OK! Fine, I don't take sleeping pills. Really, I take about zero pills. I'm one of those essential oil weirdos and proud of it. Might make that last saying a shirt. And my friend who started me on that crazy weirdo essential oils actually works for a screen printing company, so she could totally hook me up!
Not the point.
My point is it's late at night. It's been a very long day of wrangling children to school, wrangling a classroom of sweaty 5th graders who still don't seem to know they out number me, trying to muster the self-control not to eat the candies our secretary hides in her desk just for the teachers (hangs head in shame), birthday parties, gymnasium workouts, and the eating. OH the eating.
I have a busy life. Good but busy. I am busy with all the things I want to do, and possibly a couple things I could live without (aka dear dishes. Why can't you be more like paper plates and handle yourself?) But recently I joined the gym.
It's January; why shouldn't I? Of course I should. And I am killing it. And by killing it, I mean I am more aware of my rolls and I can' t stop eating. I feel one of those cyclical stories about to happen. I call this one If You Take Me To The Gym.
If you take me to the gym, I am going to work up an appetite. And I will probably ask you for an omelet (which means I will just snack on these pretzels and mound of almond butter while it cooks). Of course he saltiness of the pretzels will make me thirsty, so I will ask for a glass of water.
When we are at the fridge getting the water, I will notice the orange juice and ask for a small glass. After I gulp down my juice, it will remind me of how much I love oranges and that I still have at least three minutes left until my omelet is finished, so I will eat a Cutie.
That itty bitty orange will remind me of that time we had mini-muffins, and I will ask you to check to see if there are any in the pantry. You look and find one. It's blueberry and delicious. My omelet is finished, and as I carefully adorn it with A-1 sauce, I realize my mind is elsewhere.
I begin eating my omelet, all the while thinking of those blueberries. And, naturally those blueberries remind me of a most delightful spinach salad I took to lunch last week which just so happens to be filled with quinoa, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and, you guessed it, blueberries. I'll ask you to go to the fridge to get me one.
There is one left, which I devour in three minutes. It's amazing, and I have to tilt the miniature plastic ball to get every drop of the vinaigrette dressing. I realize I haven't even bothered to close the refrigerator, and peak in just in time to see the almond butter on the top shelf. Seeing the almond butter makes me want to dip a salty snack in there, so naturally, I head for the pretzels. And chances are, if you give me those pretzels, I am going to need a refreshing drink of water to wash them down.
I realize this story doesn't get me back to the gym, but let me just be frank and tell you I am going to the gym about 4 out of 7 days in the week, and this runaround comes from one day's workout. Now multiply that fat camp by four workouts and let me lie down. With a smoothie. Because I am hungry.
And because I am a Gooney, Goonies never say die. No. Goonies say, "Can I get just one more bite of that?"
The best part about that title is I am not even really speaking of mottoes. I couldn't help myself.
I am a total New Year's resolution girl. Every year, growing up, we used to sit with paper and pencil in hand anxiously. We would divide the paper into three sections: short-term, medium-term, and long-term. Then my entire family would spend 30 minutes or so racking our brains trying to think of what we hoped to accomplish in the coming year. It was such an organized event that we would pull out the previous years' goals and see where we accomplished or straight went awry.
My parents taught me the craft of a goal board. They taught me what baby steps were well before Bob Wiley came on the scene. They made a resolutionary out of me.
Yes. I made up that word. Just now. And I stand by it.
I am completely and rebelliously a resolutionist.
I did it again. Did you see that?
Yeah, well, you can thank me when you drop that new word off at the water cooler tomorrow at work. People may smile and call you "Quippy". I would like that.
I do my best to make my goals just close enough to attain them and not so far off as an endlessly dangling carrot. This line is fine.
I also insist that the goal be worthy of my time. Because, guess what. Extra time is for napping. And guacamole.
Last year my goal was to floss every night. I grew up in a non-flossing home. It's been a difficult habit to embrace. I used to turn to floss when I was desperate. My floss and my priest were basically on the same level: a need to know basis.
I am not Catholic, but my point is I never flossed regularly. I'm a new woman. That goal was attainable and worthwhile, and quite frankly cut about 20 minutes off my bi-annually dental cleaning appointment.
