I would feel unfulfilled, frustrated even.

     I suffer from, Perfect Home and Garden envy. It does not help that I subscribe to magazines that constantly reiterate to me of my imperfect surroundings. They taunt me in the same 'nanah-nanah-boo-boo' fashion as the playground bully would do. Nanah-nanah-boo-boo is a melodious song that's interpreted as 'look-at-what-you-ain't got'. It's a harsh house, my yard, my table, even the food in my refrigerator does not look like a photo shoot in a magazine.

     Look at all those photos of shiny happy people standing in their newly built or upgraded pristine kitchens with their 5.2 children all gathered around the island and the size 4 mother is in the process of making freshly squeezed lemonade from the trees she grows out back in her luscious fruit and vegetable garden where she bottles and sells her very own unique lemonade that paid for her mansion on the 25 acre farm where her husband is a lawyer and on weekends he hobby's as a cattleman and they breed and sell blue ribbon cows that sell for $10,000.00 a head and he is known by all of his colleagues as "Marlboro Man" as he is quite handsome and tough and gritty and very hands on with the children and is supportive of his wife's business adventure. Whew! I'm tired. I do not measure up!

    I look around my home and see crooked books on my bookshelves, things stacked in the floor, and dog hair rolling down the hall like tumbling tumbleweeds. What a big letdown. If I could somehow take photos of my house, photoshop them to perfection, blow them up and we could just step in and out of the still shots like Bert, the children, and Mary Poppins did with the sidewalk chalk 'drawerings' (what the British call art). I don't know, but that seems almost as obtainable as a house and yard that is in a state of immaculate perfection at all times.

     When I review my symptoms after exposure to the greener grass on the other side of magazine & TV's fence, I know that I know that I know that I've been had...I have fallen for the old "comparing myself amongst others" routine which I know is not wise to do. It's like the bug that can't help's drawn into the light that zaps it. I shut a magazine feeling the zap of 'you madam are not one of the elite'.

     Understand that it's not the magazines fault, the feelings I have when I close it's brightly colored of the current season's delicious eye candy and meticulously staged covers. is is mine. To allow what I see to cause me to feel out of league with the rest of the homeowners of the world whom I know, ALL have magazine worthy homes and gardens. Don't you?

     This dream to have a picture-perfection home has caused me to stand still and make note that there will ALWAYS be someone else out there smarter, richer, thinner, more educated, more gifted, more organized, and seemingly to have it all. But when the photo shoot is over and the camera crews and stagers go home, what is real life really like for the flavor of the month? The beaming smiles dim, dust floats through the air and settles on the coffee table and the kids put their dirty hands on the freshly painted door trim that they had painted just for the photo shoot. Yeah...I know life is real and it rots.

     So why stand stand here and look at someone else's greener grass when I have my own green grass to tend to...even if it is over the septic tank. Immaculate perfection is so overrated.

"We're not putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they're our superiors. We shouldn't dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point." II Corinthians 10:12 MB

Monday, July 18, 2011

Susan's Books Went Up Like That!

     My sisters proclaim that I am the official storyteller of our family, or story re-teller I should say, I am not telling fibs but recounting our family history. I guess I have the ability to remember the details that they don't. When we get together for holidays, and the likes, we usually end up reliving one more time, a memory from our childhood. We loved our childhood.

     What's really weird is I can remember as far back as being in my baby bed and reaching through the slats to play with the phone beside my parents bed (my bed was in their room). I also remember having my diaper changed on the bed in one of my sister's rooms and I vividly remember the reason I was crying was because I didn't like the dirty diaper and it made me mad to have it on. So yeah, I remember details.

     One such detail was the day I saw my sister, Susan, get hit by a car. She was eight years old at that time so that meant that I was four years old. I remember watching her out the window of our home, going down our driveway on Colon Road. The house is no longer there, it was moved to another location because progress and Highway 280 was coming through where it stood. She was walking her way to school at Pinecrest Elementary when out of nowhere comes a car and hits her right in front of our house and right in front of my four year old eyes! Do you know what I did? I ran myself to my babysitter/housekeeper and declared to her, "Susan's books went up, like that!" as I did arm motions to reenact the upward explosion of her books. Not once did I mention her being hit by the car. In fact, my babysitter went back to scrubbing the bathtub, counting it as 4-year-old babble. It wasn't until a policeman knocked on the door was she made aware of Susan's accident. She was put into the hospital with a brain concussion, nothing else major. Wow! Her life had been spared. It has been torn down since, but the crosswalk that went over Highway 280 for walkers and cyclist to cross the highway in safety was built because of that very accident. FYI!

     Have you ever been caught up in life where you see what's happening, but when it's processed, your focus seems to be on the 'leaves on the tree' instead of the 'root of the tree'? In other words, you saw only the result of a situation and not what caused the thing to happen in the first place? Over and over you look at the things that keep messing your life up or throws you off your groove or keep getting you down, whatever you want to call it, it's nothing but a diversion. Life says...Hey look this, look at that, look at them, look at get you distracted from the REAL bare truth.

     Let me ask you something? If I had marched into the bathroom where my babysitter was and said, "Susan has been hit by a car!" Would I have been judging her? Well of course not! I would have been simply stating an observation. If I had declared, "Susan is going to die because she has been hit by a car!" That would have been a judgment call because I didn't have the right to say that, that would have been my opinion. Later, while Susan was in the hospital mending...if I said to others, "Susan just did all of that for attention, she wants everyone to feel sorry for her and bring her gifts." Would I have been judging her? Yes, I would have because I was stating my opinion on her motive for getting hit by the car.