On the heels of this success, heading into the new year, I was thrilled to come up with a new resolution.
Everything I thought of seemed too cliche. Too BAH. I mean, I will likely get back into the gym. I will start bringing my water bottle to work. I broke up with donuts ages ago. I have added a silly amount of vegetables to my diet already. And I cut out all the foods to which I am allergic or intolerant. BO. RING.
And then my friend said something a little crazy and against my usual. She said she isn't a resolutionist. OK she didn't use that word because I hadn't made it up yet. But she would have. She could have. She should have.
Anyway, she doesn't choose a goal. She chooses a word. Isn't that wild?
Maybe it's normal, because as we were texting, another girl hopped into our conversation and said she does that same stinking thing. WHAT!? Yeah well. All right then. I can get on board with this. I think.
I can forgo a year of resoluting. Just one year. I think.
So. I've spent the better part of the conversations in my head throwing out words that represent my year to come. Some were deep. Some were sheer lunacy. But I think I found it.
My word this year is
Mostly the kind found in Joshua 1:9.
Have I not commanded you. Be strong and very courageous.
I've stepped into a few uncharted territories. I need to pull myself up by my Bootstrap's bootstraps and be courageous. This is so clearly a goal I will never achieve on my own. I'll be looking up. I'll be jumping in. I'll be screaming like Bob Wiley on his first elevator ride. And hopefully, by this time next year, I will be able to look back and mean it when I say, "I was courageous."
I have limits, people. I can't handle certain conversations before coffee or 10 aye em.
The lady next to me just said the phrase "making love sounds better. Sex is too worldly."
It's before the coffee time, but she is a 70 year old mother to five; she can say anything she wants and we listen. Usually I am with rapt attention, but Ellen. It's before coffee.
It's the morning after the birthday party for one of my best sisters. I would add her link here, but the blogger app also has limits before the coffee hour. But if she was here she would say great words like, "you might be a wreck, doll, but you're God's wreck" or "you just gotta put one foot in front of the uthah. Now. Pass me an olive".
Do you see the people I have to keep up with? I'll never make it.
Some places just know how to coffee. Yes. I used coffee as a verb. Try and stop me. No don't. I bruise like a peach!
Photo cred: I stole this photo from the web.
I had a meeting at The Coffee Bar last night around 4:30. Just a quick stop to meet a new friend who gave me the low down on all the information I'll need for a smallish major new ministry with which I am helping.
I love them. These women love Jesus in a major way: with Grace and practicality. With heart and hands. Faith trudging through disbelief.
So far I am all talk and coffee, but come Sunday I am jumping in. Two women are temporarily setting aside their high heels and heart breaking career of turning tricks at $200/hour to take their GED.
Too big to grasp? Too contrary? Too "why should they even bother if they are going to go right back to that old life?"
Yah. Well. I'm not in their shoes, but I know what baby steps are, and these girls are taking them. And for some reason, God is letting me help.
So between an angelic Americano and this buzz of "what am I getting myself into? My heart is about to get vulnerable, I just know it. Lord, is this another mascarade that seems like I am the one helping, but really I'm about to get helped?" I find myself not sleeping.
All through our meeting I kept saying, "the devil wouldn't be trying so hard to keep these girls down if they weren't about to make a huge difference for Christ. He wouldn't even care." And it's true.
And by that, I mean if you don't feel the devil messing with you in some way, just maybe you don't matter enough to the kingdom. Just maybe a couple of 20 something year old prostitutes are closer to changing lives for Jesus than you are.
Right along with that though? If you are enduring some heavy about now, there's a good chance you are in God's will. Youve tapped your chest and said "come at me bro" to a real enemy. Stay the course. You aren't alone.
I feel shaken up by this. I feel like these girls are on the verge of something amazing. Noway am I getting left behind.
I wanna jump up with my hand raised and shout "Let me come!" Like a typical little sister. I'm pumped.
Photo cred: I stole this photo from the web.
And then. I can't sleep. So I hang out on my twitter and the worst news story comes across. 120 children died last night. Six teachers.