      In the day we live, the decree "don't judge me!" pops off lips everywhere. It's a warning from those who spout it to those who are onlookers to "back off and zip your lips". What most don't quite see is the huge difference between making a true observation and slamming the judges gavel down when it comes to situations that play out in people's lives.

     In my time, I have stood in life's windows and have observed people get hit by cars OVER AND OVER again and say to them, "you have been hit by a car" and they turn and walk right out into another street and it happens again. Things are said by them's my's my's my's that's that person, in reality they are's THAT leaf and THAT leaf and THAT leaf...never looking at the root, never looking at what hit them or why they were hit in the first place.

    So that is what people are calling judging, when a person makes an observation. I'm observing many getting hit by cars and they don't want me to state the obvious! They don't want anyone to say, "your sin has hit you and here is the results...your sin has repayed has dealt you a great blow and your books are going up, like that!" Those are simple observations, not judging your motive for being hit. I don't pretend to know why you do what you, when you do it, or how you do it, that would be speculation. Speculation IS for me to zip my lip and keep my thoughts to myself.

     Why do you keep getting hit again and again and again? That's keep doing the deed. Your refusal to stop yourself will keep giving you the same blow time and again. Leaves on the tree tell you what kind of tree it is so if you'd accumulate some leaves you'll be able to identify what principle you keep violating, because you see, the judgment you keep getting is actually been activated by you. You are the one that keeps indictments coming after you. The gavel keeps coming down and only you can stop any and all of it.

     Here's a litmus test: A situation happens to you and you think or say...Why does this keep happening to me? it's time to look at the obvious and get out of the road so you won't get hit anymore! Paul of the Bible knows this for sure, he's even quoted as saying "Wretched man that I am!" He got hit, too.

   So...from this point forward...if I simply state that your books went up like that, remember, I'm just stating what I see, not slamming a gavel down and declaring what you'll reap, that's for the REAL Judge. Honorable Jesus Christ the Righteous, Judge of the living and of the dead.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pardon Me, Would You Give Me Six Weeks of Your Life?

     I've just spent six weeks in the hospital. Not as a patient, but, along with my family and I, providing around the clock care for my mother, who by the way, only went in for a cracked wrist.

     We have experienced what I would call a 'tragedy of errors' cause it sho wern't a comedy. The unnamed hospital did their utmost to aid her in every way but could not stop the onset of double pneumonia, a staff infection, blood clots passing through her heart and ending in her lungs on two separate occasions, at which she had no pulse or blood pressure which resulted in a stint in ICU for a week. Those were very close calls. But the medicating that they WERE in charge of was the thing that really almost did her in.

     We had absolutely no idea how sensitive to medication/drugs/narcotics/chemicals that she actually was until she was administered the first dose of anything. I won't use the names of any of the meds. but I will say they swung from pain killers to anti-anxiety medicine to sleep aids to OTC's that are quite common to use for allergic reactions. She had catatonic reactions to each and everything they gave her. Who knew?

     Our days melted into nights that were long and sleepless. And when I say sleepless that means without any sleep of any kind and no shutting of the eyes, at all. The first pill that was given her to help her to rest, sent her into a 3-1/2  day, non-stop, hallucination trip where we tended to children that weren't in the corner, hung invisible things up, and squished bugs on the ceiling with our feet. She insisted that I help her do these things with her. No one could leave her side for a moment, she snatched her splint off along with everything else she was attached to, repeatedly. Because of her strength and flexibility, she would swing her legs over the bed rails and try to get out of bed. She would bolt straight up in bed and say, "Help me". This plea was repeated every few minutes throughout the entire hospital stay. Her pleading haunted me.

     During this time we let her doctor go and brought another on board. His new meds. sent her into a 2 1/2 day of the same thing. We went days on end with no sleep, staying on watch, all for one purpose and one purpose only. To keep our mother alive. We stood in the gap for her.

     We wrote everything in a notebook, we logged anything and everything that was done to her or needed to be done for her. We asked questions, insisted on action to be taken in certain areas, we made request upon requests and demands upon demands. We had our sights on getting her out alive AND have her comfortable while she was having to be there.

     We went to extremely great lengths to save our mother. I have shared only a smidgen of what actually took place over the six weeks she was there. During that time I truly began to understand and ponder on what being an advocate truly meant. We were her advocates. We fought for her very life. And then I saw it...I remembered that WE also had an advocate. It was not the hospital administration, the nurses or the doctors. It was Jesus.

     When we were spiritually sick and dying from the cause and effects of sin, Jesus, with everything He had inside of Him, fought for us. He went through severe deprivation and sacrifice to see to it that we were cared for and comforted. That everything that we would need would be provided. He fought for our very lives. He stood by us never to walk away and leave us unprotected. We were worth it to Him. He gave His very life to save our lives. It was an exchange that only an advocate could make.

     Upon emerging from this unforgettable experience, I now truly appreciate this aspect of my Savior's willingness to rescue me from death. While I was dying, He sought me out and became my go-between Man. I never knew the depths of this mighty act until I became an advocate myself. I guess that's where the saying comes from, '"Oh....I see!", said the blind man.' 

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any one sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." I John 2:1
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