Taliban (tomato). These jack asses (tuh-mah-to) who think they are changing the world. And they are. And honestly, there is little I can do to change how they spend their lives. Waste their passion and faith.
I can be their opposite.
Now I see. A few more pieces just slipped into the puzzle. I'm to be contrary. I'm to be their opposite.
When they spew darkness, I'll shine light.
When they breed hate, I'll work harder for unconditional love.
When they bring death, I'll breath life.
When they marginalize, I'll be a peacemaker.
When they shower depression, I'll pour on joy.
In the same way they are too big and too far for my hands to affect them, my God is too big and my faith is too committed for them to touch me.
I listened to a girl preach this weekend. It was an exceptional treat for many reasons, the least of which being the fact that I actually got to sit in service and partake in church like a usual suspect. When you are in charge of the kids in your church family, you miss a few weeks. But she was great. I shouldn't be surprised really; for years people have been saying, "you know Ally, right? You two would hit it off."
They mean we are the same. They mean we appear to have the same giftings.
Honestly, I've said hi from afar, but I've never met her. I can't even tell you why we've never officially been introduced. I certainly don't need help speaking to strangers or strange people. She lives out of town and visits often. But she became part of our church when we were off church planting with my brother and then still when we moved to Idaho. She got married and left right as we moved back. Bummer. And after listening to her speak, I mean it. Major bummer.
We could have been all those things Tiffany sang about in the 80s when rock love ballads were legit and steeped in hairspray and emotion. And lip gloss. I think that we could have been good friends, but there's a little nagging voice that reminds me she is an introvert.
What? Wait. Hold yer phone, Tiffany.
I need a minute to decide if I can be friends with an introvert.
Ok. Yes. We need each other, actually. Ok. ACTUALLY I need her. Maybe it's just me, being part of the loud collection of humans called extroverts, but I've always had the understanding that introvert equals negative and they are really just striving to become extroverts. I feel maybe Ally knows something I don't.
She isn't striving to be an extrovert. There's nothing wrong with the very vert she already is. Additionally, I am not trying to be an introvert. However, I am striving to mimic some of her greater qualities.
Humility and genuine heart. Truth speaker. Clear. Meek but not a pushover. The meek shall inheret the earth. Meek isn't bad. Meek is the new patient.
I am so grateful for the skills and talents I have been given. I am thrilled for the chance to be an encouragement and light and sometimes even that straight forward, in your face, never minding words truth sayer. I want to be who God created me to be. I want to embrace my extrovertnessingly * and be used in the best possible way.
I love that Ally was just being her. Whichever vert you are, embrace it. We all need each other.
Ran into Effie Trinket and the angry chick from district 7. Late night showing of Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1.
Witnessed downtown become just a smidge brighter with the lighting of the tree. Followed by
Laughing. Pizza. And a lot of laughing. When I say a lot of laughing, I don't mean someone told a joke and we laughed longer than the average person for that minute. I mean in our house we laugh SO MUCH. When we aren't laughing we are singing. And sometimes we are yelling. But only sometimes is that yelling angry. And to be fair sometimes the laughing is facetious and full of mocking undertones. And I'm sorry. I'm just sorry.
And then it got real. Folks, I'm going to level with you. I was a little shocked to look over and see The Man had taken on this position a little early even for Thanksgiving. This man doesn't sprawl. I should know. I've secretly and obviously watched his every move for 21 years. Ok. More obviously. I don't even try to hide it!! In fact, yep. I'm about to confess something. When we were in high school, I heard he worked at Walmart. I went every night for a week. Never saw him once. I was so irritated that I sucked at stalking a guy who barely knew I existed that I very uncooly asked when he was working and where I could find him if I happened to stop by. Insert air quotes where you think best. You should probably use more sets than you think for that sentence. Also. Who even thought to check the garden section??!!
Seven times a charm, I tell you. anyway. One thing lead to another and
We are winding down another year of being Mike and Shontell. Sometimes I lay in bed and wonder how he found me and what ever made him think that he should break up with my best friend and ask me out. Out of my hands people!!! Would you believe me if I claimed innocent bystander?